Much like a lot of things that happen in Russia, we were equally confused and entertained when we checked out the results of the first ever KHL draft held yesterday. They billed this as a 17-year old draft but it doesn't look like a lot of 17-year olds were picked as pretty much all the good young Russian players were exempt from the draft as they're already in the KHL's youth system. Beyond that, a few things caught our eye... Cliff Fletcher must be advising a few teams over there as two teams with top 10 picks just flat out refused to select anyone???... on the flipside a few teams seemed to get into this draft thing as SKA loaded up with four 1st rounders and Atlant picked 13 times in a four round draft! No real highlights but the Leafs better be beware as two of their prospects, Mikhail Stefanovich (2nd overall) and Jiri Tlusty (2nd round to Atlant, who else?), were taken and Taylor Hall must be feeling what Alexei Cherepanov went through at the NHL draft as he had to wait until pick #89 to hear his name called.
The Sabres signed their 6th round pick from 2007, Paul Byron, to an entry level deal. Byron has put up some points in the Q and Buffalo has a real fetish for small players but this is getting a little ridiculous... Byron's listed at 5'8" and 142 pounds! Kudos to the kid for getting a contract but we don't see him making it to the NHL.
We mentioned the Jacques Martin hiring in Montreal yesterday... we went back and did a little more digging into Jackie's record and his offense was not as bad as we had remembered... his playoff record was worse than we remembered but his offense, in Ottawa at least, was pretty decent. Now he had some good talent there so that's not surprising and he was never able to replicate that while in Florida so we're sticking to our belief that this is a downgrade for fantasy hockey GMs who own Habs but an upgrade for Carey Price owners.
Joe Nieuwendyk was officially named Stars GM yesterday and apparently he didn't learn anything from his time apprenticing under Cliff Fletcher as he didn't use any Cliffisms like "draft schmaft" once and he actually said that he wants to rebuild the Stars through the draft. You can bet that his first duty as GM was to give ole Cliffy a call to see what draft picks Cliff's trying to get rid of today... luckily Burke probably has Cliff in a straight-jacket until after the Draft.
No Pavel Datsyuk tonight.
What's distracting us today? When Geno Malkin blew a gasket in Game #2 and tried to give Henrik Zetterberg a few haymakers it got us thinking about stars fighting other stars.
While Malkin and Zetterberg did better than Wayne Gretzky, they aren't even the best Russian star to drop the gloves. Ilya Kovalchuk takes that trophy for his beat down of the much smaller Mike Comrie (#3 on this list at 41 seconds)
Our pick for the best fight by a superstar is the tilt between Jarome Iginla and Vinny Lecavalier in the 2003-04 Stanley Cup finals. Big time props for Vinny. He is not a fighter, he's on the world stage and he takes on a guy as tough as Iginla...and holds his own. Way to go Vincent!