A month and a half ago a handful of reports appeared in European (Russian, Latvian) language websites alledging that Dallas Stars veteran defenseman Karlis Skrastins had agreed to terms with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the KHL (Kontinental Hockey League) based in Russia. We were dubious of the claim, despite high level officials (the owner in question, I believe) giving an actual quote about it.
I called the Stars that morning in mid-May to inquire what Mr. Skrastins status might be and was told that he was in Frisco working out at Stars facilities. So ended that foray into rumor and google translations.
This week the reports have resurfaced and Skrastins himself is quoted as saying that he will sign Lokomotiv for the coming season as his hockey career winds down.
I know for a fact he's not in Frisco working out this time, but that hardly means anything so close to free agency...particularly in this free agency where teams NEED to spend money, and it makes almost no sense for him to decide against the possibility so close to July 1st, but the reports are out there and we'll make mention of them for the sake of diligence, at any rate.
In a world where the cap-floor is over $48 million, teams are about to start contract-binging like crazy, and (39 year old) Jaromir Jagr is all the rage on Twitter, who's to say Karlis Skrastins can't be a hot commodity?
- Here is the article in question with it's interesting translation of the Skrastins quotes. Make of it what you will, but we'll know one way or the other in 7-10 days what his status is for sure. He was a good pickup two summers ago for a team on an extreme budget, at any rate. [Google translate]
- The Predators (even before they poached Jeff Cogen away from the Stars) have what they call a "skate of the union" event each summer, smack dab in the middle of summer, where season ticket holders are invited to a big party, skate at the arena, take part in a player-used equipment sale, take locker room tours and hear an address by team management in person... What is not to like about this, and why don't the Stars do something similar in the off-season? [Preds on the Glass]
- Speaking of Nashville, it seems they may not have extended qualifying offers to some pretty juicy RFA's by the deadline, meaning they could become UFA's eventually after the NHLPA filed a grievance last night. More likely is that Nashville will sign them anyway, at a slightly higher cost for the blunder. [On the Forecheck]
- Joe Nieuwendyk was in Calgary yesterday to honor the passing of Harley Hotchkiss, a founding member of the Calgary franchise. [globe and mail]
- The Stars have re-signed Brad Lukowich, last years' captain of the Texas Stars to a one year, two way deal. [AP]
- See some awesome old-school photos of Nieuwendyk and Belfour here commemorating their HHOF elections. [SI.com]
- The Maple Leafs are clearing as much space as possible to take a run at Brad Richards. [Sporting News]
- A week from Saturday Mike Modano will participate in a celebrity baseball game in Frisco, the ninth year in a row this has been running. Cowboys and Mavericks players will be present (as well as the Larry O'Brien Trophy) and Modano will surely put up with a question or two about his potential retirement, if indeed it is still a question by then (July 9th). [ESPN Dallas]
- Christian Ehrhoff is being passed around like a [fill in your own inappropriate imagery here] after the Islanders were unable to sign him. His rights now rest with Buffalo and many believe he could sign there and not hit free agency on Friday. [Puck Daddy]