A little chat about the NHL prospects for Olympians Jagr, Cervenka, Forsberg, Morozov & Nikulin... rehabbing with booze... Team Canada needs Nash to run the point
Thought we'd jump in after being quiet for a week with some Olympic based fantasy news...
Jaromir Jagr has hinted that he's thinking of a return to the NHL next season. Its always good to have Double J around, so we're all for it but we're not sure how much power he has left in his 38-year old mullet anymore. He's been putting up close to a point-per-game in the KHL the past two years and was still productive in the NHL with 123, 96 & 71 points in his last three seasons before bolting. So something to keep in mind that we could possibly see him back next season but we'll be keeping our expectations in check.
Another Czech who's drawing a lot of interest is Roman Cervenka as the 24-year old is leading the Czech Extraliga in points this year with 30+41=71 in 48 games. He hasn't done much at the Olympics yet with only one assist while playing on a line with Jagr but he apparently has as many as five NHL teams that are interested in signing him, including the Leafs and Sens. Now the level of play in the Extraliga has dropped lately and we haven't seen too many players jump from there recently so it's a little difficult to peg how productive he could be in the NHL (we'd guess around 40-50 points right away) but he's one to keep an eye on.
Don't expect to see Peter Forsberg back in the NHL, like ever (although we should never say never) as he's been telling people during the Olympics that he's probably retiring after this season. Although we're not ones to take a chance on Foppa as he's as brittle as they come, it's a bit of a shame as he's still got something to give, proven by his production in the Swedish Elite League this year (9+11=20 in 17 games).
Aleksey Morozov is another one that people keep hoping would make a return to the NHL as he's arguably the best player not in the NHL. He puts up big points in the RSL/KHL year after year and could probably step in and be a #1C in the NHL if he wanted but he makes some good rubles over in the KHL so its not likely that he's looking to return.
Another Euro-vet that we're watching is Russian Ilya Nikulin as there is talk pretty much every year that the 28-year old may make his way over to North America. Heis rights are owned by the Thrashers (they drafted him in the 2nd round back in 2000), so not sure if that has anything to do with his hesitation to come over but I'm sure a trade could be worked out if he was serious. He's been one of the top scoring dmen in the KHL over the past few seasons (6+26=32 in 47 games this year) so we'd be very intrigued if he ever decides to try out the NHL.
Injury Updates (see our Injury Updates page for a consolidated list of injuries):
Patric Hornqvist took a Joni Pitkanen hit to the head last night and had to leave the game... Swedish officials say that its not too serious but that he might miss their next game. We'll be keeping an eye on this as Horns is in the middle of a breakout season with the Preds, currently on pace for 31 goals & 267 shots.
Rehab seems to be going well for Mikhail Grabovski as his wrist has healed enough for him to get into a bar fight in Vancouver the other night. He's at the Olympics supporting his countrymen from Belarus but no word if this fight involved any of the Kostitsyn's.
In other booze-infused stories from rehab, Nikolai Khabibulin was charged with drunk driving in Arizona a few weeks back... sounds like the 37-year old is working real hard to get into shape after back surgery ended his season after only 18 games. Only three more years on his contract, Oiler's fans!
What's distracting us today? It's surprising we're distracted by an athlete other than a hockey player right in the middle of the Olympics but it happened.
Check out this video of Steve Nash trying to convince us why he belongs on Team Canada:
(stick tap to Fourth Place Medal)