Two more locked-out NHLers made the jump overseas on Friday as the KHL announced the signings of Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky (SKA St. Petersburg) and Flames defenseman Anton Babchuk (Donbass).
Bobrovsky started his career in Russia, with Metallurg Novokuznetsk, before joining the Flyers organization in 2010. He’s SKA’s second NHL signing of the lockout — New Jersey’s Ilya Kovalchuk was the first — and the St. Petersburg club is expected to fill its third and final spot with St. Louis prospect Vladimir Tarasenko.
Where Bobrovsky fits remains to be seen. He told reporters he had no idea how much playing time he’d get on a SKA team with three goalies already in the mix. The 23-year-old has 90 NHL games to his credit and will be vying for the Blue Jackets’ No. 1 gig when (or, if) the season gets underway.
As for Babchuk, he’ll be joining the KHL’s lone Ukrainian team.
Donbass had already filled two of its transfer spots by agreeing to terms with Flyers forward Ruslan Fedotenko and Jets winger Alexei Ponikarovsky, adding to a lineup that featured a number of ex-NHLers (Oskars Bartulis, Evgeni Dadonov, Erik Ersberg, Lukas Kaspar, Vaclav Nederost and Karel Pilar.)
Remember when many were keeping an eye on Erik Karlsson after he was seemingly cramping up after logging more than 40 minutes in an OT contest against the Boston Bruins.
It’s possible he was also dealing with that sort of ailment, but he earned some “hockey tough” kudos on Sunday after word surfaced that the Ottawa Senators defenseman was dealing with hairline fractures in his left heel through the series.
Sportsnet’s Jason York refers to the issue as “two small fractures” while ESPN’s Joe McDonald went into specifics, noting that Karlsson explains that the injury happened on March 28 (and was why he missed some games late in the season).
There’s some optimism as the Senators ready for the New York Rangers, at least according to Karlsson.
Either way, that’s impressive stuff from the Senators defenseman, and the sort of information that usually only surfaces after a team has been eliminated. We’ll see if he’s hindered by such issues as the playoffs go along.
The NHL officially announced the nominees for the 2017 Lady Byng on Sunday, and they’re a star-studded bunch: Johnny Gaudreau, Mikael Granlund and Vladimir Tarasenko.
The PHWA determines “the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”
(Did Tarasenko help eliminate Granlund’s team in a gentlemanly fashion?)
For more on the three finalists, click here.
It’s a feel-good story, especially if you can look beyond questions of officiating.
Clarke MacArthur could have very well never played another NHL game considering his lengthy battles with concussion symptoms. Instead, he drew a penalty on the Boston Bruins in overtime of Game 6 and then managed to score the series-clinching goal.
Now, this isn’t to say that MacArthur didn’t rightfully draw a penalty; it most clearly was. And, in the bigger picture, it’s one of those stories that almost makes you wonder if real-life sports actually do follow Hollywood scripts.
People just wonder about some other decisions during that overtime, in particular, making it frustrating for some Bruins fans to see the season end in such a way.
Whether they like it or not, that is the case, though.
The Senators took Game 6 by a score of 3-2 (OT), winning their series 4-2. They can breathe a sigh of relief in avoiding a Game 7, an especially valuable bonus since Erik Karlsson had been pushed hard lately, logging more than 40 minutes in a recent game.
Ottawa avoids a do-or-die contest. Instead, they’ll face the New York Rangers in the next round while the Bruins enter the summer following an up-and-down campaign.
Every game in this Senators – Bruins series has been decided by one goal, so why not send Game 6 to overtime?
Oh, and speaking of overtime, this contest going beyond regulation makes it 17 OT games, tying an NHL record for the most in a single round.
Ottawa appeared to take a “lazy change” with a 2-1 lead, and Patrice Bergeron made the Senators pay, putting in a rebound to collect the goal that eventually sent this contest to overtime.