Lokomotiv air tragedy

One year later, remembering the tragic Lokomotiv plane crash


A year ago today, the hockey world experienced one of its darkest days when a plane carrying the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team crashed after failing to gain altitude on takeoff from the Yaroslavl airport in Russia. Forty-three passengers were killed that day, and one player, Alexander Galimov, died later in hospital. There was only one survivor, the flight engineer.

Among those killed were former NHL players Pavol Demitra, Ruslan Salei, Josef Vasicek, Karlis Skrastins, Karel Rachunek, Alexander Karpotsev, Igor Korolev, and the head coach of the team, Brad McCrimmon.

Following are three articles marking the one-year anniversary of the tragedy:

Pain has not faded for McCrimmon family (Craig Custance, ESPN)

Demitra remembered as a fun-loving jokester (Randy Sportak, QMI Agency)

How KHL’s Lokomotiv was reborn, one year after plane crash tragedy (Dmitry Chesnokov, Yahoo! Sports)

Sort of puts the NHL ‘s labor dispute into perspective, doesn’t it?

There are far more important things.

Ducks name Kesler alternate captain

Ryan Kesler
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For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”

On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.

With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.

“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”

As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.

It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.

Diaz could leave Rangers for Europe

Raphael Diaz, Mike Sislo
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Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?

We’ll know in a month.

Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:

The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.

The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.

If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.

Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”

And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.

While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.