Viktor Tikhonov

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Former Coyotes F Kyle Chipchura signs one-year deal in KHL

After spending nine years in the NHL, free agent forward Kyle Chipchura is now heading overseas.

The veteran forward has signed a one-year contract to play for HC Slovan Bratislava in the KHL, the team announced on Monday.

A former first-round pick (No. 18 overall) by the Montreal Canadiens in 2004, Chipchura has 482 games of pro experience as a member of the Canadiens, Anaheim Ducks and Arizona Coyotes. He spent the bulk of his career in Arizona after signing with the team as a free agent before the 2011-12 season.

He appeared in 70 games for the Coyotes this past season, scoring four goals to go with eight assists while mostly playing in a fourth-line role.

He was an unrestricted free agent this summer and is the second player from the Coyotes’ 2015-16 roster to leave for the KHL, following in the footsteps Viktor Tikhonov who signed with SKA over the weekend.

Chipchura has 31 goals and 73 assists in his career.

So long: Viktor Tikhonov leaves NHL for KHL once again

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Viktor Tikhonov returned to the NHL in 2015-16, but it apparently wasn’t meant to be a long stay.

The 28-year-old forward is headed back to SKA in the KHL, as the team announced. Specific contract details are currently unclear.

Tikhonov first left the Coyotes organization after the 2010-11 season, playing for SKA from 2011-12 to 2014-15.

He returned to the league first by playing 11 games for the Chicago Blackhawks before being claimed off of waivers by the Coyotes.

It’s easy to see why he didn’t drum up a lot of interest in the NHL this summer, hockey-famous last name and all. He only managed six points in 39 games with Arizona after failing to generate a single goal or assist in those 11 contests with Chicago.

As much of a treat as it is to see that last name – and for some of us, to grin at Herb Brooks lines from “Miracle” in the process – his return to the KHL seems predictable enough.

Video: Kopitar’s ‘power move’ beats Coyotes in OT

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GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) After a wild third period, all Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar thought about in overtime was making sure the game’s final shot slid all the way into the net.

Kopitar scored 36 seconds into overtime to lift the Kings over the Arizona Coyotes 4-3 on Saturday night in a game that featured five third-period goals.

Kopitar skated past Viktor Tikhonov, faked goalie Louis Domingue to the ice with a forehand deke and backhanded the puck into the vacated right side of the net.

“I knew I was going to see some net there,” Kopitar said. “I just wanted to make sure it went in. The ice never is good in overtime.”

“It was just a power move,” Kings captain Dustin Brown said. “I think a lot of guys have that move, but Kopi has the patience few players have to wait it out.”

That saved the Kings on a night when Los Angeles rallied from a one-goal deficit only to squander a two-goal lead.

Drew Doughty, Tanner Pearson and Dustin Brown scored for the Kings, and Los Angeles won for the second time in six games.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored twice and Antoine Vermette added a goal for the Coyotes. Arizona lost for only the second time in its past 10 home games.

Jonathan Quick made 23 saves for the Kings.

The Kings scored three goals in the first 6:23 of the third period for a 3-1 lead, but then the Coyotes took advantage of a match penalty against Jake Muzzin and score twice during the subsequent 5-minute power play.

Muzzin got the penalty for a blind hit on Boyd Gordon with 6:40 left. Gordon was on his knees just inside the blue line when Muzzin drove a hip into Gordon’s head, leaving the Coyotes center face down on the ice.

“It looked pretty nasty,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said.

Asked what he saw on the play, Kings coach Darryl Sutter said “Muzzin’s (rear) on Gordon’s face. It was a hockey play. It’s not even a penalty.”

A delay of game call on Alec Martinez 2:33 later led to a 2-minute 5-on-3 advantage, and the Coyotes capitalized on Vermette’s redirection of a shot by Michael Stone with 3:53 remaining.

Ekman-Larsson tied the game 30 seconds later when his shot from the high slot trickled between Quick’s pads for Arizona’s second goal on eight shots during the extended power play.

The Coyotes were aided by an undisciplined opening period from the Kings that led to three power plays. The first came when Milan Lucic cross-checked Connor Murphy behind the Coyotes net shortly after being checked off his feet by Murphy and led to Arizona’s first goal.

Ekman-Larsson took a pass from Mikkel Boedker just outside the right faceoff circle and scored on a wrist shot that sailed over Quick’s right shoulder at 9:43 of the first.

Los Angeles took advantage of a delay of game penalty on Brad Richardson with 14 seconds left in the second period, pulling even on Doughty’s goal 37 seconds into the third.

The Kings took the lead 3:40 later, 2-1, with help from Ekman-Larsson. The defenseman tried to bounce a pass off the boards just outside the Coyotes’ zone but instead sent the puck directly to Pearson, whose shot deflected off Murphy’s stick and past Domingue at 4:17 of the period.

Brown made it 3-1 with 13:37 left, one-timing Nick Shore‘s pass from just below the left circle for the Kings’ second power-play goal.

NOTES: Gordon left the ice under his own power. It wasn’t certain whether he would join the team for their game Sunday in Colorado. … Kings center Jeff Carter left the game early in the first period with an upper-body injury. Carter was sent back to Los Angeles after the game for further evaluation. … Arizona defenseman Zbynek Michalek returned to the ice after missing the past four games with a lower-body injury. … Coyotes center Martin Hanzal was out for the sixth time in seven games with a lower-body injury. … Lucic was playing in his 600th career game. … Brown has 16 goals and 31 points in 64 career games against the Coyotes.

Welcome back: Coyotes claim Tikhonov off waivers from ‘Hawks

What’s old is new again in the desert.

On Sunday, the Arizona Coyotes claimed Viktor Tikhonov off waivers from Chicago (per Arizona Sports), bringing him back to the organization that selected him in the opening round of the 2008 Draft.

Tikhonov, 27, returned to the NHL this season after a four-year stint in the KHL. He signed a one-year, $1.04 million deal with the ‘Hawks but failed to make an impact, going scoreless in 11 games while sitting as a healthy scratch in 10 of the last 11 contests.

The move back to Arizona should be interesting.

Tikhonov, the 28th overall pick in ’08, spent most of his rookie campaign with the Coyotes, scoring eight goals and 16 points in 61 games. That was followed by a stint with AHL San Antonio, then his move to Russia.

Despite that move, it appeared Arizona always kept interest in Tikhonov– last May, GM Don Maloney reportedly reached out to him about an NHL return.

Looks like Bryan Bickell’s on his way back to Chicago

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After 12 games, Bryan Bickell’s time in the American Hockey League appears to be over.

Bickell has left the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate in Rockford, per ex-ESPN Chicago scribe Scott Powers, and is expected to be available for selection when Chicago takes on the Jets today.

Bickell’s return comes after the ‘Hawks put Russian forward Viktor Tikhonov on waivers, for the purpose of sending him to the IceHogs.

The hope now, of course, is that Bickell’s time in the minors has kickstarted his game.

Carrying a hefty four-year, $16 million deal with a $4M average annual cap hit, Bickell struggled mightily over the first month of the NHL campaign, which led to Chicago demoting him in early November.

Over the last month, though, the big power forward looks to have rediscovered his offense. He has seven goals and 14 points in 12 games for Rockford.

“Putting it all together for Bicks is a challenge, but there are always some good parts to his game,” ‘Hawks head coach Joel Quenneville said, per the Chicago Sun-Times. “He can skate, he can shoot, he can hit hard. So there are some good attributes there, and just putting them together in that consistent fashion is what we want to see.

“When he delivers it, it makes us a better team.”