At least one person is happy the NHL won’t be opening next season in Europe…An update on Alexander Radulov…Welcoming the KHL to America…Are the Penguins the team to beat in this year’s playoffs?…Capitals top prospect to remain in KHL…Erik Cole high-fives a ref…How the Western Conference playoff chase might play out.

BACKHAND SHELF:  Justin Bourne isn’t displeased at the NHL’s decision not to open next season in Europe.

PUCK DADDY: Dmitry Chesnokov reports Alexander Radulov wants to join the Nashville Predators, but his KHL team is dragging its feet on terminating his contract. Greg Wyshynsky, meanwhile, has footage of Montreal Canadiens forward Erik Cole high-fiving a ref after scoring a goal last night against Ottawa.

PUCK DRUNK LOVE: J.P. Quayle ponders the possibility of the KHL and NHL staging games in North America. Not a bad idea, kinda puts me in mind of those “Super Series” of the late-1970s/early-1980s, when visiting Russian teams would play some exhibition games against NHL clubs.

GREATEST HOCKEY LEGENDS: Joe Pelletier wonders if a Pittsburgh Penguins team with a healthy Sidney Crosby and a motivated Evgeni Malkin could be this year’s Cup favorites. Toss in a healthy Kris Letang and Jordan Staal, and I say, “Yes”.

RUSSIAN MACHINE NEVER BREAKS: Ian Oland reports top Capitals prospects Evgeny Kuznetsov will remain in the KHL for another year. Have to wonder if that means they re-sign Alexander Semin for one more year?

CANUCKS CORNER: Tom Benjamin explains the lack of  outrage from hockey fans over the seemingly incestuous relationship between the media and the teams they cover.

JEWELS FROM THE CROWN: “Quisp” looks at how things might play out down the stretch for the LA Kings, and the other teams jockeying for the final playoff spots in the Western Conference.