DALLAS, TX - NOVEMBER 1: Semyon Varlamov #1 of the Colorado Avalanche looks on during a timeout against the Dallas Stars on November 1, 2013 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

Avs sign Varlamov to five-year, $29.5 million extension


The 2013-14 campaign is one Semyon Varlamov won’t soon forget.

On Thursday, Varlamov re-upped with Colorado on a five-year, $29.5 million extension — one that carries a $5.9 million annual cap hit, putting him among the NHL’s 10 highest-paid netminders starting next season.

“Undoubtedly, Semyon has been an impact player for us this season,” said Avalanche vice president Joe Sakic said in a statement. “At only 25 years old, he is entering the prime years of his career and he wants to be part of this franchise moving forward.

“We are very excited to have come to terms with him and the fact that he has agreed to a five-year extension demonstrates his commitment to the Avalanche and what we’re trying to accomplish.”

The extension will signify a big raise for Varlamov, who is currently in the final of a three-year, $8.5 million deal with a $2.83M cap hit.

Varlamov has posted a 26-9-5 record with a 2.43 goals-against average, .925 save percentage and one shutout in 42 games (39 starts) this season. He was selected to represent Russia at the Winter Olympics in Sochi and, should he maintain this level of play, will likely be in Vezina consideration at year’s end.

Of course, Varlamov came under heavy scrutiny this season after he was charged with third-degree assault following allegations of assaulting his girlfriend at their home on Oct. 30. Those charges were later dropped —  “it became clear we didn’t have a belief we could prove it beyond a reasonable doubt,” Denver district attorney spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough said, per the Denver Post — but Varlamov’s accuser stood by her story, saying she was “saddened” by the D.A’s decision.

UPDATE: Interesting note here about Colorado’s cap situation for next season, from ESPN’s Craig Custance…

The Avs also have a decision to make with pending UFA center Paul Stastny.


Blues’ Shattenkirk suffers lower-body injury

Kevin Shattenkirk
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This hasn’t been the best night for St. Louis sports fans.

Obviously, the MLB’s Cardinals getting bounced from the playoffs is a bigger deal, but the Blues face bad news, too.

While they’re currently leading the Calgary Flames by a score of 4-3, they’ll need to hang on without Kevin Shattenkirk, whose night is over thanks to a lower-body injury.

There’s no word yet on how severe the issue might be.

Naturally, the Blues must hope that it’s minor, as Shattenkirk is one of the NHL’s truly underrated assets on the blueline.

Stephanie (@MyRegularFace) tracked down a moment when the injury may have happened:

It’s not all rosy for the Flames, either, as Lance Bouma suffered an injury as well.

Measure of revenge? Red Wings bottle Lightning


In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.

For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.

Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.

Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.

They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.

Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.