It appears Minnesota Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom is off to Belarus.
The 34-year-old is reportedly set to sign a lockout agreement with KHL outfit HC Dynamo Minsk, according to Russian news outlet RIA Novosti.
The move will reunite Backstrom with Finnish goalie guru Ari Hilly, Dynamo’s goaltending coach (Hilly is largely credited with the development of Nashville’s Pekka Rinne.)
It’s possible Backstrom made the jump to Belarus with an eye on Minnesota’s other goalie, Josh Harding.
Expected to test free agent waters and find a team with a No. 1 gig available, Harding instead chose to re-sign with the Wild this summer on a three-year, $5.7 million dollar deal — presumably to challenge for the starting job.
So, easy to understand why Backstrom wants to stay sharp.
As for the club that signed him — Minsk made waves earlier this summer by securing the services of former Jets forward Tim Stapleton. The 30-year-old forward surprised some by jumping to the KHL after an impressive 2011-12 campaign with Winnipeg, one where he posted career highs in goals (11), assists (16) and points (27).
Update: Mike Russo of the Star-Tribune notes that Backstrom still hasn’t officially inked with Minsk because of insurance/visa issues. That said, Backstrom says signing with the team “is pretty far along.”
Here’s an understatement: things haven’t gone very well for Dougie Hamilton early in his first season with the Calgary Flames.
(It must feel like the opposite of Tyler Seguin in Dallas for Boston Bruins fans, but feel free to disagree in the comments.)
You could look at Hamilton’s meager offensive stats and break down his disappointing work through a very of “fancy” and traditional metrics …
… Or you could just fire up a projector and show this own-goal on a loop.
It remains to be seen if the Ottawa Senators can avoid losing against the Philadelphia Flyers tonight, but either way, it’s been a costly night.
The Senators saw two forwards leave the game with injuries, as Milan Michalek and Mika Zibanejad were banged up on Tuesday.
Michalek may have gotten hurt blocking a shot while a Radko Gudas hit on Zibanejad left the Senators forward with an upper-body injury.
Gudas may get a call from the league for his infractions.
In hockey terms, Patrick Kane was like a star basketball player left alone for an almost strange amount of time to score. Sometimes you miss that opportunity out of the sheer shock of getting that much time and space.
Devan Dubnyk wasn’t so lucky, however, as Kane beat him to score a 1-1 goal.
You can watch the whole sequence in the video above, including an absolutely fantastic play by Duncan Keith.
With that tally, Kane’s scoring streak is now at 20 games, leaving him one game behind Bobby Hull’s Chicago Blackhawks record.
PHT discusses Kane’s streak and his place among the all-time great runs in the clip below.
Sometimes, the Nashville Predators were unlucky in November. Sometimes they were just bad.
Either way, they’re likely glad to step into December, and they’ve already gotten a big bounce. Watch how close this near-goal was into crossing the red line before Pekka Rinne barely stopped it with a well-placed goalie stick.
You can also see it up close via this GIF:
Here’s the NHL Situation Room Blog explanation for it remaining a no-goal:
At 13:06 of the first period in the Coyotes/Predators game, the Situation Room initiated a video review to further examine a play from 11:57. Video review confirmed the call on the ice that the puck did not cross the Nashville goal line. No goal Coyotes.