While Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Gonchar had KHL deals locked up almost immediately after the lockout went into effect, more NHL players are landing temporary jobs in the Russian pro league.
Chuck Pleiness reports Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk has landed a spot with Ak-Bars Kazan. Datsyuk last played for them back in 2000-01, his final season in Russia before coming to the NHL. He played for Dynamo Moscow during the 2004-05 lockout.
Meanwhile, Yahoo!’s Dmitry Chesnokov reports Ilya Kovalchuk will sign with SKA on September 19. Coincidentally enough, Kovalchuk played for Ak-Bars Kazan during the 04-05 work stoppage.
Ruslan Fedotenko’s agent, Allan Walsh, announced his client would be playing for Donbass Donetsk in the KHL. Donetsk is located in Ukraine, his home country, so it makes plenty of sense he’d play for the home team there. Chesnokov adds that Jets forward Alexei Ponikarovsky will also sign with Donbass.
Meanwhile, Leafs forward Nikolai Kulemin will be teaming up with Malkin and Gonchar in Magnitogorsk according to Chesnokov. Expect more of these signings to happen in the coming days as the KHL season is already underway.
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.