Penguins defenseman Kris Letang sure seemed to have funny timing. When he signed his deal to play in the KHL it turned out to be just two days before the NHL and the players reached an agreement to end the lockout.
As he tells Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, getting to go to Russia to just see how they did things was fun enough for him.
“The (KHL) deal was done a long time ago. It was just a question of timing,” Letang said. “Even if the lockout was closer to an end, they asked me to come anyways and to check out the facility and the way they were managing the team. It was a good experience.”
That question of timing turned out to be rather poorly answered when it was all said and done as Letang didn’t play a game for SKA St. Petersburg. The Penguins will need to have a fully healthy and focused Letang along the blue line for the shortened season. Hopefully his Russian “experience” didn’t hinder his training during the lockout.
As PHT’s mentioned before, the Florida Panthers stand as a fascinating contrast between youth and experience.
Let’s not kid ourselves, though; fresh faces usually beat out gray beards, at least when it comes to teams that are still trying to build toward contender status.
While it’s by no means official, two Panthers beat writers – the Miami Herald’s George Richards and the Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Harvey Fialkov – report that the Panthers are likely to pass on Martin Havlat.
It wasn’t just about the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau and Nick Bjugstad leading the charge. Other young Panthers (maybe most notably Quinton Howden and Connor Brickley) made the team, thus making Havlat less necessary.
One would assume that it might be tough for the 34-year-old to find work, at least if he insists upon only an NHL deal.
Health issues continue to dog him, but he’s no longer one of those guys who tantalizes with talent when he is healthy enough to play.
Havlat also doesn’t really bring much to the table defensively. While other veterans can kill penalties and show a little more verstaility, Havlat’s greatest selling point is scoring.
Could this be it for a solid career that may nonetheless end with a “What if?” or two?
Considering all of the controversy surrounding the 41-game suspension for Raffi Torres, some might have lost track of the guy who received that hit: Jakob Silfverberg.
The good news is that, at the moment, it seems like he’s OK.
The Anaheim Ducks announced that he skated on his own and will be involved in the team’s next practice:
That falls in line with some of the fall-out from the hit, as head coach Bruce Boudreau let out a relieved “thank goodness” at the young forward seemingly dodging a bullet.
Here’s video of the hit and the suspension decision:
Silfverberg, 24, enjoyed a nice breakout in 2014-15, especially during the playoffs.
Keep in mind that injuries can sometimes crop up later than expected, especially potential head injuries/concussions. Still, it seems like the initial reaction is that the damage was minimal.