You Can Play founder opposes Sochi Olympics boycott, plus the latest on Jaroslav Halak, Martin Erat, Ryan Smyth and more.
USA TODAY: You Can Play founder Patrick Burke is again boycotting the Sochi Olympics to protest Russia’s anti-gay laws, believing Olympians can take a more meaningful stand by participating in those Games. He’s informed Hockey Canada and USA Hockey he’s available to talk with players regarding what’s happening in Russia, encouraging them to voice their displeasure over Russia’s anti-gay laws.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Russian government is setting itself up for potential embarrassment at the Sochi Games over their hate laws. With six months to go until those Games, the protests against those draconian laws will only grow, especially among athletes attending those games. Henrik Zetterberg and Victor Hedman have already spoken out, and I daresay we’ll hear from more NHL Olympians in the coming weeks.
STLTODAY.COM: Rather than spend the off-season in his native Slovakia, Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak instead stayed in St. Louis to work out one-on-one with the club’s strength and conditioning coach.
CSN WASHINGTON: The Capitals will be looking for more this season from Martin Erat, whom they acquired from the Nashville Predators at last season’s trade deadline. Knee and elbow injuries subsequently hampered his performance. It’s expected Erat will play on left wing this coming season alongside center Brooks Laich and right wing Troy Brouwer.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples speculates which line Oilers veteran Ryan Smyth will play this season (Third? Fourth?) and how much ice time he’ll get.
SPORTSNET.CA: Leo Komarov hopes to return to the NHL after this season. Komarov is currently a restricted free agent whose rights belong to the Toronto Maple Leafs, but he decided to sign with the KHL’s Dynamo Moscow for this season. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent next summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That could be a smart move by Komarov, as the NHL salary cap could rebound to $70 million next season, meaning more teams will have more cap space and a willingness to spend next summer.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: Former NHL’er Ian Laperriere shook off the after-effects of a concussion to successfully complete his first Ironman triathlon.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Laperriere for achieving this goal.