Nikolay Goldobin

PHT Morning Skate: NHL won’t restrict coaches if play resumes (even older ones)

Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from the NHL and around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

NHL not restricting coaches and other matters relating to COVID-19/return to play

• ESPN’s Emily Kaplan reports that the NHL will place no restrictions on coaches that would entail “prohibiting them from doing their jobs” if play resumes. Coaches with certain at-risk factors (including advanced age) won’t be restricted from coaching teams. Some of this might boil down to the wishes of the NHL Coaches’ Association. I can’t say I’m pumped that masks aren’t an instant requirement, but I’m also not thrilled that players won’t be wearing full face shields. Why not take the precautions that make the most sense, even in a process that might be risky overall?

Anyway, read on for more from Kaplan. [ESPN]

• Speaking of throwing a debatable amount of caution to the wind, the Rangers stated that Kaapo Kakko looks likely to return to play. This is notable, as Kakko is a Type 1 Diabetic. Rangers president John Davidson claims that the team’s doctors are giving Kakko the green light. I don’t know, gang. Perhaps we’ll just have to get used to players “choosing” to roll the dice? [NHL.com]

• For the first time ever, the Hockey Hall of Fame will induct a class without in-person debates. Instead, there will be a “virtual conference call.” TSN’s Frank Seravalli provides details on this rare process. [TSN]

• Adam Gretz breaks down why the Canadiens could be a tough matchup for the Penguins. And, no, Carey Price isn’t the main reason. [Pensburgh]

Darcy Kuemper explains that, after being off the ice for months, “you kind of have to re-teach yourself how to play goalie.” If nothing else, Kuemper faces one of the bigger challenges to regain his past form, simply because he’s been legitimately elite since January 2019, basically. [Arizona Republic]

Departures, Sabres firing fallout, and other hockey links

• Now-former Rochester Americans coach Chris Taylor spoke to Bill Hoppe about getting fired. When word surfaced that the Sabres were firing Jason Botterill, Taylor believed that it would be limited to that. Instead, it was a purge where a stunning 22 people were fired. Taylor admits he didn’t see it coming. That’s pretty understandable, being that the Americans finished second in their division for two seasons in a row, and third during Taylor’s first campaign as head coach. [Buffalo Hockey Beat]

• Lyle “Spector” Richardson notes that Botterill ranks among assistant GMs who couldn’t find big success as GMs. Interesting stuff, although I’d argue that Ron Hextall did a mostly good job with the Flyers, particularly cleaning up their cap nightmares. He just* made the classic mistake of … um, hiring someone with almost the same last name? [Featurd]

* — OK, there were multiple errors, but I’d still give Hextall a “B” or “B+” overall.

• Why a Connor McDavid rookie card auction already surpassed $70K. It’s on its way to becoming the most expensive modern hockey card. [Edmonton Journal]

• EA Sports downplayed rumblings about “NHL 21” being left out of a video hyping future games. [U.S. Gamer]

• Pondering how Reid Cashman’s departure might affect the Capitals. Check this one out if you want to dive into the pool-o-analytics. [Japers’ Rink]

• Nikolay Goldobin bolting from the Canucks to the KHL represents one last departure for this post. There had been high hopes at times for Goldobin, but it didn’t work out. You could probably argue with Canucks fans on Twitter about Goldobin still, though. [Offside Vancouver]

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Goldobin heads to KHL, moves on from Canucks, NHL

Goldobin leaves Canucks signs in KHL
Getty Images

Nikolay Goldobin signed with CSKA Moscow of the KHL, ending his time in the Canucks organization. Naturally, this also ends his time in the NHL. At least for now.

Sports-Express’ Igor Eronko first reported that Goldobin signed a two-year deal with CSKA. TSN’s Rick Dhaliwal caught up with Goldobin, 24, who explained the move.

“The Canucks did not want to sign me,” Goldobin told Dhaliwal. “I was disappointed how it turned out in VAN but I am happy to sign in KHL and will try (in the) NHL again in two years.”

Ultimately, it seems like Goldobin couldn’t quite earn the trust of the Canucks, making his departure to the KHL easy to understand.

After generating 27 points in 63 games during the 2018-19 season, Goldobin appeared in a single NHL contest this season.

Otherwise, he spent his season with the AHL’s Utica Comets. Much like in 2017-18 (31 points in 30 games), Goldobin played well in the AHL, generating 50 points in 51 contests for the Comets.

While Goldobin is far from a world-beater, it’s a touch surprising that he couldn’t find a spot somewhere in the Canucks lineup. Failing that, you wonder if the Canucks might have been better off trading him for something.

One wonders if we’ll hear about more Goldobin-like tweeners leaving (or debuting in) the NHL soon.

Goldobin joins Slepyshev in KHL; quick thoughts on his Canucks departure

The Canucks acquired Goldobin from the Sharks during the 2017 NHL Trade Deadline. Jannik Hansen went the other way to San Jose, failing to make much of an impact during the rest of 2016-17. Hansen then played one more season with the Sharks in 2017-18. He wrapped his hockey career with (wait for it) CSKA in 2018-19.

Speaking (again) of CSKA, the KHL team also signed Anton Slepyshev. Slepyshev’s coffee barely got cold at the NHL level before things fell apart during the Vegas Golden Knights’ inaugural season. So Goldobin can commiserate with Slepyshev, if nothing else.

Ken Holland told the Edmonton Sun’s Jim Matheson that there was an opportunity for Slepyshev, but the forward would’ve made less (at least in the short term) than Slepyshev will earn in the KHL.

“I met with Slep at a coffee shop in Russia just before Christmas and talking to him he thought he could play on a third line, and I felt for sure he could be a bottom-six forward,” Holland said. “I think he had a point in 20 straight games over there and the team obviously wanted to keep him. I feel very comfortable with the offer I made that it was fair based on where he was going to play in the NHL.”

Holland paints kind of a funny picture there, huh?

Anyway, it’s sometimes a shame to see things not work out for players like Goldobin and Slepyshev in the NHL. At least they have what seems to be an acceptable alternative in the KHL, though.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.