Game recaps, plus updates on Henrik Zetterberg, Linus Omark, Johan Hedberg, a possible NHL expansion to Seattle and more.
NHL.COM: Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and Ilya Kovalchuk were among the goal scorers as Russia downed Slovenia 5-2 in their opening game of the Olympic men’s ice hockey tournament.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A good start for the host country in this tournament, though the Russians allowed Slovenia back into the game in the second period after dominating the first. Two unanswered goals by the Russians in the third clinched their victory.
NHL.COM: Paul Stastny scored twice while Phil Kessel had a three-point game as the United States crushed Slovakia 7-1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A strong start for the Americans in their opening game in this tournament. The Slovakians briefly made a game of it early in the second period by making it a 1-1 tie until the Americans opened the floodgates with six unanswered second period goals.
NHL.COM: The Czech Republic rebounded from their tournament-opening 4-2 loss to Sweden by doubling up Latvia 4-2. Jaromir Jagr and Marek Zidlicky scored their second goals of the tournament.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It wasn’t an easy win for the Czechs, as at one point the game was tied at 2 before Zidlicky and Jakub Voracek secured the win with unanswered goals in the second period.
NOTE: Game recaps and news on Canada’s men’s team can be found in “Canadian Corner”.
CBC.CA: Sweden’s captain Henrik Zetterberg has suffered a herniated disc and is out of the tournament.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Another significant blow for the Swedes, as Henrik Sedin is also sidelined by injury. The Swedes cannot bring in a replacement player as the 12 team rosters are now officially locked in for the tournament.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres forward Linus Omark is refusing to report to the minors after clearing waivers. Omark has previously said he prefers to play in his home country of Sweden than in the minors. The Sabres would have to give their consent and reassign him to a Swedish team.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think we’ve seen the last of Linus Omark in the NHL.
NORTHJERSEY.COM: Johan Hedberg has signed a professional tryout contract with the New Jersey Devils AHL affiliate in Albany as their second goalie while Kevin Kincaid recovers from a groin strain.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m sure some folks will look at this as the first step toward the Devils trading Martin Brodeur and calling up Hedberg as Cory Schneider’s backup. Because the Devils bought out his contract last summer, he cannot play for them this season. He is allowed to play for their minor league club.
SUN-SENTINEL.COM: The money-losing Florida Panthers are seeking financial assistance from Broward County via tourism taxes. County officials believe they’re seeking too much but agree the club should receive some assistance.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers new owner Vinnie Viola hasn’t threatened to move the team, but as Panthers CEO Michael Yormark observed, Viola cannot float annual losses of $20-$30 million forever. A threat of relocation, either overt or subtle, could be used to squeeze the county for more money.
SEATTLE TIMES: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly says Seattle is an intriguing market from the league’s perspective.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Daly didn’t commit to the NHL putting a franchise in Seattle via relocation or expansion. Still, it’s safe to say Seattle remains a viable option for either possibility.