How twists of fate likely spared two players from joining the ill-fated Lokomotiv team…KHL’s other teams to help rebuild Lokomotiv’s roster…Fans remember former Panthers who perished in the Lokomotiv plane crash…Plane crash might make North American players leery of playing in Russia…A Canadian province hit hard by hockey tragedies…B. Richards, Hamhuis support Crosby’s call for head shot ban…Evgeni Nabokov prepares to join the Islanders…Todd Fedoruk’s battle with addiction…Second part of a two-part interview with Canadian hockey hero Paul Henderson.
WINDSOR STAR: Dave Waddell reports goalie Joey MacDonald was planning to play in the KHL this season, possibly with ill-fated Yaroslavl Lokomotiv, when he received and signed a new contract with the Detroit Red Wings.
SPORTSNET.CA: Mark Spector reports former NHL’er Daniel Tjarnqvist played for Lokomotiv the past two seasons, but his decison to play this season in Sweden probably saved his life.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: These stories put me in mind of the old saying about how someone can change their destiny simply by missing a bus.
ASSOCIATED PRESS (VIA PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE): reports the KHL’s other teams intend to help Lokomotiv restock its roster.
MIAMI HERALD: George Richards reports several Panthers fans set up a makeshift memorial outside the club’s arena honouring former Panthers Wade Belak, Ruslan Salei, Karlis Skrastins and Alexander Karpotsev. Belak died on August 31 in Toronto, while Salei, Skrastins and Karpotsev were killed in the Lokomotiv plane crash in Russia.
DETROIT NEWS: Ted Kulfan reports the tragic plane crash which all but wiped out the roster of KHL team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl might make former NHL’ers leery of continuing their careers in Russia.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Adam L. Jahns reports former Blackhawks defenseman Brent Sopel is excited about playing in the KHL this season, though he admitted he’ll miss his family, who’ll stay behind at their home in upstate New York while he’s playing in Russia.
WINNIPEG SUN: Paul Friesen reports former NHL and AHL forward Nigel Dawes is already playing in the KHL and said so far he’s had no worries about travelling by plane in Russia.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The crash might result in lesser numbers of former NHLers, especially North American born players, opting to continue their careers in the KHL, but ultimately the pull of playing, combined with earning good money, should ensure the KHL remains a viable option for those whose NHL careers are over.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL: Darrell Davis reports the province of Saskatchewan was hit hard by the recent deaths of several NHL players. Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien, Wade Belak and Brad McCrimmon all had ties to the province. Boogaard and Belak were born there, while McCrimmon and Rypien played minor hockey there.
VANCOUVER PROVINCE/THE GLOBE AND MAIL: reports Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis and NY Rangers center Brad Richards support the call from Penguins captain Sidney Crosby for a ban on head shots. Like Crosby, both have suffered concussions during their careers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hamhuis also said players need to remember to keep their heads up. I believe most do, but one can’t fight the natural human instinct to look down at times when an object, like a puck, is in ones skates, or following a pass to a teammate.
NEWSDAY: Katie Strang reports Evgeni Nabokov, who refused to report to the NY Islanders when they claimed him off waivers from Detroit last season, is looking forward to hitting the ice with the Isles in training camp. The Islanders “tolled” his contract forward to this season, which means they’ll own his rights for this season unless they trade or waive him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nabokov will have to compete for a job against Rick DiPietro, Al Montoya and Kevin Poulin. It’s been rumored the Isles might try to showcase him for a trade during pre-season.
ASSOCIATED PRESS (VIA USA TODAY): reports NHL enforcer Todd Fedoruk has opened up about his drug addiction which nearly derailed his playing career and could’ve killed him if he hadn’t sought treatment.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best of luck to Fedoruk in his efforts to stay clean and sober, and in his efforts to continue his playing career.
SPORTSNET.CA: has the second part of a two-part interview by Perry Lefko with Canadian hockey hero Paul Henderson.