Author: James O'Brien

Finally: Ovechkin owns Russian goal-scoring record


After a rare four-game point drought where he sat agonizingly at 483 goals, Alex Ovechkin finally scored his 484th on Thursday.

With that, the Washington Capitals star broke his tie with former teammate Sergei Fedorov, sitting alone as the record-holder for most goals scored by a Russian-born NHL player.

T.J. Oshie passed to Nicklas Backstrom, who made an absolutely beautiful setup to Ovechkin for that milestone goal.

The assist had to come from Backstrom, right?

Note: A clip with more angles may be added to this post later on.

This ranks as the 911th point of Ovechkin’s career, leaving him pretty close to Fedorov’s points record (Sergei managed 1,179 in his outstanding career).

Ignoring national origin talk for a moment, Ovechkin has 484 goals at 30. Where do you expect him to finish on the sad day he hangs up his skates?

Update: Ovechkin got the record, but the Stars grabbed the win, as Jason Spezza‘s 3-2 goal ended up being the difference.

These five teams are reportedly most interested in Hamonic

Denis Potvin, Travis Hamonic

Everyone, Travis Hamonic is clearly the Belle of the Ball, at least if you’re dancing around trade rumors.

Thursday’s edition of TSN’s Insider Trading might as well have been called “The Travis Hamonic Episode.”

The juiciest stuff probably comes from Darren Dreger, who lists these five teams as the biggest bidders so well:

  • Winnipeg Jets: Mentioned first because, as Hamonic’s most immediate NHL market, it’s believed to be his preference.
  • Calgary Flames
  • Edmonton Oilers
  • Colorado Avalanche
  • Minnesota Wild

Dreger does note that it’s “relatively early” in the process and mentions that Jacob Trouba or Tyler Myers may be the sort of guys the Islanders are asking for in a trade with Winnipeg (which may be too expensive for the Jets’ liking).

Pierre LeBrun points out that Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli has “coveted” Hamonic even before the affordable defenseman was on the market.

That said, if a move would require Darnell Nurse being part of the package, it probably wouldn’t work out.

Dreger notes that Hamonic’s agent has been given permission to speak with interested general managers, so perhaps that group of five top suitors may swell.

There’s clearly plenty of interest in the blueliner, at least off the record.

Looks like no Callahan for Lightning tonight

Ryan Callahan
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The New York Rangers won’t face off against former captain Ryan Callahan tonight.

The Tampa Bay Lightning are going with 11 forwards and seven defensemen in this one, as Callahan appears to be a scratch. Nickname-friendly Joel Vermin will be in Callahan’s place, according to Bryan Burns of the Bolts’ web site.

It seems like this is an injury-related absence, rather than a performance-based one.

Naturally, if there’s anything that indicates otherwise (or there’s a significant update about his health), PHT will make note.

Report: A bye week? In the … NHL?


Let’s face it; most players would probably admit that an 82-game season can be a slog.

Teams can intermittent breaks, yet that’s often at the cost of tough stretches. That may still be the case, but ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun has quite the report about the NHL accepting the NHLPA’s request for a five-day “bye week” beginning in 2016-17.

It looks like the tweak would fit right around the “dog days” of the regular season.

LeBrun reports that the players were able to gain this tweak as part of the changes to the All-Star Game format.

A little more from LeBrun:

Players won’t have to report for practice until after 4 p.m. on the fifth day if they have a game on the sixth day, a source said was part of the agreement. If they don’t have a game on the sixth day, they would have all of the fifth day off.

LeBrun also discusses the bye week format in this Travis Hamonic-heavy edition of TSN’s Insider Trading, which you can watch here. (His bit begins around the 2:38 mark.)

How do you feel about this idea? Dare we wonder if a bye week could ever be used around playoff time as well if this idea really takes off?

Update: Red Wings put Franzen (concussion symptoms) on LTIR

Johan Franzen

DETROIT (AP) The Detroit Red Wings have put forward Johan Franzen on long-term injury reserve because of concussion-like symptoms.

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland says Franzen is out indefinitely.

Franzen played on back-to-back days in October, returning to the ice for the first time in nine months. He missed 49 games last year because of a concussion and also missed much of the previous season with concussion-like symptoms.

When healthy enough to play, Franzen was a key scorer for the Red Wings. He has 187 goals and 370 points in 602 games since making his NHL debut during the 2005-06 season.

Also Thursday, Detroit sent center Andreas Athanasiou to play for the Grand Rapids Griffins in the American Hockey League.