The promise from Lukas Podolski was simple. If fans of German league side Kolner Haie could sell 100,000 virtual tickets, the international soccer star would suit up for the team in the future.
Well, mission accomplished as the money will benefit the club as it experiences the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. No fans are currently allowed in arenas there, which generates about 80% of their revenue, according to the team.
“I am extremely happy for the Haie, that we got the 100.000 tickets. I just want to say thank you to all the people and companies that helped us,” said Podolski, who grew up in Cologne. “Once everything is a little more calm we’ll sit together with the club to see how this continues. Whatever it will look like: I am looking forward to being a Haie player.”
The DEL season will drop the puck Dec. 17 for the first time since March.
Former NHLer Jonathan Matsumoto and current Kolner Haie forward has even offered his No. 10 to Podolski to wear.
The 35-year-old Podolski is currently playing for Antalyaspor in Turkey after spending time with European powers like Arsenal, Bayern Munich, Inter Milan, and Galatasaray. Internationally, he represented Germany 130 times and was part of their 2014 World Cup winning team.
This isn’t the first time Podolski has helped out his local team. He also dropped the puck before Kolner Haie’s 2019 outdoor game against Dusseldorfer EG.
Maybe if this all works out we can get a one-on-one showdown between Lukas Podolski and former Chelsea and Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech, who suited up for the Guildford Phoenix of the United Kingdom’s National Ice Hockey League last year.
Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.
Mathew Barzal has agreed to terms with the New York Islanders on an eight-year extension, a move that keeps the franchise’s top forward under contract for the balance of his prime.
The deal is worth $73.2 million with an annual salary cap hit of $9.15 million, according to a person with knowledge of the contract. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team did not announce terms.
Barzal has led the team in scoring, or been tied for the lead, every season since he became a full-time NHL player in 2017-18. He has 349 points in 411 regular-season and playoff games for the defensively stingy Islanders, who qualified for the postseason three consecutive times before an injury- and virus-altered last year.
“We feel recharged,” Barzal said recently. “We feel like everybody had good summers and worked hard, and we got that excitement back.”
Barzal, now 25, is coming off putting up 59 points in 75 games. The offensive star will now be asked to round out his game.
“I’m a fan because Mat has the ability to raise his game and to be a special player,” general manager Lou Lamoriello told reporters at the team’s practice facility on Long Island. “And now, with this contract and our faith in him, (it) puts that responsibility on him. We’re trusting that. It’s up to him to respond to that.”
OTTAWA, Ontario — Ottawa Senators goaltender Cam Talbot is expected to be out five to seven weeks with what the team called an upper-body injury.
The Senators initially called Talbot day to day with what they hoped was a minor injury. Instead he’s now expected to miss at least the first month of the NHL season.
Ottawa claimed goalie Magnus Hellberg off waivers from the Seattle Kraken upon announcing Talbot’s expected absence. Hellberg, who played for Sweden at the Beijing Olympics could split time with countryman Anton Forsberg while Talbot is out.
The Senators acquired Talbot from Minnesota during the offseason to make him their starter after the Wild opted against bringing him back along with Marc-Andre Fleury. Talbot, 35, had a 2.76 goals-against average and .911 save percentage this season.
Losing Talbot is a blow to the Senators, who also acquired winger Alex DeBrincat from Chicago and signed longtime Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux as part of a move toward contending and ending their playoff drought.
CHICAGO — Blackhawks forward Boris Katchouk will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a left ankle sprain, the team announced.
The 24-year-old Katchouk played almost 12 minutes during a 3-0 preseason loss to Detroit on Saturday night. He was acquired in a multiplayer trade with Tampa Bay in March.
The Blackhawks open the season on Oct. 12 at Colorado.
The team also said forward Jujhar Khaira is day to day with a right ankle injury.
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Ducks defenseman Urho Vaakanainen was taken off the Honda Center ice on a stretcher after he crashed into the end boards in the first period of Anaheim’s preseason game against the San Jose Sharks.
The Finnish defenseman was conscious and alert with full movement in his extremities at UCI Medical Center, the Ducks said.
The frightening incident occurred midway through the opening period when Vaakanainen smashed into the boards at a dangerous speed behind the Sharks’ net. Vaakanainen appeared to be concentrating on the pass he had just made to Derek Grant, who scored the Ducks’ opening goal on the assist.
Vaakanainen’s teammates came onto the ice and gathered around him as he was taken away on the stretcher.
The Ducks acquired the 23-year-old Vaakanainen from Boston last March in the deal that sent longtime Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm to the Bruins. After recording two assists in 14 games for the Ducks last season, Vaakanainen is attempting to win a top-six role on Anaheim’s defense this fall.