Author: Joe Yerdon

Valeri Nichushkin

Nichushkin selection to Team Russia causing rift in leadership


When Team Russia announced their roster for the 2014 Winter Olympics, Valeri Nichushkin’s name being on it was a bit of a surprise.

After all, he’s just 18 years old and he doesn’t have a long history of international experience. According to a report from Russia, his selection has caused a bit of a rift between Team Russia’s coach and GM.

Russian coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov said Nichushkin’s inclusion was “an advanced payment” that he “must justify.” In other words, it’s a risky selection that had better pay off.

Team Russia’s GM Alexei Yashin (yeah, him) views it differently.

“It’s hard to talk about an advance payment. It’s the wrong word,” said Yashin, who played 850 career NHL games. “Nichushkin has earned the call to the Olympics with his game.”

Nichushkin has nine goals and 22 points in his rookie season with the Stars. Yashin says his performance is reminiscent of rookie seasons from John Tavares and Sidney Crosby. You can’t say he’s not going to the wall for the guy he picked.

There’s a lot of pressure for Russia to win big at the Olympics. They last won a medal in 2002 (bronze) and they were embarrassed by Canada when they were knocked out in 2010. Now that they’re playing host, they want gold badly. If Nichushkin helps them do that, Yashin will look like a genius.

Hurricanes activate Nash, demote Sutter and Boychuk

Riley Nash

The Carolina Hurricanes will get one of their more steady players back in the lineup soon.

The team activated forward Riley Nash off injured reserve and demoted Zach Boychuk and Brett Sutter to make room for him on the roster. Nash missed the past five games with a lower-body injury.

This season, Nash has played in 36 games and has 10 points. For a guy playing fourth line minutes, that’s steady production. Of course, the Hurricanes are waiting on a few of their big name players to get healthy.

Captain Eric Staal (lower-body), forward Jiri Tlusty (appendectomy), and goalie Cam Ward (lower-body) are all still out of action. Getting Staal and Tlusty back soon will help push them deeper into the playoff hunt in the Metropolitan Division.

Rangers send down J.T. Miller

J.T. Miller

The one thing Daniel Carcillo’s arrival in New York has done is cut into J.T. Miller’s playing time. With that being the case, the Rangers have sent Miller to their AHL affiliate in Hartford.

Miller was a healthy scratch in the past two games against Chicago and Dallas, both 3-2 Rangers wins. He has played in 25 games this season and has two goals and two assists. He had that exact same output last season in 26 games.

At 20 years old, keeping Miller with the big club and not playing games isn’t optimal, so a trip back to the AHL will help him out there.