Three Russians Drafted in First Round of 2012 NHL Draft

(courtesy of Getty)

For the first time since 2004, three Russians were selected in the first round of Friday’s NHL Draft in Pittsburgh. Much speculation was made beforehand as to whether the Edmonton Oilers would trade their first pick having picked first the past two years. Any suspicion was quickly put to rest when GM Steve Tambellini announced 18-year-old Nail Yakupov’s name making him the third Russian to ever be picked first overall in draft history.
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Evgeni Nabokov Leaves KHL’s SKA St.Petersburg, Where Will He Land?


(courtesy of ALEXANDER DEMIANCHUK/REUTERS)

It appears Evgeni Nabokov’s stint back in the motherland is over as the four-year $24 million contract has been terminated by SKA St.Petersburg earlier today. Nabokov signed the contract with the intent of finishing up his career back in his adopted home country after being cut loose by the San Jose Sharks due to cap limitations. The 35-year-old netminder was the backbone to the only team he knew in the NHL and holds every major record for goalies in team history.
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Comrade of the night-Semyon Varlamov

90981305RW010_CAPI_CANA(Courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

On a night when Alexander Ovechkin returned to the Washington Capitals line-up following his first career suspension, keeper Semyon Varlamov posted his second shutout of the season against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Varly stopped all 26 shots to improve his record to 12-1-2 as the 21-year-old Samara native propelled the Caps over their division rivals for the 12th consecutive time. If he hopes of cracking the Russian Olympic squad in February, Varlamov has some ground to make up to catch Evgeni Nabokov and Ilya Bryzgalov who have 16 and 17 wins respectively.

Congrats to Varly for his first COTN nod this year. Here are his two best saves of the night courtesy as always of the NHL and NHL.com

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Pavel Datsyuk goes for fourpeat of Lady Byng

datsy

On Friday the NHL released the nomination for the Lady Byng Award. This years nominees are Zach Parise of New Jersey, Martin St. Louis of Tampa Bay, and Pavel Datsyuk (above with Byng and Selke awards) of Detroit. Datsyuk will be going for his fourth straight Byng having won it since 2005-06.

The trophy is awarded to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability. The trophy winner will be announced on June 18, 2009 at the NHL Awards ceremony in Las Vegas.

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