Tag: Erik Christensen

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 2: Alexander Semin #28 of Washington Capitals skates during warmups before Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs against the New York Rangers on May 2, 2012 at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/NHLI via Getty Images)

Report: KHL club “ready to open talks” with Semin


According to Russian news outlet Sports.ru, SKA Saint Petersburg of the KHL is set to begin contract talks with Washington Capitals forward Alex Semin.

The former 40-goal scorer is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and has indicated his time in Washington is over. While reports have suggested Semin’s desire is to remain in the NHL, a recent interview with Sport-Express suggested playing in the KHL is also a viable option:

Question: “Is there any clarity on where your career will resume in the next season?”

Semin: “I can’t say anything concrete at this time. I’m waiting for July 1st, until the negotiations in the NHL open, for now I am unemployed.”

Question: “Are your priorities in Russia or North America?”

Semin: “I can’t answer. I don’t know.”

SKA general manager Alexei Kasatonov — who played nearly 400 games in the NHL with New Jersey, Anaheim, St. Louis and Boston — had previously told Sports-Express that his club plans to pursue Semin when the free agency window opens.

It’ll be interesting to see how negotiations play out. Recent days have seen a flurry of NHLers depart for the KHL — Erik Christensen, Sami Lepisto, Curtis Sanford — though none with the star power and talent level of Semin, who has averaged 31 goals per season since the lockout.

Of note, SKA is home to a number of ex-NHLers including Maxim Afinogenov, Vitaly Vishnevski, Dmitri Kalinin, Denis Grebeshkov and Petr Prucha.

Minnesota’s Christensen signs in KHL

Erik Christensen

Another day, another NHLer headed to Russia.

This time it’s Minnesota Wild forward Erik Christensen, who has signed a deal with HC Lev of the KHL — the league’s lone team playing in the Czech Republic (Prague, to be specific.)

Lev has yet to play in the KHL and the 2012-13 season will be its first in Russia. That said, the team has set about stockpiling former NHLers: Lubos Bartecko, Marcel Hossa, Jakub Klepis, Drew MacIntyre, Tomas Mojzis, Martin Strbak, Tomas Surovy and Paul Szczechura, to name a few.

Christensen spent last season between the Rangers and Wild, recording 12 points in 49 games. The 28-year-old is best known as one of the NHL’s premier shootout specialists, having scored 29 times in 55 career attempts. Only two players — Jussi Jokinen and Pavel Datsyuk — have scored more goals in the shootout.


Lepisto leaves Chicago, heading to KHL

Sanford off to KHL, goaltending market continues to thin out

Report: KHL team ready to pony up record amount of money for Radulov’s rights

Canucks make Malhotra healthy scratch for first time

Manny Malhotra 2

According to Jim Jamieson of the Vancouver Province, Manny Malhotra will be a healthy scratch for the first time in his Canucks career tonight when Vancouver takes on Chicago at the United Center.

Malhotra, an excellent shut-down player last season, suffered a serious eye injury a year ago and missed much of his summer training due to several surgical procedures on the eye.

He’s struggled to regain last season’s high level, but has still been good in the face-off circle. He’s fifth in the NHL in face-off winning percentage, at 58.2 per cent. On Monday in Minnesota, Malhotra was three for six, all in the defensive zone, and lost a draw to Kyle Brodziak on a Wild power play just prior to Erik Christensen’s opening goal.

Malhotra said he was fine physically. “They’re just trying different things, giving guys some looks,” he said.

There are a few ways of looking at this lineup decision:

1) It was simply Malhotra’s turn, just like it was Mason Raymond’s turn on Tuesday. Raymond was a healthy scratch in Vancouver’s 2-0 loss to Minnesota — the first time in three years he’d been a healthy scratch — after going pointless in eight games, frustrating head coach Alain Vigneault.

2) This isn’t actually Malhotra’s first healthy scratch. Malhotra was held out of the lineup last week against Columbus and Phoenix for “personal reasons”, believed to be in relation to the one-year anniversary of his eye injury.

We say ‘believed’ because Malhotra wouldn’t discuss the situation.

“There’s no need to elaborate,” he said of his absence. “Things are fine and I’m ready to get back to work. I feel good. I’m ready to go.”

It’s possible Vancouver held Malhotra out of the lineup under the guise of “personal reasons” to prevent publicly embarrassing one of its alternate captains. Of course, this conspiracy theory is ripe for hole-poking. Why would they keep from embarrassing him then, only to embarrass him a week later?

And really, how tumultuous would scratching an alternate captain be? Dale Hunter’s benched Mike Knuble a whole bunch of times, and those two seem to get along great.