The Hockey Hall of Fame will induct just its sixth Russian-born player later this year as its saved the best for last with the nomination of Sergei Fedorov. In his first year of eligibility, the one-time Russian superstar will be immortalized among the likes of Gretzky, Howe, Kharlamov and Fetisov.
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Another day, another Russian being traded during the NHL Draft. Just like day one which saw Mikhail Grigorenko and Nikita Zadorov being dealt in the early moments, day two similarly saw the Carolina Hurricanes deal the Russian no one expected (looking at you Alex Semin) sending goalie Anton Khudobin to the Anaheim Ducks for James Wisniewski.
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(photo courtesy of Jim McIsaac/Getty Image)
With both their starter and back-up injured, their prospects still honing their trade in the AHL, the Anaheim Ducks have reached out to a former player to help fill the void in the crease. That player of course is hockey’s most entertaining player, the one and only, Ilya Bryzgalov.
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Datsyuk dances with Corey Perry (AP)
There isn’t much that Pavel Datsyuk can not do. A seasoned veteran and four-time Lady Byng Award recipient, Dats has been a model of consistency for the Detroit Red Wings since the lockout. Our second straight Comrade of the Night from Yekaterinburg, Datsyuk’s skills were on full display in Detroit’s home opener against the Anaheim Ducks.
Five minutes into the 2nd period, he scored a trademarked Datsyuk goal – one that makes your jaw drop in amazement, “How did he just do that?” – to give the Red Wings a 3-0 lead. Detroit’s top unit was seemingly able to skate circles around the statue-esque Duck defenders as partner-in-crime Henrik Zetterberg took the puck at the blue line and passed it rather innocently down to Datsyuk, who was parked several feet to the left of Jonas Hiller. Instead of taking the pass, Datsyuk somehow calculated the exact perfect angle to redirect the puck through Hiller’s 5-hole, leaving everyone at JLA clueless.
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With the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs set to begin tonight here is a look at the Western Conference match-ups with predictions.
(1) San Jose Sharks vs (8) Anaheim Ducks
The President Trophy winning Sharks take on the Ducks in the battle of California. With a 4-2 head-to-head record in favor of San Jose the first step for the league’s top team will be a Ducks team with a new found confidence and a red-hot streak to enter the NHL’s second season. The Ducks enter the playoffs with a 7-2-1 streak but will have to battle against the team with too much depth for them to handle. Sharks in 5
(2) Detroit Red Wings vs (7) Columbus Blue Jackets
The Columbus Blue Jackets first playoff appearance may be short lived as they face the Wings who haven’t missed the playoffs in almost 20 years. You can’t bet against the team which hails from hockey town as the experience out ways the Jackets’ in almost every category. Steve Mason could be the difference maker for the Jackets but dont expect them to overtake the defending cup holders. Wings in 5
(3)Vancouver Canucks vs (6) St. Louis Blues
The Blues make a return to the playoffs after a four year absence while the Canucks resurrected their season to over take the Calgary Flames for the Northwest title. The battle between the pipes should be key as Chris Mason battles Roberto Loungo who has been stellar in the second half of the season. While the Blues have experience in Keith Tkachuk and Mason the all around package is in favor of Vancouver. Canucks in 6
(4) Calgary Flames vs (5) Chicago Blackhawks
The Blackhawks have been riding the back of Nikolai Khabibulin who has had a comeback season of such. Being the uncle for the team of boys look for the young guns to back up the experience in the front. The Flames who let the division fall from their grasp will have something to prove with the likes of Iginla. This series is a toss up lets just say Blackhawks in 7