Russia v Czech Republic - 2010 IIHF World Championship

Ovechkin scores, but Kovalchuk’s team wins


If his threats of staying overseas are just threats, then Alex Ovechkin’s KHL sojourn might help him regain his all-world scoring mojo.

The Washington Capitals star scored his first goal in his second game back overseas, but it’s another stat that should leave fans even more excited. Ovechkin hammered a staggering 11 shots on net in that contest, although his Dynamo Moscow team fell to Ilya Kovalchuk’s SKA St. Petersburg 3-1.

Kovalchuk notched an assist in his season debut, playing 18:33 of ice time compared to Ovechkin, who logged almost 24 minutes.

If those numbers don’t hammer home a return to form, Ovechkin also turned some heads by throwing around his body in his first game on Thursday:

Quick question: how do you feel about Ovechkin wearing No. 32? Seems strangely fitting for a guy who occasionally clobbers people like an NFL strong safety.

Bonus bit from the contest: former Buffalo Sabres speedster Maxim Afinogenov scored the game-winning goal.

Bettman to players: Don’t screw up ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ with drugs

Gary Bettman
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The NHL wants to take an educational approach — not a punitive one — to deter its players from using illicit drugs like cocaine.

“My interest is not to go around punishing people,” Bettman told Sportsnet today.

“My interest is getting players to understand the consequences of doing something that could jeopardize this great, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they’ve been given, to play in the NHL.”

While some players have expressed surprise at hearing that cocaine use is growing, the anecdotal evidence of substance abuse has been very much in the news, from Jarret Stoll‘s arrest to Mike Richards’ arrest to, more recently, Zack Kassian‘s placement in the NHL/NHLPA’s treatment program.

“We don’t have the unilateral right to do things here. We need the consent of the Players’ Association,” Bettman said. “It’s not about punishment. It’s about making sure we get it to stop.”

Related: Cocaine in the NHL: A concern, but not a crisis?

Goalie nods: Jones makes Sharks debut against ex-Kings mates

Martin Jones
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News and notes from around the crease…

Jones goes for San Jose

Martin Jones, acquired by the Sharks this summer, will make his first regular-season start for the club tonight against his old team — the Los Angeles Kings.

Jones, 25, spent the last two years in L.A. as Jonathan Quick‘s understudy. He was flipped to Boston at the NHL Entry Draft, then shipped to San Jose. Sharks GM Doug Wilson wasted little time locking Jones in — signing him to a three-year, $9 million extension — and Jones wasted little time locking up the No. 1 gig, putting together a stellar preseason.

For the Kings, Quick will get the start in goal.

Markstrom out for Vancouver

Jacob Markstrom wasn’t scheduled to start for the Canucks tonight — No. 1 Ryan Miller is getting the call — but the Swedish ‘tender won’t even dress when his club takes on the Flames in Calgary.

Markstrom suffered a lower-body injury at practice this week and is being held out of tonight’s action. In his place, the Canucks called up AHL netminder Richard Bachman, who’ll serve as Miller’s backup.

For the Flames, Karri Ramo is the opening-night starter.


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