#THEPLAYERS / KHL

Bits and bytes: bars hate the NHLPA, we embrace KHL, Lupul heads to Europe & Gary Roberts on Kadri

Over the weekend I spotted this sign outside of a York Region bar. Of course this was the same bar that flew a Toronto Maple Leaf flag upside down for weeks following their catastrophic crash at the end of last season. I gather they’re one of many frustrated fans who read “50/50” followed by “rejected by the NHLPA” and immediately assumed #THEPLAYERS are just a bunch of greedy bastards. Except that well-read fans realize by now, I hope, they’re not the greedy bastards, but rather a puzzle piece in the overall problematic picture. I reached out to the bar but they declined to comment on their motivation behind the encouraging sign, so I’m going to assume they’re super ignorant and probably read the Toronto Sun, so yeah.  But hey, everyone’s entitled to their opinion, right?  Mine happens to be far from theirs.  In the end, we all just want NHL hockey back, I guess.

But you know, over here John and I are full-on embracing the KHL.  Check out his new SKA Saint Petersburg jersey he got from an actual Russian who actually went to Russia.  How many rubles did you drop for that one, John?  Looks good, I’m kind of jealous, I can’t lie.

My KHL team is Metallurg Magnitogorsk, and did I even spell that right?  Hey, at least I can pronounce it, and that’s almost half the fucking battle here.  How can I not love them when they’ve got the NHL tag team of Geno Malkin and Nik Kulemin?

Now, still waiting on a Canadian broadcaster to start showing games.  ANY DAY NOW, YOU GUYS…ANY. DAY. NOW.

Meanwhile, I’m home sick and caught Hockey Central at Noon today.  Former NHLer Gary Roberts was on the show to discuss meal plans and healthy eating.  Everyone knows that he’s one of the most sought-after trainers in the NHL off season and so it was good to gain some insight on what exactly his guys need to buy into.  I’m down with Roberts since I eat quinoa like most people eat Ketchup chips and chocolate, but it was funny watching Doug MacLean try to wrap his head around what the guy was talking about.

Anyway, who gives a shit about that; Roberts finally addressed the Nazem Kadri debacle at the end of the show and said, (and I’m paraphrasing here because I was actually eating a bowl of fucking quinoa and sweet potato at the time) Kardi came to him with a separated shoulder.  We knew he was injured.  But he stressed that he only started training with Naz in mid-July which is nowhere near enough time to train in order to be in top shape for training camp.  You know, when Toronto Marlies head coach Dallas Eakins tore him a new one in front of the media for being, well, fat.  What the coach failed to mention was that Kadri didn’t have the benefit of rigorous training because he had to take it easy and instead insinuated the player better check his eating habits at the doors of the RICOH Coliseum.  Roberts said Naz pretty much bought in for the 7-8 weeks he was with him but acknowledged that it takes time, three years according to him, and that the kid needs to adopt a healthier lifestyle in order to see some real change in his performance.  Cool, great, good luck Naz, and let’s not have to discuss this again.

In other Toronto Maple Leafs news, it looks like Joffrey Lupul will sign with last place KHL team Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg despite not meeting any of the foreign player criteria which includes playing 150 NHL games in the past three years.  He cuts it close at 143 games, but certainly doesn’t qualify as he hasn’t won a Stanley Cup, much like other foreign NHLers who’ve signed elsewhere in Europe instead.  Perhaps he is an exception to the rule because of his injuries or quite simply they see it as an opportunity to help lift the team out of the basement.  Either way, it’ll be good to see him play on a competitive level after putting up 67 points last season.

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