The latest on Pavel Datsyuk, Claude Giroux, Evgeni Malkin, Alexander Ovechkin, Lubomir Visnovsky, and more.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Pavel Datsyuk has returned from the KHL and rejoined the Red Wings, but with his contract expiring after next season, one wonders for how long he’ll remain with the Wings and the NHL.

Could Malkin return to the KHL one day?

Could Malkin return to the KHL one day?

PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW: Evgeni Malkin enjoyed his stint in the KHL during the lockout, but is happy to be back with the Penguins. Like Datsyuk, his contract expires after next season, raising concerns over the Penguins ability to re-sign him, as well as the possibility he might return to the KHL.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The KHL is becoming a more viable option for Russian players. If a major Russian superstar like Malkin or Datsyuk were to “jump” to the KHL, it would have the same impact upon the NHL as when Bobby Hull defected to the WHA in 1972, perhaps more so, as the Russian league, despite its faults, continues to improve and grow. The lure of home is strong for Russian players.

PHILLY.COM: The Flyers have named Claude Giroux their new captain.

WASHINGTON POST: Alexander Ovechkin and Marcus Johansson escaped injury after the pair collided heavily near center ice during a Capitals practice yesterday.

PUCK DADDY: The KHL has rejected Lubomir Visnovsky’s request to sign a contract with HC Slovan for the remainder of the season until his current conflict with the NY Islanders is resolved.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like the KHL isn’t willing to test its agreement with the NHL not to poach each other’s players who are under existing contracts.

CSNNE.COM: Tuuka Rask’s sloppy performance during the Boston Bruins 7-5 scrimmage loss to its Providence AHL farm team  suggests he has more work to do if he’s to fill the shoes of the departed Tim Thomas.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a scrimmage, not the real thing, and from my understanding, Rask wasn’t the only Bruin who played poorly. These guys haven’t played together since last spring so they’re going to be rusty. I’d hold off my concern over Rask until we’ve see how he does in the early weeks of the upcoming season.

NJ.COM: It appears Bryce Salvador will be named the new captain of the New Jersey Devils.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks are hoping forward Viktor Stalberg might be the answer to their power-play woes.

ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Phoenix Coyotes forward Raffi Torres is changing his style after receiving a 25-game suspension (later reduced to 21 games) for a blindside hit on Chicago’s Marian Hossa during last year’s playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Torres has no choice. One more blindside hit could cost him his NHL career. He’d be wise to follow the example set by Pittsburgh Penguins forward Matt Cooke, a former cheapshot artist who cleaned up his game.

ST. LOUIS BLUES: have invited free agent defenseman Colin White to training camp for a tryout. The Blues also announced the signing of GM Doug Armstrong to a five-year contract extension. Torres can return to action by February 2.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Some Kings fans are surprised by the high ticket prices the club is charging for its season opener, but the game is sold out.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before anyone accuses the Kings of “taking advantage of their fans”, remember that a team charges what it believes its market will bear. Evidently, their market has no problem with $155.00 and up for their season-opener.

DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche are pushing deals and perks in hopes of wooing back fans lost to the NHL lockout.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars will hold a press conference on Thursday announcing the hiring of Mike Modano, Marty Turco and Mark Recchi. Modano and Turco could be used in a marketing capacity, while Recchi could have an advisory role with the front office.

SAN JOSE SHARKS: yesterday observed the passing of team founder George Gund III, 75, after a long battle with cancer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to the Gund family.