The KHL’s Chinese expansion team looks like it will have awesome logo

Jared Clinton
Red Star Kunlun's reported logo (via Twitter)

Red Star Kunlun is set to become the first Chinese team in a major professional league when they begin play in the KHL next season, but little is known about the club.

The roster, coaching staff and even the import rules are seemingly still in the stage of being worked out, and the same can be said for what the team will look like, aesthetically, when they take the ice. Though it may be one of the least important aspects of, you know, actually running a successful team, Red Star is starting to cut it close with the KHL campaign slated to begin in roughly two and a half months.

According to a leaked logo, though, Kunlun may have their logo and team colors in place, and if the reported emblem does happen to be the franchise’s actual mark, it could stand as one of the league’s best. Read more

Russia keeping Voynov on World Cup roster, compare defenseman to Heatley

Jared Clinton
Slava Voynov (Photo by Juan Ocampo/NHLI via Getty Images)

The NHL has made it clear that Slava Voynov’s suspension from the league makes him unable to compete at the World Cup of Hockey, but the Russian Hockey Federation isn’t backing down and says the Russian defenseman should be allowed to play regardless of his suspension.

Vice president of the RHF, Roman Rotenberg, said that Russia does not plan on replacing Voynov ahead of the tournament and that the expectation is that the defenseman will be granted permission to play. According to Rotenberg, the Russian team’s lawyers have been informed and have “prepared an opinion on the situation.”

“There are a variety of use cases, such as with Dany Heatley…and Dennis Rodman in the NBA, when a person has already been punished, and then he was allowed to participate in sports competitions. Voynov has already paid the (price),” Rotenberg said, via AllSport.ru. “The situation with Dany Heatley was much worse. He had a Canadian passport (the incident occurred in the United States, and sanctions could be more severe) but (he was forgiven) and allowed to participate in the (2004) World Cup.” Read more

Nikita Filatov says he left Senators due to financial troubles, regrets not listening to Ken Hitchcock

Jared Clinton
Nikita Filatov (G Fiume/Getty Images)

Here’s a name some will remember and one that some, namely Blue Jackets fans, will have tried to forget: Nikita Filatov.

Filatov, 26, last played in the NHL during the 2011-12 season as a member of the Ottawa Senators when he was a 21-year-old, but his time with the Senators, who acquired him for a third-round pick, was incredibly unsuccessful and largely forgettable.

Early in Filatov’s tenure with the Senators he was demoted to the AHL and spent the next two months of the campaign bouncing between the AHL and NHL before being granted a loan to the KHL’s CSKA Moscow by early December. After only nine games and less than half a season, the once highly touted prospect flamed out of Ottawa quickly.

Filatov hasn’t been back in the NHL or AHL since his time with the Senators, and in an interview with Sport-Express.ru’s Alexei Shevchenko, the former NHLer talked about his disappointing time in the NHL and said financial troubles played a part in him leaving North America. Though Filatov didn’t offer up numbers, he said he couldn’t repay his debts by playing in the AHL. Read more

Sabres goaltender Makarov leaves for Russia, wants to prove himself in KHL

Jared Clinton
Andrey Makarov (Tom Brenner/ Getty Images)

In 2014-15, goaltender Andrey Makarov seemed to prove he could be an asset for the Buffalo Sabres. He played 39 games for the AHL’s Rochester Americans, turned in a 16-18-0 record and while his save percentage numbers may have been lacking, the 6-foot-2 netminder looked like he could be at the very least a future AHL starter.

If that’s to be the case, though, it’s going to start with Makarov proving his worth in the KHL. And when he comes back, it doesn’t sound as though he’s going to be playing with the Sabres. In an interview with Sport-Express.ru, Makarov seemed incredibly frustrated with his lack of playing time with the Americans this past season even though he was, statistically, the strongest goaltender Rochester had.

In 22 games during the 2015-16 campaign, Makarov, 23, posted a 9-9-2 record, one shutout, a 2.83 goals-against average and .916 save percentage. Neither Natahan Lieuwen or Linus Ullmark matched those numbers, with Ullmark having a bloated GAA above 3.00 and both of Makarov’s goaltending counterparts boasting SPs below .910. Read more

Report: Alexander Radulov seeking $7.5-million per season as free agent

Jared Clinton
Alexander Radulov (Sergey Mihailicenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Regardless of what anyone believes about Alexander Radulov away from the rink, there’s no way to deny he’s an immensely talented offensive player that has the potential to change a game. Even with that said, his free agency ask is certain to make teams scoff.

During TSN’s Insider Trading segment, Darren Dreger reported that teams have been kicking the tires on Radulov, who is set to make his NHL return after four seasons in the KHL with CSKA Moscow. The Red Wings being one of the clubs who has been in pursuit of Radulov, but Detroit GM Ken Holland and Radulov may be worlds apart when it comes to the salary he’ll earn in 2015-16.

“The belief is the Red Wings are comfortable with a one-year deal around $4 million,” Dreger said. “But a couple of NHL sources have indicated he wants two years at $7.5 million per (season).”

No, that’s not a typo, and don’t adjust your monitor. Radulov has reportedly asked for a two-year, $15-million deal. Per CapFriendly, that would put Radulov in a tie for the 19th largest cap hit in the NHL next season, matching the annual salary of Jason Spezza, Vladimir Tarasenko, Ryan O’Reilly and the (likely departing) Pavel Datsyuk. Read more

Blues GM Armstrong has talked with Sobotka’s agent, would ‘love’ center back

Jared Clinton
Vladimir Sobotka (Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

Around this time last year, Vladimir Sobotka came close to returning to the St. Louis Blues, but in the end the Czech center decided to spend at least one more campaign in the KHL. But with the Blues’ season over and Sobotka having an apparent window to return to the NHL, it looks as though he could actually make the jump back to North America this summer.

During an end of season press conference, which was used in part to announce a one-year contract extension for coach Ken Hitchcock, Blues GM Doug Armstrong said that he has been in consistent contact with Sobotka’s agent over the past two seasons to “find out what’s going on.” And Armstrong, who said he thinks Sobotka will be back, sounds confident the 28-year-old pivot will be wearing a Blues uniform next season.

“I thought he was going to come back — a couple times during the season, we had conversations, he was getting himself out of his KHL deal, they (asked) me if we had room for him and I said we’d make room for him,” Armstrong said. “For whatever reason, it just didn’t work out…I’ve never read his KHL contract. I’ve never seen it. I don’t know what the window is. I’m going on reports that he has a window. If he exercises the window, he’ll be a St. Louis Blue. I’d love to have him back.” Read more

Russia attempting to negotiate with NHL in hopes Voynov can play at World Cup

Jared Clinton
Slava Voynov (Dave Sandford/NHL)

Commissioner Gary Bettman made it clear Monday that former Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov, who was suspended indefinitely by the league following a domestic violence charge, was ineligible to play at the World Cup, but the Russian Hockey Federation is holding out hope the NHL will change its mind.

Russian news outlet TASS reported Tuesday that the RHF “maintains close dialog” with the NHL regarding Voynov’s eligibility and the Russians are hoping that Voynov will be permitted to play at the September tournament. The RHF went so far as to say they’re “holding negotiations” with the league, and IIHF president Rene Fasel has been included in the talks.

“The Russian Ice Hockey Federation hopes that the organizers of the international competition will make a positive decision on the issue and the defender will be allowed to be included in the roster of the Russian national team,” the RHF told TASS. Read more