The NHL Scouting Combine is underway, with all of its half-naked teenagers having tubes stuffed in their mouth and people in white coats probing them with instruments. This year, with so many Russians and/or Russian-descent prospects near the top of the draft, "The Russian Question" is top of mind.
Great article on that from the CP, in which Nail Yakupov comes off very well and Don Maloney comes off like your grumpy uncle:
"...you never get them to buy in," said Maloney. "There's always that little option that when you face some adversity, it's easier just to say 'nyet' and go in the other direction (to the KHL) instead of making it work. You have that out."
To be fair, Maloney's had his own rough Russian experience with Viktor Tikhonov, the son of the legendary Russian coach, who opted to return to the KHL on multiple occasions rather than keep on with AHL reassignment by Maloney's Coyotes.
But tell me Maloney wouldn't consider "that out" or hesitate to "buy in" if, while pursuing his career in Siberia, one stroke of the pen could knock his salary down by 90% and send him to a smaller town while offers for outright raises were on the table back in the comfort of home.
Oh, also: In the foreign land, people constantly accuse your kind of being "soft" and "only in it for the money" while the natives are revered as good hard-working tundra boys.
Hot Islanders Link Action
- The Islanders signed Blair Riley, last season's PTO feel-good story, to a two-way, one-year NHL contract. More on him later. Trusty Fornabaio with a brief here.
- Casey Cizikas was honored by his hometown again.
- Doug Weight with a good turn on the Marek vs. Wyshynski podcast (June 1). Speaking of Weight, I do not know this woman.
- 15 facts about the Islanders inaugural season, including: The New York Times protested the lack of a suitable pressbox and threatened to not cover Isles games.
- How Shawinigan's Memorial Cup run was aided by ex-Lewiston kids like Kirill Kabanov.
Hockey's Future ranks the Isles system 7th. Then you get to some of the weird (and brief) descriptions of the system's weaknesses and wonder what monkey did the research (emphasis mine):
The Isles have had difficulty convincing many of their young prospects such as Anton Klementyev, Kirill Petrov, and Mikko Koskinen to play North American minor-league hockey. Others, such as Ty Wishart, Nino Niederreiter, or Jason Clark have hit snags in their development. The organization has had difficulty in the past signing some of their NCAA prospects as well.
So NCAA boys Okposo, Nelson, Donovan and Ness are in the fold, but we're worried about Gregoire and Kessel The Lesser?
General Hockey is Drafty in June
- Combine video clips: 1-on-1 with Scott Howson, and with Matt Dumba, who has a sports pscyh.
- More draft: All about the "big swed forsb," as he is sometimes known in these parts (click for the impressionist draft poetry, stay for the comments).
- Steve Tambellini pays lip service to dealing the #1 pick.
- It appears Brendan Ranford will re-enter the draft after not inking a deal with the Flyers. Here are his stats.
- As the Blues have signed Ty Rattie, you may now begin the watch on another Winterhawk power forward not named Nino Niederreiter.
Assaults, Departures, Theories
- That's one BU assault charge dropped: BU’s Nicastro has rape charges dropped, says he’s ‘happy it’s done’ :: USCHO.com :: U.S. College Hockey Online
- And that's one BU player moving on: Clendening leaves Boston University for NHL’s Blackhawks
- The Canes are collecting Sutters.
- The Thomases are avoiding everything.
- A theoretical look at the 2012-13 salary cap under a 50/50 revenue split (instead of 57 percent to the players).
- And a look into what Fehr might be looking at for CBA accounting.
- In which Willie Mitchell compares severe concussion symptoms to autism.
- Great, great name. Shame about his team though.
Finally, holy cow: Phill Hartman and Atari Ice Hockey ad (h/t Harrisson Mooney):
Oh, also: The Stanley Cup final resumes tonight. Go hockey.