James O'Brien

javelinshotbardown
via Ak Bars Kazan/BarDown screen

Javelin-throw shootout goal will drop your jaw

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In a need of a hockey highlight to start off the puck-starved month of August? You’re in luck.

Deadspin and TSN’s BarDown unearthed quite the clip from an event held by KHL team Ak Bars Kazan.

As you can see, Vladimir Tkachyov is clearly pumped up for the Rio Summer Olympics, as he sent his javelin throw entry in via this shootout “goal.”

The guttural reaction afterward seems well-earned:

Want some more? These other highlight goals should keep you entertained:

Joey Dudek’s shootout goal

Hockey player scores after back flip

Bernier is excited about Ducks’ Stanley Cup chances

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 22:  Goaltender Jonathan Bernier #45 of the Toronto Maple Leafs during the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on December 22, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Maple Leafs 3-2.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Sure, having to uproot his life makes for a challenge, but life seems pretty good for Jonathan Bernier.

After years of intense pressure and facing waves of dangerous scoring chances as the Toronto Maple Leafs’ goalie, he’s slated to be the Anaheim Ducks’ backup.

That makes for some uncertainty, yet it also stands as an interesting clean slate … especially when you consider the fact that the Ducks are one of the league’s most flexible teams when it comes to changing goaltending plans.

In a not-so-bold take, Bernier also noted to ESPN that the Ducks have a much better shot at winning a Stanley Cup than the rebuilding Buds.

“They are big and physical and a skilled team. You need a team like that to go deep in the playoffs,” Bernier said. “That’s your goal as a hockey player: to be in the playoffs and win the Stanley Cup every year. I just feel I’m a lot closer with Anaheim than I was with Toronto.”

Look, this is not to say that things are perfect.

He’ll likely need to battle for his starts, not unlike his days jockeying for position with Jonathan Quick in Los Angeles.

You never know when a rut or injury could provide a big opportunity, and Bernier has the pedigree to indicate that he’s at least plausibly capable of running with such a chance.

Yes, life is good for Bernier:

P.K. Subban: Still making a difference in the Montreal community

pkjfl
via Just for Laughs

The Montreal Canadiens traded P.K. Subban to Nashville in a stunning move this summer, but the star defenseman hasn’t turned his back on the community.

More specifically, Subban continues to do great things for children in the area, as he’s hosting “P.K. Subban’s All-Star Comedy Gala” as a part of Just for Laughs. All of the proceeds will go to the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation.

Part of the event involves generating donations via sales of a special Subban jersey.

Subban signed 500 of the special edition sweaters to benefit that cause.

He’s obviously already done great things with his eyebrow-raising $10 million donation, and it’s fantastic to see that he’s still making a difference.

The burning question: will he hand out any triple-low-fives tonight?

Subban spoke with TSN before the event.

Bartkowski ranks among free agents twisting in the wind

VANCOUVER, BC - OCTOBER 10: Matt Bartkowski #44 of the Vancouver Canucks skates during the pre-game warm up prior to NHL action against the Calgary Flames on October 10, 2015 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
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It says a lot about the bone-dry free agent market that Jason Brough’s five bargains from July 4 could be reused on August 1.

Things must be rough for Radim Vrbata and the four other poor souls, but what about guys who fly significantly lower on the radar?

Give Matt Bartkowski‘s agent Stephen Reich credit; he remained optimistic about his client’s chances in this story from the Vancouver Province’s Jeff Paterson.

“Some teams are definitely interested, but it’ll likely happen closer to the end of summer,” Reich said.

“I’m confident we’ll find a home for him and a place to play. In the meantime, I think the wedding and the honeymoon have both been nice distractions.”

That last sentence is a reminder that, for all the analysis about Bartkowski – and Paterson expertly lays out the pros and cons of his game – there’s a human being dealing with real worries here.

As rough as this postseason must be for the Vrbatas of the world,* Bartkowski faces more of a career-survival-level question.

At 28, he’s still at or around his hockey prime. Still, players best suited for bottom pairing or even seventh defenseman spots have to wonder if they’ll need to ply their trade part-time in the AHL or overseas.

Reich told the Vancouver Province that he believes Bartkowski can land a one-way deal, but who knows?

We’ve seen quality players take a gamble in signing PTOs in years past, and this summer’s market is one of the worst in some time.

Jamie Benn never considered leaving the Dallas Stars

DALLAS, TX - APRIL 29:  Jamie Benn #14 of the Dallas Stars stretches during pregame warm up before the Stars take on the St. Louis Blues in Game One of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at American Airlines Center on April 29, 2016 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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When a team signs a player to an extension at the earliest possible moment, it’s quite the gesture. You can look at it as an unofficial way of a team considering that guy a member of their “core.”

It can also say a lot about how a player feels about a team, even if their options are often more limited by the CBA and other concerns.

For Jamie Benn, going long-term with the Dallas Stars was a no-brainer, as he explained to the Dallas Morning News on Sunday.

“I didn’t have even one thought of leaving this place,” Benn said. “I fell in love with Dallas, Texas ever since I got down here [in 2009]. I have all the belief in [Stars general manager] Jim Nill and the coaching staff around here that we’re going to do something special.”

Sure, there are issues.

The defense still leaves a lot to be desired and the team is spending $10.4 million per year for what’s been a mediocre goaltending duo.

Still, the positives are as obvious as the heat during a Texas summer.

Deep in the heart of their prime years

Tyler Seguin is signed dirt-cheap for three more seasons and is, somehow, just 24. John Klingberg is one year younger and locked down for a bargain rate for five seasons.

The Stars also see veterans whose deals are mostly on the short end, meaning Nill enjoys some flexibility in building around this Benn-fueled core.

Oh yeah, it probably doesn’t hurt that he’ll see more of that $76 million thanks to the whole “no state income tax” thing.

Don’t forget the great food and mild winters.

It sort of sounds like the amenities you’d highlight during a tour, right?

Anyway, Benn is reasonable in believing that the best years are coming up. Honestly, it’s difficult to imagine this team failing to at least contend barring some catastrophic mismanagement or bad luck.

The more likely scenario involves the Stars pushing for deep playoff runs, and Benn being integral to those successes.

The Dallas Morning News has even more from Benn here.