Author: Mike Halford

Vladimir Sobotka

Report: Sobotka to stick in KHL, won’t return to Blues next year


Doesn’t sound like the rumored Vladimir Sobotka-to-St. Louis reunion is happening.

Per KHL Avangard Omsk’s website, Sobotka has reportedly agreed to return to Russia for a second season — despite a stipulation in his contract that allows for an NHL return at the culmination of any KHL campaign.

Sobotka, who parted ways with the Blues following an arbitration hearing last summer, just finished the first of a three-year deal with Omsk. His departure from St. Louis came on the heels of his best NHL season, in which he scored nine goals and 33 points in 61 games.

Blues GM Doug Armstrong has been in contact with the Sobotka camp following his club’s first-round playoff exit to Minnesota, and spoke with agent Petr Svoboda during the World Hockey Championships in the Czech Republic (Sobotka represented the Czechs in the tourney, scoring four points in 10 games.)

“I had a good talk with his agent,” Armstrong said last week. “The agent told me that the money he made last year, they guaranteed him for next year. He’s got two weeks to decide what he’s going to do. I said ‘We’d love to have him back.’ I understand if the economics are so great in the KHL and he has to stay. I respect that. Then we’ll talk again a year from now.”

Sobotka owes the Blues one season at an arbiter-elected salary of $2.7 million. If reports are accurate and he decides to remain in the KHL, he and the Blues will be in a similar position next spring.

‘Canes keep veteran G MacIntyre in fold with one-year, $600K deal

Washington Capitals v Carolina Hurricanes

Drew MacIntyre has been rewarded for his workmanlike effort last season.

MacIntyre, who set an AHL Charlotte franchise record for minutes played in 2014-15, has signed a one-year, two-way extension with the Hurricanes for $600,000, the club announced on Friday.

The deal will pay the 31-year-old MacIntyre $250,000 at the AHL level.

A well-traveled journeyman that’s played professionally in Toledo, Grand Rapids, Manitoba, Vancouver, Milwaukee, Chicago, Hamilton, Rochester, Buffalo, Prague, Reading and Toronto, MacIntyre has six career NHL appearances on his resume and dressed for one game as the ‘Canes backup last year, but failed to see any ice time.

Based on the current state of the Canes’ goaltending depth chart, MacIntyre is expected to spend the majority of next year back in Charlotte. Anton Khudobin and Cam Ward are both locked in to Carolina for the foreseeable future.

Your Lightning-Rangers Game 7 officials are…

Alain Vigneault

A familiar duo!

Referees Wes McCauley (No. 4) and Kevin Pollock (No. 33) have been given yet another important assignment, with Derek Amell (No. 75) and Brian Murphy (No. 93) working the lines.

Standbys are referee Chris Rooney and linesman Michel Cormier.

Some notes on tonight’s zebras…

• Pollock and McCauley have clearly emerged as the league’s “go-to” tandem for Game 7s this postseason. This will be their third time working a series finale together, having called both Red Wings-Lightning in Round 1 and Capitals-Rangers in Round 2.

• Game 7 of the Detroit-Tampa Bay series was the first shared assignment  for Pollock and McCauley this postseason. That game, a 2-0 Tampa Bay victory, featured 18 pretty evenly distributed penalty minutes — 10 for Detroit, eight for the Bolts.

• Their second Game 7, Caps-Rangers — which New York won 2-1 in OT — was also pretty even in terms of PIM; eight for Washington, and six for the Blueshirts. It is worth noting, however, that McCauley and Pollock put their whistles away with seven minutes to go in the second period, going penalty-free for all of the third frame and overtime.

•McCauley and Pollock have worked one game of this Eastern Conference Final already: New York’s 5-1 win at Tampa Bay in Game 4. That was the game in which the Rangers capitalized on two power plays early in the third period to put the game out of reach; things got chippy in the final three minutes, with 50 PIM being dished out.