UNFORTUNATE TRIP: Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov is a local hero in Yaroslavl, Russia. He is a product of the Lokomotiv team. Ironically enough, if the Avs didn't acquire him from the Capitals this offseason, he very well could have been on the Lokomotiv roster again this season. Naturally, the Russian tragedy has hit close to home for Varly and he'll be heading back for the memorial services. Adrian Dater at the Denver Post has more.
PTERODACTLY AIR: Much has been made of the flying conditions in Russia since the crash, and rightfully so. To get a further understanding, just read Coyotes assistant coach Dave King's take on Russian air service from his book King of Russia: "The charter craft have, for the most part, featured modern, up-to-date planes, but today we’re in a time warp, flying on a twin-propeller plane the players call Pterodactyl Air — for reasons that are self-explanatory." Here's the full section at the Edmonton Journal.
FIRST ACCOUNT: When the airline went down just after takeoff and landed in the water, there just happened to be a boat a few hundred yards away. Here's the harrowing account (Alex Ovetjkin) of their first response on the scene including their interactions with the crash's two survivors.
NEW ADDRESS, NEW NUMBER: After spending more than 11 seasons in Toronto to begin his career, Tomas Kaberle is now with his third team in a year, joining the Carolina Hurricanes in the offseason. And it's going to be a new start in more ways than one. With his number 15 already snagged by Tuomo Ruutu, Kaberle is going with the inverted look and will wear No. 51 (News Observer).
HOCKEY ON THE BOARDWALK: Despite not having an AHL team based in Atlantic City, the league will have its All-Star Game in the historic Boardwalk Hall (The Hockey News) next season. On a related note, next year's AHL All-Star Game will be one of the most attended and covered in the league's history.
NOT FINNISHED YET: Remember the name Jarkko Ruutu? The former Canucks, Penguins, Senators and most recently Ducks forward and brother of the aforementioned Tuomo Ruutu (two Ruutus in one post?) couldn't find a suitable offer in the NHL, so he's headed back to Europe, joining Jokerit of the Finnish league. Slava Malamud says Ruutu did have offers from the KHL worth more, but instead chose Finland.
THE NHL'S TIM TEBOW? That's the connection being drawn at PredGold between Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis and the former Florida Gators now Denver Broncos QB. Have a look at the list of similarities and see if you agree.
PERFECT PITCH: It's still the offseason, but camp is right around the corner so players are almost all on their way to the cities they play in, but still need a way to stay busy. John Carlson of the Capitals recently found something to do for a day, go to a Nationals game and throw out the first pitch. That's a nice arm on Carlson. Too bad nobody was in attendance to see it.