More and more players are opting to play overseas, but the other trend is locked-out skaters putting together charity games.
The latest one appears to feature many players — especially from the Winnipeg Jets — and the Winnipeg Police Service Patrolmen Hockey Club on Nov. 17, according to Ed Tait of the Winnipeg Free-Press.
Andrew Ladd and Mark Stuart will captain teams expected to include names such as Dustin Byfuglien, Jonathan Toews, Olli Jokinen and Travis Zajac.
Ladd reflected on how Friday’s “Champs for Charity” event pushed him more than any practice could, even if he described it as a “Harlem Globetrotters-type game.”
“The legs were definitely feeling a little tired. Even practicing during the summer there’s always a different intensity level once you get to camp and then into games,” Ladd said. “That’s always the case. It doesn’t matter how hard you are skating, it always seems to be another level beyond that so you’ve got to try to be ready for it when it comes.”
The event (called “The Goals for Dreams Hockey Challenge”) will take place at the Max Bell Centre in Winnipeg, benefiting the Dream Factory and The Children’s Hospital Foundation.
For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”
On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.
With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.
“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”
As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.
It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.
Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?
We’ll know in a month.
Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:
The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.
The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.
If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.
Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”
And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.
While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.