Andrei Kostitsyn Dealt to Nashville; Reunites with Brother

The Kostitsyn era in Montreal has officially come full circle as the second half of the Belorussian brothers was dealt earlier today in the first major deal of the NHL trade deadline. While the destination isn’t officially nicknamed the “City of Brotherly Love” Andrei Kostitsyn was dealt to the team which acquired his brother, Sergei, back in 2010.
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Habs Re-sign Andrei Markov

Andrei Markov’s tenure with the Montreal Canadiens will continue for another three seasoms as the Voskresensk native re-signed with the team last night. Having spent the last decade manning the Hab’s blue-line, Markov has been hampered by injuries of late as he missed the first 10 games of last season due to his injured knee, thenplayed just seven games before a second knee injury that required season-ending surgery. The deal, which will pay him $17.25-million over the course of three years is pretty large considering the chunk of games he has missed. However this shows the commitment the organization has towards a fan-favorite who also holds Canadian citizenship.
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Comrade of the Night-Semyon Varlamov


(courtesy of the AP)

After battling a nagging groin injury in the beginning of the season and being rotated in and out of the line-up with Michal Neuvirth it appears Semyon Varlamov is finally finding his game. Varly made 25 saves for his second shutout of the season against the Montreal Canadiens last night to give head coach Bruce Boudreau a mighty hard task on who to start for the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day.
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Markov to Price “Stay home, we dont need you here”

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(Courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America) )

As if the Montreal Canadiens didn’t have enough problems going for them amid a goalie dilemma and battling for a playoff spot it seems now that there is a locker-room split for which keeper should start amongst the players.

According to TEAM 990 radio in Montreal, defenseman and longest tenured player Andrei Markov told goalie Carey Price “If you are not going to play with heart, stay home. We don’t need you here” following the teams 4-3 overtime loss to St.Louis.

The radio also claims that half of the locker-room came to the defense of Price while the rest sided with Markov and possibly other goalie Jaroslav Halak. Price got the start tonight against Tampa Bay in which the Habs were shut-out 3-0.

With the trade dead-line weeks away it is possible that Halak or Price might be shipped out of Montreal since neither is satisfied as a back-up.

With this alleged rift brewing in the dressing room something must be done to unite a team which has gone up and down all season and finds itself in a eight team race for the final spot in the Eastern Conference.

Alexander Ovechkin named captain of Capitals

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(Courtesy of Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post )

Prior to Tuesday night’s game against the Montreal Canadiens, the Washington Capitals announced Alexander Ovechkin would be the team’s newest captain after the departure of Chris Clark to Columbus.

Ovechkin becomes the team’s 14th captain and the first European-born one and will most likely remain captain until his contract expires in 2020-21. He becomes the third-youngest captain at 24 in the NHL behind Jason Toews, 21 and Sidney Crosby,22.

Ovechkin becomes the seventh Russian-born player to captain an NHL team joining the likes of Alexei Yashin (Ottawa & Islanders), Alexei Kovalev (Montreal), Pavel Bure (Florida), Alexander Mogilny (Buffalo), Alexei Zhamnov (Chicago), and Ilya Kovalchuk (Atlanta).

Kovalchuk and Ovechkin are the only two active captains and both will be essential to Team Russia next month in Vancouver. Ovechkin was voted unanimously by his teammates and was greeted to applause when it was revealed.

Ovie was originally offered the captain’s ‘C’ three years ago but declined due to a poor grasp on the English language. Now three years later the face of the Capitals franchise is the voice of reason on and off the ice.

Below are videos of Ovechkin putting on the jersey for the first time followed by his post-game interview on the captaincy courtesy of the NHL and NHL.com.

Further below you will find a video to a famous Russian song that translates to captain, captain smile! which could not be more appropriate for the newest Capitals captain who has hockey’s most recognizable smile.

Comrade of the Night-Andrei Markov

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On Saturday night, Andrei Markov returned to the Montreal Canadiens line-up after being out for two months against the New York Islanders beating a 3-4 month prognosis. Markov wasted no time showing his worth by netting two power-play goals en route to a 3-0 win.

Markov got on the board early in the first period for his first goal of the year and would later tally once again on the man advantage midway through the second. He finished with over 20 minutes of ice-time and his return will mean both Montreal’s and Team Russia’s blue-lines can now fire on all cylinders.

Congratulations to Andrei on his return and his first-time COTN nod.
Below are both of Markov’s goals courtesy as always of the NHL and NHL.com

Andrei Markov out for 3-4 months

markov(courtesy of The Hockey News)

Andrei Markov’s 2009-10 season lasted only two and a half periods last night against the Toronto Maple Leafs as the veteran defenseman left the game after having his ankle tendon torn following a collision with goalie Carey Price’s skate.

Markov had surgery following the game in Toronto and is expected to miss 3-4 months. While it’s a major loss for the Montreal Canadiens, it’s possibly a bigger loss for Team Russia who’s blue line is their Achilles heel. With only Sergei Gonchar as their top NHL d-man it looks like most of the help will be brought in from the KHL who already outnumber the NHLer’s 10 to 4.

Last season Markov finished with 12 goals and 52 assists, and played in his second consecutive all-star game. Markov is in his final year of a 4-year contract.

Kovalev Joins Sens for two years, $10 million

article_25080_2(courtesy of The Hockey News)

There seems to be some unwritten code between NHL GM’s that no business can be done during the July 4th holiday and so it took the Ottawa Senators just hours to announce their first big signing of the off-season by nabbing Alexei Vyacheslavich Kovalev on Monday.

The one they call Kovy inked a two-year deal worth $10 million after being with the Montreal Canadiens since 2004. The 36-year-old Togliatti native will be entering his 17th NHL season with just his fourth club.

Kovalev who was the captain and MVP of the All-Star game in Montreal last year has notched 394 goals and 547 assists in 1151 NHL games. He will look to feature in Russia’s Olympic squad in 2010 having donned the national jersey since 1992.

It will be interesting to see if the Sens pick up anyone else to help Kovalev produce with the imminent departure of Dany Heatley. He will join fellow countrymen Anton Volchenkov and possibly Ilya Zubov.

Habs offer Kovalev extension and captaincy

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According to Sovietsky Sport, Montreal Canadiens winger Alexei Kovalev has been offered a contract extension as well as the teams captaincy siting that long time captain Saku Koivu plans to leave. The offer is around $6 to $7.5 million. The deal is said to be for one year.

The paper adds that Kovalev wants to remain with the Canadiens and negotiations with the team would continue when he returns from vacation. This would be the first time in 9 years that someone else would wear the ‘C’ on their Habs sweater.

A look at the first round of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs (Eastern Conference)

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The NHL playoffs are all set and ready with mouth-watering match up’s for hockey fans to enjoy. Here is a look at the first round match-ups

Eastern Conference

(1) Boston Bruins vs (8) Montreal Canadiens

A rematch from last year with the teams in opposite seeds the Habs enter this series, losers of four of their last five and have been lucky to survive the titanic that was their season. Sub par goal tending and a long list of players on the injured list were keys to their demise. What’s worse is that the season series was all Bruins who went 5-1 winning the last 5 games outscoring the Habs 20-9. This series does not look good for Les Canadiens who will be lucky to win one game. Let’s hope for the sake of the city of Montreal that it’s in Boston so the series sees no riots this time. Boston in 5.

(2) Washington Capitals vs (7) New York Rangers

The second best power play meets the best penalty kill as the Capitals led by the Art Ross Trophy holder Alexander Ovechkin take on a recently confident Rangers team. The season series doesn’t favor the Rangers who went 1-3 versus the Caps. However they are coming off back to back wins over the rival Philadelphia Flyers led by goal keeper Henrik Lundqvist. The Swede could be the difference in the series as Jose Theodore doesn’t have a winning record in the NHL’s second season. However he does have a Vezina and Hart trophy to his credit which can not be said for Lundqvist. The Capitals have too much offense for the Rangers and enough depth for the long haul. Capitals in 6.

(3) New Jersey Devils vs (6) Carolina Hurricanes

Most of the hockey world did not expect the Devils to compete without Martin Brodeur sidelined for 3 months. Now the Devils head into the playoffs after capturing their 8th division title in 12 years. They face a red hot Carolina team who had won 9 straight before two straight losses to round out the season. The latest coming to the Devils 3-2 at New Jersey. Carolina won the series however 3-1.

This will be the fourth postseason series between the teams. Carolina defeated the Devils in five games in their most-recent meeting in the 2006 Eastern Conference Semifinals. The team that won each of the three previous series between the teams went on to represent the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup Finals. Devils in 6.

(4) Pittsburgh Penguins vs (5) Philadelphia Flyers

The battle of Pennsylvania continues into the playoffs. A rematch of last years conference finals this could be one of the better match ups in the first round. Evgeni Malkin can be the difference maker against a rather untested keeper in Martin Biron. However the Flyers have plenty of fire in Jeff Carter who finished second in the league in goals. The Penguins won the series 4-2 but this one could go either way. Pittsburgh in 7.