Tag:Kris Russell
Posted on: November 10, 2011 11:40 pm
Edited on: November 11, 2011 9:39 am

Kris Russell traded to Blues for Nikita Nikitin

By: Adam Gretz

After losing for the 13th time in 15 games to start the season on Wednesday night, the Columbus Blue Jackets made their second trade in the past three days by sending defenseman Kris Russell to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for Nikita Nikitin. TSN's Bob McKenzie was first to report the trade.

Russell, who did not play during the Jackets' 6-3 loss to Chicago, was a third-round pick back in 2005 and has appeared in 12 games this season, scoring two goals to go with one assist. The obvious connection here is that Russell spent time playing for new Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock during his time in Columbus between 2007 and 2009, a stretch that saw Russll play some of the most productive hockey of his career.

When the rumor mill started to buzz on Thursday night about a potential Columbus trade, the obvious speculation was centered around whether or not any deal would involve a goaltender given the struggles of Steve Mason, who surrendered six goals on 36 shots against Chicago. That isn't going to help his .869 save percentage for the season.

Not only did Columbus not acquire a goaltender -- at least not yet -- it simply swapped defenseman, and arguably downgraded.

In exchange, the Blue Jackets receive Nikitin, a fourth-round pick by the Blues in 2004. He's appeared 48 games in his brief NHL career, scoring one goal to go with eight assists. He's appeared in seven games this season and recorded no points.

Perhaps the biggest (and only) advantage in this deal for Columbus is the salary cap savings it will get by moving Russell, who is signed through next season and carries a cap hit of $1.3 million. Nikitin counts $600,000 against the cap.

For Columbus, this move comes just a couple of days after it acquired Mark Letestu from Pittsburgh in exchange for a 2012 fourth-round pick.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: October 1, 2011 12:08 pm
Edited on: October 1, 2011 12:27 pm

Paul Maurice doesn't want to see Skinner fighting

SkinnerBy: Adam Gretz

The Carolina Hurricanes would rather see Jeff Skinner using his hands to score goals as opposed to punching people in the face, and for obvious reasons: he's much better -- and a lot more experienced -- at the former, and his goal-scoring brings his team significantly more value.

Skinner, the NHL's rookie of the year last season, was involved in his first NHL fight on Friday night when he dropped the gloves with Columbus defenseman Kris Russell early in the first period of Carolina's 3-2 loss. Seeing his 19-year-old forward in that situation -- one that he's not used to being in, of course -- and risking injury couldn't have been a happy time for Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice.

After all, Skinner is going to be relied on to be one of Carolina's top goal-scoring threats after finishing second on the team (trailing only Eric Staal) with 31 in his debut season. Not only do the Hurricanes not want to see him get injured in a fight, the fact it was a preseason game had to make it even worse.

Said Maurice after the game, "I like his enthusiasm but that's his one for the year for me."

In other words: Don't ever do it again.

Skinner admitted that it "wasn't much of a fight" and also joked that he was "lucky to come out of it with his face unscathed."

If he was going to pick an opponent for his first bout, he certainly could have done a lot worse. While Russel has a bit more experience when it comes to fighting, he's not exactly a heavyweight around the NHL (his opponents at the NHL level have included Skinner, Phil Kessel, Patrick Eaves and Vladimir Sobotka, according to hockeyfights.com)  and Skinner actually had the size advantage weighing in 5-foot-11 and 193 pounds, compared to the 5-foot-10, 172-pound Russell. So he had that going for him.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com