Dallas Stars

Report: Stars’ Jussi Rynnas to sign in the KHL

According to a report out of Finland, goaltender Jussi Rynnas will sign with Ak Bars Kazan of the Kontinental Hockey League.

Rynnas spent much of the 2014-15 season with the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League posting a 22-6-8 record to go along with a 2.53 G.A.A. and a .920 save percentage.

The 28-year-old also appeared in two games with the Dallas Stars going 0-1-0 with a 4.57 G.A.A. and an .841 save percentage.

Rynnas has one year remaining on his two-year, $1.1 million contract he signed with Dallas last summer.

Blackhawks’ property Anders Nilsson, who is eyeing a return to North America, started a bulk of the games for Ak Bars Kazan during the 2014-15 season.

Bruins sign NCAA champ Noel Acciari, whose ‘motor never stops’

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Noel Acciari was a significant part of the Providence College team that won the 2015 NCAA title. The Boston Bruins hope that he can help them win some big games, too.

The team made it official that they signed the 23-year-old forward to an entry-level contract on Monday. Specifics regarding terms and money were not shared, although ESPN’s John Buccigross indicated that it’s for two years a few days ago.

CSNNE.com passed along the views of a scout that certainly point to a player who could be well-liked in Boston.

Here’s what one NHL scout from a Western Conference team had to say about Acciari after multiple viewings of the player: “High energy, hard-working 2-way center. The kids motor never stops. Average size but gets his nose dirty and plays really hard. Will need some time in AHL, but he has 4th line/checking upside, and is smart. Think Antoine Roussel minus the fighting and agitating, or a Derek McKenzie type. Just loves to play.”

Roussel without the fighting and agitating? That’s kind of tough to imagine.

Acciari may be able to mix some decent scoring touch in with his energy game, too, it seems. Acciari scored 15 goals and 32 points for Providence College in 2014-15. He gained accolades such as Hockey East Defensive PLayer of the Year this pas season.

Sounds like a decent depth pickup for the Bruins all around.

Need a goalie? No shortage of options out there

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Don’t underestimate the importance of the backup goalie. In today’s NHL, where parity reigns, it can be the difference between making and missing the playoffs.

Think that’s overstating things? Give Jim Nill a call in Dallas. The Stars’ GM gambled on Anders Lindback this season, and it cost his team big time. With a capable backup, the Stars wouldn’t have had to lean so heavily on a struggling Kari Lehtonen. Dallas went on to finish with the NHL’s second-worst team save percentage (.895). Also, seven points back of a playoff spot.

Meanwhile, remember what Andrew Hammond did for the Senators? And Eddie Lack for the Canucks when Ryan Miller went down with an injury? Do either of those teams make the playoffs without such solid play from their backups?

Having one capable goalie is nice. Having two is even better. Heck, in the Senators’ case, it was three.

Remember that on July 1 when unrestricted free agents are expected to include Antti Niemi, Karri Ramo, Michal Neuvirth, and Jhonas Enroth. (As of today, Devan Dubnyk can become unrestricted as well, but it would be a surprise if he doesn’t re-sign with Minnesota.)

And then there’s the trade market. The Senators are trying to trade Craig Anderson or Robin Lehner. The Canucks are expected to deal one of Lack or Jacob Markstrom. The Blackhawks have three goalies under contract; what could Antti Raanta fetch them? Would the Leafs trade James Reimer? They’d listen to offers, that’s for sure.

So yeah, lots of options out there.

In spite of all the supply, Canucks GM Jim Benning is confident there’s enough demand that he’ll be able to recover something for either Lack or Markstrom.

“I think there’s enough teams that need goalies that if we decide to move someone that we won’t have a problem doing it,” he said recently in a radio interview.

And according to a report in the Ottawa Sun, there are seven teams interested in the Senators’ goalies.

The Edmonton Oilers are probably one of those seven teams. They finished the season with the NHL’s worst team save percentage (.888).

“I’ve had discussions on teams with goalies,” GM Peter Chiarelli said yesterday. “We’ve got a goalie under contract in Ben Scrivens.”

We’ve speculated that the Oilers may have interest in a veteran like Anderson, but Chiarelli refused to get into specifics.

“Obviously I’m not going to comment on any discussions with specific teams,” he said.

So, expect plenty of goalies to change clubs this summer. And when the 16 playoff teams are finalized for 2016, don’t be surprised if we’re looking back at one or two moves that made a difference between making and missing.

Related: If Anderson is available, should the Oilers be interested?

Gonchar, Zidlicky plan to return next season

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Sergei Gonchar and Marek Zidlicky intend to play at least one more season in the NHL.

Both veteran defensemen are set to become unrestricted free agents next month.

Zidlicky split the 2014-15 season between the New Jersey Devils and Detroit Red Wings. In 84 games the 38-year-old had seven goals and 34 points to go along with a minus-9 rating while averaging over 20 minutes a night in ice time.

“He is 100 percent committed to playing in the NHL next season,” Zidlicky’s agent Allan Walsh tweeted on Monday afternoon.

Gonchar split the 2014-15 season between the Dallas Stars and Montreal Canadiens. The Habs announced last month that they would not be bringing the 41-year-old back for next season.

Montreal acquired Gonchar from Dallas in exchange for Travis Moen in November.

In 48 games this season Gonchar had one goal and 13 assists to go along with a plus-6 rating while averaging nearly 18 minutes a night in ice time.

Gonchar told TVA’s Renaud Lavoie that he wants to play one more season.

Duchene slams Russian players for storming off after Canada’s 2015 WHC win

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Matt Duchene didn’t beat around the bush when asked about much of the Russian team storming off during Canada’s gold medal celebration and national anthem at the Worlds. He made it clear to Sportsnet 590 The Fan that he didn’t take the slight lightly.

“I’ve lost in that tournament three times, and twice was to Russia. We stood out and listened to their anthem,” Duchene said.

“We would never have dreamed of skating off the ice.”

It’s been made clear that some Russian players did stay out during Canada’s anthem, including Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin. Duchene said that their gesture didn’t go unnoticed, and “that spoke to a lot of us” on Canada’s team.

He has harsh words for those who bolted, though.

MORE: Russia will be punished for “out of order” actions.

Apparently Jason Spezza relayed a story to Duchene regarding alleged poor sportsmanship from Alex Radulov that won’t exactly simmer things down:

“The one time he was saying that [Alexander] Radulov in Halifax was skating right by them, jumping on the boards with the Russian flag. [Canadian] guys were real close to leaving the blueline and go take a run at him,” Duchene said.

“Over time, you gotta pay it back. You can’t celebrate like that when you win and not respect when you lose. That’s something as Canadians we have a good understanding of. Some of the Russians did; some of them didn’t.”

Sheesh.

With Radulov and Ilya Kovalchuk in the KHL (for now?), we might not see Duchene and most of the Russian players involved on the same sheet of ice until the next opportunity in international competition. (Surely he can single a player or two out, but some may point to Radulov and Kovalchuk in particular.)

Specifics aside, this incident adds a little spice and a lot of bitterness to the Canada – Russia hockey rivalry.

Check out highlights of Canada’s lopsided 2015 World Hockey Championships gold medal win below.