• Report: Capitals, Evgeny Kuznetsov closing in on bridge contract

    Jared Clinton
    Evgeny Kuznetsov (Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)

    When the names of restricted free agents filing for arbitration was released Sunday, there were two Washington Capitals listed: Marcus Johansson and Braden Holtby. Missing from the list, however, was Evgeny Kuznetsov, as it appears the Capitals and the 23-year-old center are close to a deal.

    According to a report from The Washington Post’s Alex Prewitt, Kuznetsov’s agent, Maxim Molliver, says the Capitals are working towards a two- or three-year contract extension that would keep Kuznetsov in Washington. A short-term deal of that length means Kuznetsov would remain an RFA upon completion of the contract.

    “I think we have a good dialogue,” Molliver told Prewitt. “We’re motivated to get it done. We’re having good conversations with the Caps.”

    Reportedly, the deal could be worth somewhere in the $3 million range per season. Read more

  • Want to train like an NHLer? Beat the @#$% out of your body first

    Ronnie Shuker
    Tyler Seguin & Matt Nichol.

    Imagine four weeks of acupuncture, saunas and hot tubs. There are yoga, Pilates, meditation and tai chi sessions, too. And don’t forget the massage therapists, stretch therapists and chiropractors at your disposal. Oh yeah, and sleep, lots of sleep. It’s mandatory.

    Sounds like a blissful all-inclusive vacation, doesn’t it? Except there’s no mile-long white-sand beach or five-star hotel. No sun tanning, sipping margaritas or napping on lounge chairs. Just a gym and a long summer of training ahead.

    When NHLers start training in the off-season, they don’t begin by pounding out squats, deadlifts and bench presses. Heck, they usually won’t lift anything for three or four weeks. After eight months or more of hockey, they’re so beat up that strength and conditioning coaches like Matt Nichol and Ben Prentiss spend up to a month just rebuilding their bodies. All those massages, yoga sessions and therapists are just part of the initial process of taking these broken-down jalopies and turning them into finely tuned machines again.

    Read more

  • Maple Leafs sign Nazem Kadri to one-year, $4.1 million contract

    Jared Clinton
    Nazem Kadri (Andy Marlin/Getty Images)

    For Nazem Kadri, the 2015-16 season could be the biggest of his career. If nothing else, the pressure to perform will certainly be there.

    Sunday afternoon, the Toronto Maple Leafs announced they have signed the 24-year-old center to a one-year, $4.1 million deal that will keep him in blue and white next season. But after a 2014-15 campaign and off-season in which Kadri’s name had been mentioned in trade talks and potential rebuilding of the club, the one-year contract is significant in that it could mean it might be Kadri’s last deal as a Maple Leaf.

    Kadri was a restricted free agent heading into this off-season and signing the one-year deal helps the Maple Leafs and their young, potential star center avoid lengthy and possibly tenuous contract talks. It also shows the Maple Leafs are willing to give Kadri at least one more shot at becoming the player Toronto has hoped he would become. Read more

  • Importance of billets to NHL prospects can’t be understated

    The Hockey News
    Connor McDavid and his billet family, the Cataldes. (Matt Mead Photography)

    By Joshua Kloke

    With the end of another hockey year, most fans fret over their team’s shortcomings and begin the long wait for next season.

    Yet the end impacts some on a much more personal level than others: fans such as Lori Bowman, longtime billet for the OHL’s Guelph Storm. Bowman and her husband, Blair, open their house at the start of every season to young Storm players who need the comforts of home away from home and the support to endure the demands of junior hockey.

    Eventually though, like clockwork, the snow melts, the season ends and players return home. And it never gets any easier for Bowman. “It is heartwrenching,” she said. “The house feels empty.” Read more

  • Meet your 2019 Stanley Cup champs…the Winnipeg Jets

    Ken Campbell
    Jets

    All right, let’s get one thing out of the way. It gets cold in Winnipeg. Ten months of winter and two months of bad skating. Heh-heh. The day this piece was written in mid-February, it was forecasted to go down to minus-38. Don’t bother with the Celsius to Fahrenheit calculations. When it’s that cold, they’re pretty much the same.

    There are bigger cities in the NHL (about 25 of them) that play in bigger arenas (about 29). There are other places where a star can slide right under the radar if he wants. There are places with lower taxes and places where your Bentley won’t get wrecked by road salt. There are places with a few more entertainment options. Read more

  • Survey says…sight matters! Visor usage continues big climb

    The Hockey News
    Jordan & Eric Staal (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

    By Rachel Villari

    An historically sharp rise in visor users suggests the NHL and the NHLPA’s decision to grandfather-in face shields may be doing the league some good.

    In the past year alone, visor wearers have grown five percent, with all but four teams increasing in usage. Toronto, Calgary, Columbus, Chicago, Vancouver and Carolina all increased over 10 percent each.

    Of the 640 players league-wide with more than 20 games this season, 549 of them wear visors. The Canes were tops in eye safety with all 20 of their eligible players. Read more

  • The Russian NHL trailblazer you’ve probably never heard of

    Viktor Khulatev (THN Archives)

    By Denis Gibbons

    If all Soviet players who died before their time or under tragic circumstances had been spared, the statistical history of hockey would have to be rewritten.

    Evgeny Belosheikin, named best goalie at the 1986 World Junior Championship, took his own life after battling the bottle. Anatoly Fetisov, the younger brother of legendary national team captain Slava Fetisov and a prime prospect for the 1985 draft, was killed in a car accident. New York Rangers prospect Alexei Cherepanov died from a heart ailment during a game in 2008.

    Perhaps the best talent of all, Viktor Khatulev, was found dead at the age of 39 in 1994. It’s believed he was murdered, but the case was never solved. Read more