Jason Brough

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Report: Moscow Dynamo players on strike over unpaid wages

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Alex Ovechkin‘s old hockey club in Russia is kind of a mess right now.

The KHL’s Dynamo Moscow, despite getting new owners that will allow the team to play next season, is now facing the prospect of a players’ strike over unpaid wages.

According to Russian sports writer Slava Malamud, Dyanmo’s new owners are saying they’re not responsible for the old owners’ mistakes. Hence, the decision to not pay the players what they’re owed.

The players, meanwhile, say they’re on the strike until that changes.

It’s been a tumultuous few weeks for the club. Earlier this month, Dyanmo’s offices were raided by anti-fraud and corruption police.

From the Associated Press:

According to the club, the raid was prompted by an allegation of embezzlement by an employee of the club’s training base, made in a letter by a senior executive of the Dynamo sports society. The society owns the club and has been in dispute with its management.

The club said it was co-operating with police, but suggested the corruption complaint was being used as “a means of putting pressure” on the club.

Dynamo was until recently one of Russia’s top hockey teams with backing from billionaire former club president Arkady Rotenberg, and won the Kontinental Hockey League in 2012 and 2013.

Since Rotenberg left in 2015, the club has experienced cash shortages, and relations with the Dynamo sports society’s leadership have become tense.

Last month, society head Vladimir Strzhalkovsky told Russian media the club racked up debts of around 2 billion rubles $35 million US.

Dynamo was eliminated by SKA Saint Petersburg in the second round of this year’s Gagarin Cup playoffs.

Related: KHL contracts two teams for upcoming campaign

Galchenyuk situation in Montreal reminiscent of Seguin in Boston

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Another polarizing player could be on his way out of Montreal.

According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the Canadiens are “listening” to trade offers for Alex Galchenyuk.

Now, obviously, this doesn’t mean that Galchenyuk will be traded. But the fact the Habs are even listening on such a talented player is reminiscent of last summer’s situation with P.K. Subban.

Yeah, remember that?

In reality, Galchenyuk’s situation might be more reminiscent of Tyler Seguin‘s situation in Boston, in that the Bruins weren’t convinced Seguin could play center under head coach Claude Julien.

And we all know how that played out.

Not to suggest Seguin’s defensive shortcomings were the only reason he was dealt to Dallas, but the notion he wasn’t a “200-foot player” certainly did play a role.

Well, Julien is now the Canadiens’ head coach, and note what Julien said about Galchenyuk at the end of Montreal’s season.

“Ideally, we would love to have him play center,” Julien said. “But I think he realizes the same thing we realize right now. As a centerman, it’s one of the toughest jobs there is because you have to be all over the ice, and you’ve got to be able to skate. As a centerman, you have to be good at both ends of the ice, and you have to be responsible. Right now, he’s not at that stage.”

Galchenyuk, 23, is an arbitration-eligible restricted free agent.

Related: Galchenyuk won’t say no to one-year deal 

What now for Rangers after buying out Girardi?

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Now that they’ve bought him out, the New York Rangers won’t need to protect Dan Girardi in the expansion draft, and that could be a big deal for a team that needs to improve its blue line.

Girardi had a no-movement clause, which surely contributed to today’s announcement. Marc Staal also has a NMC, so he’ll still require protection. The Rangers will obviously protect Ryan McDonagh.

But after Staal and McDonagh, there’s no obvious candidate on the blue line to throw a wall around. Kevin Klein is reportedly pondering retirement. And no disrespect intended, but Nick Holden, Steven Kampfer, and Adam Clendening are hardly irreplaceable. (In case you’re wondering, Brady Skjei is exempt.)

Perhaps now the Rangers could be in on a player like Sami Vatanen. They could sure use a right shot on the power play.

Related: Devils, Bolts and Leafs could make play for Vatanen

Of course, the expectation all along has been that the Rangers will pursue Kevin Shattenkirk in free agency. Buying out Girardi would also clear cap space for that.

The forward group could see change as well. According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Derek Stepan‘s name “is fairly prominent in trade chatter” at the moment.

Clearly, the Blueshirts aren’t done making moves.

Related: Changes needed for Rangers, but which ones to choose?

Dan Girardi to be bought out by Rangers

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The New York Rangers are buying out defenseman Dan Girardi.

Girardi, 33, had three years left on his contract. The buyout will be spread over six years, with a $2.6 million cap hit next season, a $3.6 million hit the following two, and a $1.1 million hit in the final three.

Girardi played 788 games for the Rangers, plus 122 more in the playoffs.

Alas, all those heavy minutes took their toll. Over his career, Girardi blocked 1,691 shots for the Rangers, plus 347 more in the playoffs.

“I poured my heart and soul into this team for the past 11 seasons and I enjoyed every minute of it,” Giradi wrote in a lengthy statement. “I want to acknowledge that the Rangers are a first class organization who have always treated our players in a first class fashion. … I also wanted to thank all of the Blueshirt faithful. You are one of the best and most passionate fan bases in the NHL. I appreciate your support over the years.”

Read more: What now for Rangers after buying out Girardi?

“I would like to thank Dan for everything he has given of himself to the Rangers over 11 seasons,” said GM Jeff Gorton.

“Dan’s contributions to the New York Rangers organization have been immeasurable,” added president Glen Sather.

Golden Knights to start preseason on the road

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The first preseason game in Vegas Golden Knights history will be a Sunday afternoon affair in Vancouver.

The NHL’s newest expansion team announced a number of key dates today. The game against the Canucks at Rogers Arena is scheduled for Sept. 17 at 2 p.m. PT.

The Knights will play their first four preseason games on the road before hosting the Los Angeles Kings at T-Mobile Arena on Sept. 26 at 7 p.m.

Two more games in Vegas will bring their preseason to a close.

The Knights’ preseason schedule was originally reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal back in April.