SOCHI, Russia — Alex Ovechkin on one wing. Evgeni Malkin in the middle. Alex Semin on the other wing. That was one of the Russian lines today at practice, the team’s first here in Sochi with both KHLers and NHLers.
Not a bad trio, right?
Semin, of course, Ovechkin knows well from their time together with the Washington Capitals.
“I know him right away,” said Ovechkin. “As soon as I get the puck on the left side, I know where he’s going to be.”
As for playing with Malkin: “He likes to control the puck, control the game.”
Malkin probably won’t mind the opportunity to set up two of the top snipers in the game, either.
Meanwhile, Pavel Datsyuk (groin) didn’t practice today, and it’s still not known if he’ll be ready for Thursday’s opener versus Slovenia. Head coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov was hopeful, but offered nothing definitive.
If healthy, Datsyuk will likely center wingers Ilya Kovalchuk and Alexander Radulov, based on what we saw today.
Related: Are expectations too high for Russia?
In slightly less interesting Los Angeles Kings news than the latest in the Mike Richards fiasco, the team handed Peter Budaj a one-year, two-way deal on Friday.
The veteran goalie’s contract pays $575K on the NHL level and $100K in the AHL (though it’s $150K guaranteed), according to Hockey’s Cap.
At the moment, it sounds like Budaj will be third on the Kings’ goalie depth chart. That says as much about how things have been going lately for Los Angeles than Budaj’s work on a PTO.
As noted above, one of the more significant moves in Budaj’s favor came when the New York Islanders claimed Jean-Francois Berube off of waivers this week.
The Kings actually waived Budaj before signing him, so this has to be a relief to a goalie with a fairly robust resume as a backup.
All apologies to Budaj, but it’s probably true that the Kings would prefer not to see him at the NHL level very often in 2015-16.
The Los Angeles Kings announced today that they have “reached an agreement with Mike Richards to resolve the grievance filed in relation to the termination of his NHL Standard Players Contract. The terms are agreeable to all parties.”
The club said that it will not be commenting further “on the terms” of the settlement.
The NHLPA released a similar statement.
It was reported earlier in the week that a settlement was close to being reached; however, it wasn’t clear what salary-cap penalties the Kings would incur.
We’re starting to find out some details now:
How the final numbers differ from what the Kings would have incurred if they’d bought Richards out will be interesting to see. And if there are differences, how will they be justified?