Author: Ryan Dadoun

Andrei Nazarov

KHL team denies reports that ex-NHLer Nazarov punched out team doctor


The KHL club SKA St. Petersburg is denying reports of an altercation involving its head coach Andrei Nazarov and team doctor Yegor Kozlov.

The Russian website Business Online is reporting that Kozlov was hospitalized with a suspected head injury as a result of the incident.

The fight was also reported by Fontanka. It states (keep in mind this is per Google Translate):

Senior doctor hockey SKA Yegor Kozlov injured as a result of the conflict with the head coach Andrei Nazarov. Presumably fight occurred because of disagreement with the medical personnel policy of the new coach.

As the “Fontanka”, senior physician received injuries have been the subject of increased anxiety members of his family. According to our information, Yegor Kozlov can communicate in fits and starts, as it is difficult to say, but tries to reassure relatives.

Nazarov is a former NHL forward that had 124 points and 1,409 penalty minutes in 571 career games with the San Jose Sharks, Tampa Bay Lightning, Calgary Flames, Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Phoenix (now Arizona) Coyotes, and Minnesota Wild.

SKA won the Gagarin Cup in 2015 with a team that featured Ilya Kovalchuk.

(h/t to Igor Kleyner and Sports Illustrated)

Blues appear set in the short-term, but difficult decisions loom

Jaden Schwartz

Vladimir Tarasenko’s performance last season combined with his solid showing in 2013-14 gave the St. Louis Blues the confidence to sign him to a eight-year, $60 million contract.

With that the Blues are just about set for the 2015-16 campaign. They still need to re-sign restricted free agent Magnus Paajarvi, but that might be the only remaining action we see from them between now and the start of training camp.

That leaves St. Louis near the salary cap, but with a little bit of wiggle room, per General Fanager. The challenge will come next summer when David Backes and Troy Brouwer are set to become unrestricted free agents while Jaden Schwartz will test the restricted free agent market. Schwartz in particular will likely be expecting a big raise from his current $2.35 million cap hit, assuming he has another strong season after his 63-point 2014-15 campaign.

If the Blues intend to keep defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk then they’ll also need to account for the likelihood that he’ll ask for a big raise too once his current four-year, $17 million deal expires in the summer of 2017.

It sets up a scenario where St. Louis might be compelled over the next year or two to trade players they otherwise wouldn’t have to remain cap compliant.

The big X-Factor in this will be how much the ceiling rises, but as we’ve seen this year with the decline of the Canadian dollar compared to its American counterpart, big increases in the cap aren’t a given.

Related: Shattenkirk’s agent downplays trade rumors

Enforcer Depth: Predators sign Bass; Ducks ink Zolnierczyk

Harry Zolnierczyk

Cody Bass has agreed to a one-year, two-way deal with the Nashville Predators, per the team’s website.

He can earn $575,000 at the NHL level or $125,000 annually in the minors.

Bass, 28, spent the 2014-15 campaign with the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs where he recorded six goals, eight assists, and 165 penalty minutes in 61 games. He’s also the veteran of 49 NHL contests between his stints with the Ottawa Senators and Columbus Blue Jackets.

Meanwhile the Anaheim Ducks announced that they have inked Harry Zolnierczyk to a one-year, two-way contract.

Zolnierczyk had 18 goals, 44 points, and 78 penalty minutes in 60 contests. The 27-year-old forward also has nine points and 83 penalty minutes in 59 career games with the Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and New York Islanders.