Jason Brough

Fans wait to get into Rexall Place as players from the Edmonton Oilers 1984 team reunite to mark the 30th anniversary of the team's first Stanley Cup in Edmonton, Alberta, Friday, Oct. 10, 2014. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jason Franson)
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The ‘message has been received loud and clear’ — Oilers promise better effort in final game at Rexall Place

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The Edmonton Oilers are hoping to end the old barn’s NHL era on a high note.

Tonight, they’ll host the Vancouver Canucks in the final game at Rexall Place, before moving downtown to a new arena next season.

On Saturday, the final Battle of Alberta at Rexall didn’t go so well for the home team. The Oilers got thumped, 5-0, by the Flames — a loss that Edmonton’s increasingly beleaguered-sounding head coach, Todd McLellan, called “freaking embarrassing.”

The players have vowed that won’t happen again.

“The message has been received loud and clear how that last game went,” said rookie phenom Connor McDavid, per the Edmonton Journal. “As a whole group we want to play our best here for the final game. There are a lot of people going to be in the building, special alumni, great fans, we want to put our best foot forward and play a solid game.”

So many memorable hockey moments have occurred inside the arena that used to be called Northlands Coliseum. The 1980s Oilers hoisted the Cup four times there. Wayne Gretzky broke all sorts of scoring records there.

Of course, it’s been a long time since Gretzky, Kurri, Messier, Fuhr, Coffey, and Anderson ruled the league. There hasn’t even been a playoff game at Rexall Place since 2006, a decade ago.

And there never will be again.

“You look up and you see the banners and the names in the rafters, it’s a special place,” McDavid said. “It’s really hard to picture what it would have been like winning a Stanley Cup here with how everything has gone this year, but I can only imagine what it must have been like.”

Memorable moments

Dec. 30, 1981: Gretzky scores five goals against the Flyers to reach 50 goals in 39 games.

May 19, 1984: The Oilers win their first Stanley Cup, defeating the Islanders in Game 5 of the final.

April 30, 1986: Steve Smith scores the most famous own goal in hockey history, allowing the Flames to upset the Oilers in seven games.

May 31, 1987: Glenn Anderson’s goal clinches the Oilers’ third Stanley Cup, as they defeat the Flyers in a thrilling seven-game series.

Oct. 15, 1989: Gretzky becomes the NHL’s all-time leading scorer, as a member of the Los Angeles Kings.

June 10, 2006: Oilers fans belt out the Canadian national anthem prior to Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final versus Carolina.

Related: Changes are coming in Edmonton — ‘We haven’t been good enough’

Reports: Russian U-18 team replaced due to positive meldonium tests

Tablets and vials of meldonium, also known as mildronate, are photographed in Moscow, Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova says she failed a drug test for meldonium at the Australian Open. The drug was only banned in January and there has been a string of failed tests by athletes in several sports since. (AP Photo/James Ellingworth)
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Details are still emerging, but it’s been reported that the entire Russian team that was headed for the under-18 World Championship in Grand Forks has been replaced due to positive tests for the banned substance meldonium.

The head coach of the team has also reportedly been fired.

Russian sports writer Slava Malamud shares more via Twitter:

Meldonium is the same drug that Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova tested positive for.

The World Anti-Doping Agency only recently added the drug to its list of banned substances.

From the New York Times:

Meldonium is most commonly used in Eastern European and ex-Soviet countries as a drug for people with heart conditions, but it’s also offered for sale online. There are also signs that a sizable minority of athletes were using before it was banned.

The World Anti-Doping Agency monitored the effects and use of meldonium before announcing in September that it would be declared a banned substance from Jan. 1, 2016.

WADA declared the decision on its website more than three months before the ban, and it was also announced by the Russian anti-doping agency.

Russia is scheduled to open the tournament next Thursday against the United States at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

Price to miss rest of season; Canadiens share ‘detailed description of his injury’

Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price makes a glove save during the NHL hockey team's practice session Monday, May 5, 2014, in Brossard, Quebec. The Canadiens play the Boston Bruins in Game 3 of the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs Tuesday in Montreal. Price sent a message on Twitter early Monday saying: "If anyone finds two labs running around Candiac they're mine." Candiac is a suburb south of Montreal. Local TSN radio reported that a caller who heard their report on the incident found the dogs and returned them to Price, and that the caller got an autographed stick in return. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz)
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With just three games left on the Montreal Canadiens’ schedule, the club announced this morning that injured goalie Carey Price would not play again this season.

Price hasn’t played since Nov. 25. He’d been holding out hope for a return, even after the Canadiens had been eliminated from playoff contention.

Throughout it all, the team remained tight-lipped about the specifics of his injury, but that silence ended today with a statement from the Canadiens’ head physician, Dr. Vincent Lacroix.

“Now that Carey Price’s season has officially ended, here is a detailed description of his injury: Carey sustained a medial collateral ligament injury (MCL sprain) to his right knee on November 25th, 2015 in a game against the NY Rangers. The MCL provides support to the inside of the knee and is essential for stability and knee function. Acute, isolated MCL injuries are managed without surgery. Rehabilitation treatments lead to full functional recovery. The recovery process can be long in the case of an elite netminder such as Carey, due to the high demand placed on this anatomical structure by modern goaltending techniques. Although Carey has made excellent progress and is very close to being able to return to competition, he has not presently been cleared to do so. He is expected to make a full recovery over the off-season. This injury was not the same as the one he suffered earlier this season (October 29th at Edmonton), nor in previous years,” said Dr. Lacroix.

Team Canada still expects Price to participate in the World Cup in September.

The Canadiens also announced that P.K. Subban (neck), Mark Barberio (concussion), Victor Bartley (groin/broken foot) and Lucas Lessio (right knee) would miss the remainder of the season.

Subban has not played since March 10, when he was stretchered off the ice after suffering what the club called a “non-serious neck injury.” He’s since returned to practice.

Duchene agrees that his goal celebration ‘wasn’t the right thing’

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Matt Duchene agrees with his coach. His goal celebration the other night was a bit over the top.

“We talked, we had a good chat [Monday],” Duchene said today, per NHL.com. “It’s one of those things that I totally understand where he’s coming from and what he’s trying to do. I’m on board with it, and I think we all are. It’s one of those things that right away, I knew that was not the right thing. It wasn’t the right reaction. I kind of buried my head after that, even going back to the bench because I understood it just wasn’t the right thing. We had a good talk, and it’s all good.”

Duchene drew the ire of Patrick Roy on Sunday when he enthusiastically celebrated his 30th goal of the season, despite the fact the Avalanche were well on their way to losing to St. Louis, a loss that all but guaranteed that Colorado would miss the playoffs again.

“The thing I have a bit of a hard time is the reaction of Dutchy after he scored,” said Roy. “It’s a 4-0 goal. Big cheer…are you kidding me? What is that?”

Roy then went on to question the leadership of his core players. Naturally, that led to speculation that Duchene could be traded, or, conversely, that Roy could be fired.

Today, however, Roy was full of praise for Duchene.

“I think Matt Duchene is a great person, and I think when you’re willing to learn, like I was when I was young, I think that goes a long way,” he said, per the Denver Post. “That does not mean becoming a leader comes overnight. Experience makes you a better leader. I made many mistakes. I got slapped in the fingers by vets in my first years.”

The Avs’ postseason hopes could officially be dashed tonight. The Wild will clinch the final playoff berth in the Western Conference if they defeat the Sharks in any fashion; or, if the Wild get one point against the Sharks and the Avs lose to the Predators in any fashion; or, if the Avs lose to the Preds in regulation.

Where could Radulov land next season?

Russia’s Alexander Radulov celebrates the team's fourth goal during the first period action of the Channel One Cup ice hockey match between Finland and Russia, in Moscow, Russia, on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
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Alexander Radulov puts up points.

That right there is why there’s interest in him, despite what happened during his last NHL stint with Nashville, not to mention a few other things that have called his character into question.

Radulov, in case you hadn’t heard, is reportedly exploring a return to North America next season. The 29-year-old had 65 points in 53 games for CSKA Moscow this past regular season — by far the most points on his team — and he’s been almost a point-a-game player while helping CSKA romp to the Gagarin Cup finals.

He’s proven he’s not just a KHL scorer, too. He has 102 points in 154 career NHL games, including 47 goals.

If he does return to the NHL for the 2016-17 campaign, it could be with Colorado. Avs head coach Patrick Roy coached him in junior, and there have been reports that Roy would like to coach him again.

But according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, “there are more teams” than just Colorado in the mix. The Toronto Maple Leafs have come up in speculation, because of course they have. The Rangers and Islanders, too. 

Signing Radulov would be a gamble for sure, but we’ve seen teams gamble on talent before. Radulov will turn 30 in July, meaning he’s running out of time to make a go of it in the NHL.

The question is, how motivated is he to do that?

If it’s enough to sign a relatively low-risk deal, don’t be surprised to see him back next season.