Change of plans: Nash, Thornton will play in Switzerland after all

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Rick Nash and Joe Thornton — who said they had no plans to play in Switzerland in the event of a lockout — are now going to play in Switzerland during the lockout.

It appears both are primed to re-join HC Davos, the team they suited up for during the 2004-05 work stoppage.

Thornton confirmed the move to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun:

“Yes, just because my wife is from there, she has a home there, we go there five weeks in the summer to see her family and I actually train with Davos when I’m over there,” Thornton told ESPN.com over the phone Monday. “I know the team real well, and they know me. It’s a natural fit for me to go back there and play.”

Thornton said he’s planning on flying to Switzerland by the end of the week and could play as early as this weekend.

“Hopefully the lockout ends sooner rather than later, but I have to go play,” said the San Jose Sharks captain.

Multiple sources (see here and here) reported Nash is also on his way to Switzerland.

Thornton and Nash were the leading scorers for Davos in 2004-05, a team that featured fellow NHLer Niklas Hagman and the Von Arx brothers, Reto and Jan (who have since formed a dynamic tag team in the Swiss Wrestling Federation.)

In August, Davos president Gaudenz Domenigs said that both Thornton and Nash would likely play for his team should there be an NHL work stoppage.

That claim was refuted by Nash’s agent, Joe Resnick, and Thornton’s agent (his brother, John) who said there was no truth to the rumor.

Image via suedostschweiz.ch.

Video: Ovechkin rocks custom skates for Russian Heritage Night

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As promised, Capitals star Alex Ovechkin rocked a pair of custom skates in honor of Russian Heritage Night on Thursday.

On his right skate, he paid tribute to the United States with a custom design, and paid tribute to his home nation on his left skate while taking the pre-game warm-up prior to facing the Columbus Blue Jackets.

He’ll be auctioning off the skates, as well.

From CSN Mid-Atlantic:

The skates were painted by noted custom shoe artists Nick Avery and Polo Kerber, whom Ovechkin personally selected. The skates feature the U.S. and Russia flags as well as the Capitol Building and Moscow’s St. Basil’s Cathedral.

Video: Crosby slash leaves Methot’s finger bloodied and injured (Updated)

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Sidney Crosby has made news lately for his goal scoring and his use of the stick.

He speared Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly below the belt the other night, and on Thursday he delivered a slash to Senators defenseman Marc Methot, who has since not returned to the game.

The slash rendered a finger on Methot’s left hand bloodied and injured. It certainly didn’t look good as Method (calmly) skated to the bench.

There was no call on the play.

Updated: Methot won’t return to this game.

Show me the money! Nylander sets Leafs rookie record with latest assist

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Toronto’s talented rookies were back at it again Thursday, as William Nylander and Auston Matthews combined to set up the Maple Leafs’ first goal versus the New Jersey Devils.

Nylander added the second assist on the power play goal, giving him 35 helpers on the season.

That’s significant for a couple of reasons: He extends his point streak to 10 games, which sets a new Leafs rookie record. And the assist reportedly secured him another entry-level bonus:

Not bad.

Gibson (lower-body injury) will play again this regular season, says Carlyle

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The Anaheim Ducks have been without goalie John Gibson for almost two full weeks because of injury, but head coach Randy Carlyle provided reason for optimism on Thursday.

Per reports, Gibson took part in practice and Carlyle has said that his No. 1 netminder will play again during the regular season. Anaheim has nine games remaining on its schedule.

That’s good news for Anaheim heading into the post-season.

While Gibson has been out, Jonathan Bernier has stepped beyond his back-up role and provided solid goaltending for the Ducks during the stretch drive — which should also be a bonus for this club with the playoffs quickly approaching.

Bernier has wins in six of his last seven starts. In nine games this month, he has only twice allowed three goals or more.

The Ducks have fought their way back into contention for the Pacific Division with a recent surge that has coincided with San Jose’s current skid — only four wins in their last 10 games and four straight losses.

Related: Career back on track, Bernier hopes he can re-sign in Anaheim