Jason Brough

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)

Where could Radulov land next season?


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.

Sedin warns Canucks management — don’t read too much into late-season wins

Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin

The Vancouver Canucks have won three straight, and boy are some (most?) of their fans mad about it.

The Canucks — who’d lost nine straight prior to improbably beating the Sharks, Ducks and Kings in consecutive outings — have climbed to 25th in the overall standings, in the process hurting their chances of landing Auston Matthews in the draft lottery.

It’s a funny thing, having your fans cheer against you. But that’s just reality in the NHL, where there’s a clear incentive for non-playoff teams to finish as low as possible in the standings.

Meanwhile, captain Henrik Sedin has a warning for Canucks management.

“I think we have to be really careful to evaluate our team based on the last five, 10 games of the season,” Sedin told Postmedia. “I’ve seen that mistake from other teams. You go into next year thinking you’ve got a good shot at it. We’ve got to remember we’re playing teams getting ready for the playoffs and I don’t see them putting their full, full effort into it.”

Sedin didn’t specifically mention the Columbus Blue Jackets, but he sure could’ve. We all remember how the Jackets finished last season, we all remember the heightened expectations they carried into the current one, and we all know how things turned out.

The Canucks still have major deficiencies. Even with the cap space to sign a notable free agent this summer, and even though key injuries played a role in the team’s failures this season, the club has started to preach patience above all else.

“We’re in a new place,” president of hockey ops Trevor Linden told the Globe and Mail recently. “I’ve talked to [ownership] a lot about where we are, about what the future looks like. … They understand this is going to take some time, and the need to be patient.”

Quotes like that represent a marked departure from two years ago when then-new GM Jim Benning called the Canucks a “team we can turn around in a hurry.”

While Vancouver did get back to the playoffs last year, a first-round loss to Calgary showed beyond a doubt that its days as legitimate Stanley Cup contenders were over.

Related: Linden claims ‘complete autonomy from ownership,’ but perception says otherwise in Vancouver

Coach Q ‘absolutely’ expects Crawford to start first game of playoffs


Corey Crawford practiced with his Blackhawks teammates today. It was the first time he’s done that since suffering an upper-body injury (reportedly a head injury) last month.

Crawford hasn’t played since March 14, but it’s possible he could return to the crease Saturday in Columbus, the last game of the regular season for the defending champs.

“I feel pretty good,” he told reporters, per Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times. “It was nice to see some shots today and be out there with the guys.”

When his coach, Joel Quenneville, was asked if he expected Crawford to start the first game of the playoffs, his response was, “Absolutely.”

That’s an upgrade in optimism from last week when Quenneville was merely “hopeful”.

Scott Darling will start tonight’s home game versus the Coyotes. The ‘Hawks host St. Louis Thursday, before Saturday’s season finale in Columbus.

For an update on Marian Hossa and Andrew Shaw, click here for CSN Chicago’s story. (Neither forward will play tonight.)

Bill Peters to coach Team Canada at World Championship

Bill Peters

Carolina’s Bill Peters will be the head coach of Team Canada’s entry at the 2016 World Championship.

The Hurricanes’ head coach will be assisted by Senators head coach Dave Cameron and former Wild bench boss Mike Yeo, along with Hockey Canada’s Misha Donskov.

“This group brings experience and a continuity that will serve us well not only at worlds, but as we look toward the World Cup of Hockey in September,” said Tom Renney, president and CEO of Hockey Canada, in a release. “There’s been a lot of work done over the last month by the management team to put this coaching staff into place, and more to come as we start pulling together our roster, but I’m confident with the direction and the staff as we look to defend our championship title in May.”

Peters has already been named to Mike Babcock’s Team Canada staff for the World Cup.

Canada’s gold-medal winning team in 2015 was coached by Todd McLellan.

The 2016 tournament will be held in Russia.

B’s recall Colin Miller, and he’ll play tonight versus Carolina

Tampa Bay Lightning's Valtteri Filppula (51) and Boston Bruins' Colin Miller (48) battle for the puck during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Boston, Monday, Oct. 12, 2015. The Lightning won 6-3. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Rookie defenseman Colin Miller has been called up from the AHL and will play tonight for the Boston Bruins against Carolina.

Kevan Miller will also play for the B’s, while Dennis Seidenberg will miss another contest due to injury.

With both Millers playing, that means Joe Morrow and Zach Trotman will come out. Morrow had a costly giveaway in Boston’s 6-4 loss to Chicago on Sunday.

The Bruins’ back end has been under the microscope all season. With just three games left and a playoff spot on the line, it seems that storyline will remain one. Boston hosts Detroit in a huge game Thursday before finishing its schedule Saturday at home to Ottawa.

“When a team wants to get itself back on track, which we have to do this week, you’ve got to trust whatever word you want to use — game plan, system,” coach Claude Julien told the Boston Globe. “You’ve got to trust it.

“You’ve got to respect it and go and do it so that everybody’s on the same page. That just minimizes breakdowns. That’s the focus we have to have this week. Let’s trust our game plan and our system here. Let’s execute it the best we can. The rest will take care of itself.”

Colin Miller’s last NHL game was on Feb. 14. Waiver exempt, he was returned to the AHL when Adam McQuaid was activated off injured reserve.

The B’s made room for Miller by sending forward Seth Griffith to Providence.