EuroVision: Highlights, notes, tweets and photos from across the pond — where the lockout doesn’t quite translate
Kris Versteeg called him one of the game’s “cancers,” Ian White called him “an idiot,” and a few locked-out Montreal Canadiens had no shame sporting “Puck Gary” ballcaps to lockout practice.
It is part of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman’s job to soak up all the hate and finger-pointing spewed by the players. And for the most part, the players are following the script and not delving into the uncomfortable business of calling out the owners, the very men Bettman speaks for and the same men who sign their cheques. (Ryan Suter criticized big-spending Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold last month, then quickly softened his stance.)
So, kudos to Phoenix Coyotes fourth-liner Paul Bissonnette, who steered the conversation away from the tired Bettman bashing Wednesday during an interview with Sirius XM Home Ice Radio (via CSNNE.com). Listen here.
“I just try to stay away from carving anyone. Gary Bettman’s just trying to do his job. I know that’s against what we’re about as far as the players are concerned. But I know he’s the messenger. If they’re going to pay him $8 million to save them hundreds of millions, well, there’s a lot of people listening that would do the same job for the money he makes,” Bissonnette, better known as “BizNasty,” said.
“I’m more upset with a guy like (Boston Bruins owner Jeremy) Jacobs. It just sounds so hypocritical for him to think the last CBA was so awful and how garbage it was, and then go out and sign three of his top guys (Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin) right before the last one expired. If it was that bad, why rush to sign those guys? Why not wait until the new CBA comes?”
For the 348,556 followers of Bissonnette’s Twitter feed, his perspective on Bettman should not come as a shock. Earlier this week, Biz attempted to put his fans in Gary’s shoes. He took a poll:
Gary Bettman takes a lot of heat for doing his job. Question to you is would you do what he does for 8 million dollars a year?
The majority of his responders said they’d take the dough and the disses.
BizNasty bonus: On-ice, the tough guy has found his scoring touch for the U.K.’s Cardiff Devils.
Bissonnette was crowned the Elite Ice Hockey League’s player of the week after scoring eight points in the Devils’ two victories. The Welsh club has won four of five games since BritNasty suited up.
Colorado Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov is the best in the KHL.
He has recorded three shutouts and surrendered a mere nine goals during Lokomotiv’s winning streak, extended to nine games Wednesday.
Varlamov’s .951 save percentage (which Russian stat keepers represent as the much more straightforward 95.1%) leads all keepers.
A wicked blocker stop from Wednesday 4-0 shutout of CSKA Moscow:
Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mikhail Grabovski delivered a headshot to Varlamov early in Wednesday’s game that may or may not have intentional. Take a look:
More Avalanche news!
Forward Matt Duchene ripped into his Swedish teammates Wednesday, the Denver Post reports.
“This is not a ‘social hour.’ You can’t just put your skates on and skate around. Everyone could have a bad game, but when you don’t prepare yourself for a game, when you don’t give it your very best… If we play like this against a top team like Skellefte? We would be down 5-0 after the first period,” Duchene told Aftonbladet after his Frolunda club was shut out 2-0 by Modo. “If this was in the NHL, five players would be sent down to the minors after a game like this. But here, players are too comfortable. There are 33 million Canadians that would sacrifice an arm to play hockey at this level.”
Frolunda coach Kent Johansson responded to Duchene’s quotes: “The biggest problem is that not everyone is contributing. Duchene didn’t do that either.”
The Post reports that Duchene said his comments were blown out of proportion overseas and that he included himself first and foremost when discussing his team’s failings.
Tuukka Rask is playing some of the best hockey of his career. In eight games with Pilsen HC of the Czech league, he’s allowed a scant 14 goals and is working with a career-best .936 save percentage.
Rask is a huge reason why Pilsen sits in first place overall.
So I’m sure his temporary teammates will be bummed when he heads home at the end of this week.
Rask has one more game overseas before he returns to Boston:
#Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask will play the last game for Pilsen in Czech league on Fri. Then he comes backs to Boston to wait for NHL start.