September 7, 2011 - 7:28 PM
In addition to the former NHLers killed Wednesday in the crash of the plane carrying KHL team Kokomotiv Yaroslavl, the victims include two members of the Russian team that won the gold medal at the World Junior Championships in January at HSBC Arena.
Forward Daniil Sobchenko, San Jose’s sixth-round pick in the 2011 draft, and defenseman Yuri Urychev are confirmed among the dead. Sobchenko had four goals, tied for second on the team, and three assists in seven games of the tournament. Neither player registered a point during the five-goal third period that stunned Canada in the gold medal game.
One of his Sobchenko's goals, assisted by Urychev, was the tying tally late in the second period of the Russians' 6-3 preliminary-round loss to Canada. He had two more in an 8-2 win over Norway, and talked to Amy Moritz of The News after that game. His final goal came in an 8-3 win over the Czech Republic. The latter two games were played at Niagara University's Dwyer Arena.
Urychev had a goal and three assists, with his goal the first tally in a 4-3 overtime win over Finland in the quarterfinals.
Sobchenko and Urychev were both 20 and were born 10 days apart in 1991.
September 7, 2011 - 2:54 PM
Though no former Buffalo players were involved in today's plane crash in Russia that decimated an entire hockey organization, Sabres forward Thomas Vanek does have family ties to a victim.
Josef Vasicek, a former Carolina Hurricane who was among the 43 dead, is linked to Vanek by marriage. Vasicek is the brother of Vanek's sister-in-law (in long form, Vasicek is Vanek's brother's wife's brother).
Luke Decock of the Raleigh News and Observer recalls his time covering Vasicek on his Hurricanes blog.
September 7, 2011 - 11:04 AM
The official roster of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, the Kontinental Hockey League team that was tragically decimated today in a Russian plane crash, lists no former Buffalo Sabres players or draft picks.
Lokomotiv had several former NHL players on the roster, including coach Brad McCrimmon and forward Pavol Demitra.
"At first we didn't want to believe it, but right now there is no hope," a Lokomotiv official said according to a Russian report. "The team is gone."
KHL President Alexander Medvedev vowed to support the club, which is a three-time champion.
"We will do all that we can to ensure that top level hockey continues in Yaroslavl and that Lokomotiv remains one of the strongest clubs in the Kontinental Hockey League," he said.
September 7, 2011 - 10:05 AM
An airplane carrying a Kontinental Hockey League team has crashed in Russia, killing 36 of the 37 passengers. (Update at 10:50 a.m.: The death toll is now at least 43).
Lokomotiv Yaroslavl had several former NHL players on its roster as of Aug. 31, including Pavol Demitra, Karel Rachunek, Ruslan Salei, Josef Vasicek and Karlis Skrastins. No former Buffalo Sabres were listed on Wikipedia, while the team Website has been made unavailable.
Lokomotiv, which was on its way to play in Minsk, Belarus, is coached by longtime NHL defenseman Brad McCrimmon.
According to the Associated Press, the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry said the Yak-42 plane crashed immediately after leaving an airport near the city of Yaroslavl.
President Dmitry Medvedev, according to the AP, had announced plans to take aging Soviet-built planes out of service starting next year. The Yak-42 has been in service since 1980 and dozens are still in service with Russian and other airlines.
September 6, 2011 - 4:24 PM
The NHL's premier player is ready to talk about his health.
Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby, who missed the second half of last season with a concussion, will join Penguins General Manager Ray Shero and doctors for a news conference Wednesday. Crosby reportedly is still experiencing symptoms from his January head bumps, though the severity of his problems are not clear. Hence, the former MVP will meet the media in Consol Energy Center.
September 6, 2011 - 1:21 PM
The Jets will be flying down the ice in these new jerseys, which were unveiled today.
September 6, 2011 - 10:27 AM
The NHL's newest team will unveil the league's newest uniform today. Winnipeg will display its sweater at a military base at noon, finally giving Jets fans an opportunity to see what the team will look like in its NHL return.
The jerseys have already made headlines. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canada Border Services Agency confiscated 40 allegedly counterfeit jerseys last month. Though the sweaters have the Jets official logo, a team spokesman said there are noticeable differences between the fakes and the soon-to-be-released real things.
UPDATE: The jerseys are out and can be seen here.
September 4, 2011 - 12:52 PM
Questions remain about the details of Wade Belak's death, the third such tragedy involving a tough guy to strike the NHL in the past four months. Rick Rypien and Derek Boogaard also died under strange circumstances involving severe depression and/or drugs. There were separate sets of circumstrances, but are they connected in one way or another?
The debate rages on whether their deaths were somehow related to their roles as physical players who did their share of fighting. People for years have known it was a difficult job, but it is also something that can take a person on the road to ruin? Recent studies on concussions, if not common sense, make you wonder if fighters are more susceptible to problems.
Check out Sully's column Sunday after he interviewed Rob Ray.
I've been all over the map on whether the NHL should institute a ban on fighting. My problem for years with fighting in the NHL was that there wasn't enough. My rationale wasn't about the entertainment value but whether the players should police themselves. You wouldn't see some of the cheap shots that happen if players were worried about having to answer for their actions, other than a penalty.
I guess my real beef is with the insitigator rule. The idea behind it was to cut down on fighting, but overall it might have done more harm than good. There are too many players in the league who stir up trouble with the idea they can draw opposing teams into penalties. In my opinion, it has led to fewer fights but more cheap shots. Overall, the game doesn't seem much safer.
Some want to eliminate fighting altogether and decrease health risks with the fighters themselves, but it could wind up having an adverse effect. Would players become more aggressive -- and cheaper -- knowing they didn't have to stand up for themselves after a dirty hit? Should they implement stiffer punishments for cheap shots and fighting? Should they dump the instigator penalty and go back to players policing the game?
Interesting questions, but no concrete answers.
--- Bucky Gleason