After netting just two goals in regulation over their last two contests, it looks like the Russians will be trying out some new combinations when they play Norway on Tuesday.
Alexander Semin was knocked off the top line during Monday’s practice, allowing Alexander Popov to skate alongside Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin instead, according to Puck Daddy and TSN’s DmitryChesnokov.
Popov, 33, has spent his entire career playing in Russia. He had 14 goals and 32 points in 46 games with the KHL’s Omsk Avangard in 2013-14.
The line of Semin, Ovechkin, and Malkin certainly looked dangerous on paper, but they didn’t live up to expectations for very long. The trio hasn’t scored since combining for two goals in the first four minutes of Russia’s tournament opener against Slovenia.
Semin was knocked off of the top-six entirely as he skated with Artem Anisimov and Nikolai Kulemin.
Naturally these lines have to be taken with a grain of salt, not just because they were used during an off-day practice, but also because Ilya Kovalchuk is dealing with an ailment. Russia head coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov said Kovalchuk will play on Tuesday, but the 30-year-old missed Monday’s skate and Viktor Tikhonov consequently kept his spot warm. If Kovalchuk can’t play tomorrow, then Bilyaletdinov might significantly restructure his lines rather than let Tikhonov make his Olympic debut on the second unit.
Sarver said building a new arena would have “maybe made more sense” four or five years ago when the cost estimate was $450 million to $500 million. The costs now, Sarver said, are “significantly higher.” Thus his focus on upgrading Talking Stick, which soon will be the second-oldest arena in the NBA.
“I think it’s the most economically viable alternative for the city and us,” he said. “I like downtown Phoenix. That’s my first preference. I think the NBA is more of an urban game. That’s our demographic.”
Talking Stick Resort Arena, formerly called America West Arena when the Coyotes played there, was designed for basketball and isn’t ideal for hockey. In that way, it’s a lot like Barclays Center in Brooklyn, which hasn’t been a great fit for the Islanders.
“Get ready, the Stanley cup is coming to town!” Crosby confirmed in the tweet sent late Tuesday night. “I will be taking Lord Stanley to the streets Monday August 7th in the Halifax-Dartmouth Natal Day parade.”
The parade, part of annual events that celebrate Halifax’s birthday, also happens to fall on the Pittsburgh Penguins captain’s 30th birthday.
Natal Day chairman Greg Hayward said he expects another 25,000 people will be lining the parade route on top of the roughly 40,000 usual attendees.
“It’s extremely exciting to think that we’re going to have Sid and the Cup in our Natal Day parade,” Hayward said Wednesday.
Crosby has shown off the Stanley Cup twice before in his hometown of Cole Harbour, just outside Dartmouth, in 2009 and 2016.
Last July, Crosby carried the Cup in the back of a pickup that made its way to an arena in Cole Harbour as thousands of cheering fans looked on in sweltering heat.
Arbitration hearing looming for Arvidsson, who broke out in big way last year