Florida Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov hears the rumors about how he wants to go back to the KHL after going through the ups and downs that come with being a young blue liner in the NHL. He also knows those rumors are totally bogus.
“Wanting to go back to Russia? Those words have never come out of my mouth,” Kulikov said. “I think the people starting that are just trying to create more drama for the league or whatever… I want to help turn things around here. I want to win here. The year we made the playoffs was like the best thing ever. It’s a totally different feeling. I want to feel that again.”
Kulikov said he’d love to meet the people who are spreading rumors of his apparent desire to go home. Feel free to picture him going “Jay & Silent Bob” on Internet rumormongers and have a laugh to yourself.
All told, while the Panthers have struggled Kulikov hasn’t been as bad some believe. His advanced numbers are average and he’s still producing points from the blue line. If the Panthers were winning more games, perhaps the perception of his play would be a little better.
Dion Phaneuf‘s first home game as a member of the Ottawa Senators is going more smoothly than his debut did on Wednesday.
Ottawa fell 3-1 to the Detroit Red Wings last night, and they need another goal to tie up the Colorado Avalanche. Still, Phaneuf’s making a bigger impact on Thursday, collecting two assists … his first two points in a Sens’ sweater.
You can see his crowd-pleasing first helper above.
Here’s his second assist for good measure:
Update: The Avalanche held on, taking a 4-3 edge. Even so, Phaneuf’s getting a warm welcome in his new hockey city.
Phaneuf on the Ottawa crowd reaction: "It gave me chills."