Well that put the cat firmly amongst the proverbial pigeons of the NHL brass, right? And I'm not talking about Team Europe's astonishing rise to a 2-0 position. Nor am I talking about Team North America losing to Team Russia. It's Aaron Ekblad and his unfortunate concussion. This tournament was meant to showcase the very best talent the league has to offer, and instead has resulted in what is being called a 'mild' concussion. I cannot stress this enough: there is no such thing as a 'mild' concussion. All concussions are serious. We can only hope that he makes a quick recovery - the last thing the NHL needs is one of its most talented young players sidelined for the medium-long term with a concussion. And it's an awful way to live, so best wishes to Aaron Ekblad. Get well soon.
Right, on to more cheerier stuff!
- Team Europe are the team to beat at the World Cup of Hockey, it would appear. Last night they pipped Team Czech Republic 3-2 in OT, with that main again - Leon Draisatil - scoring the winner. That kid is clutch - if only his NHL team could make the playoffs... [WCoH]
- As I tell my wife constantly, there's no substitute for experience. Team Russia showed that last night, holding off Team North America for a 4-3 win. I still want Nikita Kucherov to be offer sheeted by Benning, I don't care if it upsets the other 30 GMs. The guy plays great hockey. [WCoH]
- It does sound worrying for Ekblad. If I'm Florida, I'm sending a coach with blacked out window to collect the kid, take him home, and get him fixed up before the season starts. [Sportsnet]
- NM's resident Young Star gmonk33 gives you a recap on last night's final game of the Young Stars tournament. [Nucks Misconduct]
- Botch brings you his three things to be happy about after the loss. [Province]
- LEAGUE BIAS ALERT: Today's NHL.com fantasy piece is on 'bargains' - bargains such as Matt Duchene (30 goals last season), Ryan Johansen (60pts), Ryan O'Reilly (60pts in 71 games), Mike Hoffman (59pts), and...HENRIK SEDIN! The league finally remembered us!!!!! Oh, then the first sentence states:
The Canucks have one of the weakest rosters in the League on paper
...so I'm back to hating NHL.com. [NHL]
- Jim Benning has publicly stated that Ryan Miller is our #1 goalie. This, while Jacob Markstrom plays exceedingly well for Team Sweden, and Thatcher Demko is playing exceedingly well at the Young Stars tourney. Is Benning for real? Part of me wants to believe he's pumping Miller's tires ahead of the trade deadline, but if he's the starter all that time, I'm going to be miserable. [NHL]
- Jack Skille joins Tuomo Ruutu, James Sheppard and Kevin Carr as the latest PTO invite by the Canucks. I can't see any of them sticking. [TSN]
- Valeri Nichushkin appears to be leaving the Dallas Stars and signing in the KHL, as was foretold when he was drafted. NHL teams need to get wise: play your Russian kids in the top 6, or they will go back home. Sadly for Nichushkin, he didn't deliver when the Stars did just that, so off to the Motherland he toddles. One of our rivals is now weakened! [Dallas Morning News]
- Kevin Shattenkirk watched the draft expecting to hear his name being traded. We were all surprised it didn't happen Kevin. [The Score]
- The Oilers have been linked with the $5m man, Kris Russell. According to The Hockey Writers, this could work under two conditions. I can only assume that those conditions are 1) he takes league minimum, and 2) he's the 8th D. [Hockey Writers]
- In amazing news, something not thought possible in fact: Las Vegas has sold all 16,000 season tickets. Yes, 16,000 people have bought season tickets. That's something else. Bravo! [CBS]
Question of the day: Should Mike Gillis have drafted Valeri Nichushkin instead of Bo Horvat?