On Clarkson, Gonchar, Alfredsson, Visnovsky & Murray


NHL RUMOR TUESDAY *One of the most coveted free agents were he to hit the free agent market in July will be New Jersey Devils winger David Clarkson, who some scouts feel has evolved into one of the best power forwards in the National Hockey League. At 28 years old, Clarkson is set to cash in. An NHL insider predicted to me that Clarkson lands a 5 year, $30 million contract this summer. The Devils don’t plan to open contract talks until after the season. *Senators GM Bryan Murray feels obligated to do what he can to keep the Senators competitive despite losing Erik Karlsson for the season and Jason Spezza out until April. There will be no fire sale and that has Murray looking to hold onto veteran defenseman Sergei Gonchar for the time being, despite the Rangers, Kings and Red Wings being rumored as having early interest. IfRead More »

NHL Rumors Saturday: Flyers, Gonchar, Rangers, Higgins/Pens


NHL RUMOR SATURDAY Flyers looking to Add: The Philadelphia Flyers lead the Eastern Conference with 71 points and arguably have the most depth in the National Hockey League. Philadelphia ranks 1st in the league in goals per game at 3.46 and are tied for a league-high with 8 players scoring 10 or more goals. Despite offensive depth that few teams if any can match, the Flyers are actively exploring the market for a top-9 forward. They made a strong run at New Jersey’s Jamie Langenbrunner and reportedly have serious interest in Hurricanes forward Erik Cole who could become available next month. The Flyers are a dangerous team leading up to the trade deadline because they can take on a cap hit of almost $3.7 million, after putting Matt Walker ($1.7 million cap hit) on waivers. They are going to have the ability to add. Will Sens be able to moveRead More »

Free Agency Buzz: Updates on Tallinder, Gonchar, Kovalchuk, others


DePaoli’s NHL Free Agency Twitter Updates Ilya Kovalchuk enters the free agent market as this years top prize but coming up with more than two definite suitors has been difficult. Although there are some rumblings that LA Kings GM Dean Lombardi wants to stay away from Kovalchuk, Kings ownership fully intends to make a run at the 27 year old winger. The other known suitor includes the New Jersey Devils who continue to have daily contact with Kovalchuk’s agent Jay Grossman. Now onto some potential wild cards/sleepers New York Rangers — Just about anyone connected with the Rangers say they won’t be in the mix. The Rangers currently have about $47 million committed to 15 players and have to pay Marc Staal who will become a restricted free agent on July 1. However, the Rangers were after Kovalchuk hard at the trade deadline and Glen Sather tries to get inRead More »

The Latest NHL Free Agency Buzz


Free Agency Buzz *The Atlanta Thrashers will be shopping for wingers this off-season. Contract talks with winger Maxim Afinogenov have gone nowhere and Colby Armstrong has already made his intentions known that he intends to test free agency. Afinogenov, 30, is coming off a breakout season scoring 24 goals and 61 points. Afinogenov is looking for a significant raise over his $800,000 salary from 2009-2010 but a stumbling block in talks with the Thrashers has been the term of the contract. Afinogenov is seeking a mult-year deal and Thrashers management doesn’t appear ready to commit beyond two years. Look for Alexei Ponikarovsky to be a target of the Thrashers. *Hurricanes winger Ray Whitney and Sabres winger Raffi Torres will test free agency. Both were primary targets of the Pittsburgh Penguins during the trade deadline. Whitney, 38, made $3.5 million last season. Torres made $2.75 million. *The market for defensemen willRead More »

Malkin finishes World Championships wth 5 goals in 5 games


Russia went into the IIHF World Championships as one of the most motivated teams after their embarrassing loss to Canada in the Olympics and they continued their dominance in World Championship play, winning 8 straight games to advance to the Gold Medal game Sunday night against Czech Republic. However, the Czech Republic stunned Russia Sunday night, ending a 27-game Russian win streak at the IIHF World Championships with a 2-1 gold medal victory. It was another disappointing finish for the Russians who got a boost for the final five games of the tournament when Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Gonchar joined the team last weekend. Malkin, the 2008-2009 Art Ross Trophy winner, had a solid tournament scoring five goals and two assists in five games played. Malkin was effective on the power play scoring three power play goals in the tournament. Malkin is coming off a playoff run with the PittsburghRead More »

Penguins waiting to hear back from Gonchar’s camp


Sources tell me Penguins management exchanged official numbers with Sergei Gonchar’s camp early last week and the Penguins are waiting to hear back from Gonchar’s agent J.P. Barry. They are expecting a response in the next 48 hours but it appears a deal is not close and will not be agreed upon anytime soon. The buzz coming out of the Olympics is that the Penguins are believed to have tendered an offer of three years in the range of $12.75 million – $13.05 million. Pittsburgh has shown a willingness offer up to $5 million per season on a two year deal but Gonchar’s camp continues to seek a three or four year deal. For months the term of the contract has been a major sticking point. Despite the Penguins window of opportunity being now and as important that Gonchar is to the Penguins, some league evaluators I’ve spoken to overRead More »

Malkin has two point night in Russia’s 8-2 win


Russia 8 – Latvia 2 Alexander Ovechkin scored twice and goaltender Evgeni Nabokov made 18 saves leading Russia to an easy 8-2 victory over Latvia in preliminary round action. Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin had a goal and an assist for Russia. Malkin got better as the game progressed, scoring a power play goal late in the second period and setting up linemate Iyla Kovalchuk for a third period tally. Russia’s roster consists of a number of NHL and KHL players and they got production from both ends Tuesday night. KHL forward Danis Zaripov scored twice and Alexander Radulov added a goal for Russia. Former Penguin Alexei Morozov also scored for Russia. Penguins defenseman Sergei Gonchar was pointless. The Russians return to action Thursday afternoon.

Hockey Olympics: Malkin to center Kovalchuk and Afinogenov in opening game


Team Russia News and Notes Russia who is considered a favorite to win the Gold Medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics, went through their first practice today. Russia opens up the tournament tomorrow night against Latvia in preliminary action. Penguins center Evgeni Malkin will open up the tournament on a line with New Jersey’s Ilya Kovalchuk and Atlanta’s Max Afinogenov while Pavel Datsyuk will center Russia’s top line of Alexander Ovechkin and Alexander Semin. Former Penguins winger Alexei Morozov, will play on the 4th line with Danis Zaripov (AK BARS KAZAN), and Sergei Zinoviev (SALAVAT YULAYEV). Sergei Fedorov, Viktor Kozlov and former Nashville Predators forward Alexander Radulov will be Russia’s third line. Russia’s blueline consists of five NHLer’s led by Pittsburgh’s Sergei Gonchar, Montreal’s Andrei Markov and Ottawa’s Anton Volchenkov. Fedor Tyutin of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Denis Grebeshkov of the Edmonton Oilers will also play a key roleRead More »

Gonchar remains top priority


Letang not biting on short-term offer Contract talks with pending free agent Sergei Gonchar have been on-going since Penguins GM Ray Shero and J.P. Barry, the agent for Gonchar, held their first set of substantive talks during the Penguins Western Canada road trip in mid-Janaury. A meeting in Pittsburgh did not happen this weekend between the two sides, but negotiations have been described as “productive” according to a source close to Gonchar. Shero and J.P. Barry intend to hold extensive talks leading up and into the Olympic break, with Pittsburgh currently focused on a three year deal. Penguins GM Ray Shero is truthful that the teams’ priority is to retain Gonchar and young defenseman Kris Letang but Pittsburgh’s top priority is to keep Sergei Gonchar, even if it might be at the expense of Letang. Sources tell me Pittsburgh’s cap projections for the next two seasons can withstand a Letang/GoncharRead More »