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We now know that the cause of death was chronic ischemia, a medical condition in which not enough blood gets to the heart or other organs.  It is unclear whether anyone knew of this condition or whether Cherepanov’s team or the Continental Hockey League should have taken precautionary measures.  From Mike Eckel of the AP:

Moscow regional investigator Yulia Zhukova said officials would look into why Cherepanov was playing with ischemia, and said officials could open a criminal investigation.

The Russian authorities are also looking into whether negligence played a part in Cherepanov’s death.  From the same article:

Pavel Krasheninnikov, who sits on the Russian Hockey Federation’s supervisory council and is a member of the State Duma, said there was no ambulance on duty at the arena where Cherepanov’s Russian team, Avangard Omsk, was playing.

He asserted that emergency workers took too long to respond and didn’t have a defibrillator, a machine used to shock the heart. It was unclear how much time it took paramedics to respond.

“There are elements of negligence here,” Krasheninnikov said in televised comments.

It sounds to me like there might be a cause of action against the team (Avangard Omsk), the league (the Continental Hockey League), and the medical personnel involved.  It’s terrible that such a tragedy could have been avoided.

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The 1st video is Cherepanov’s last shift, which was pretty uneventful.  FYI, Cherepanov is wearing #7.

The 2nd video is his last minutes on the bench. Warning: the 2nd video is disturbing. RIP Alexei.

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The NHL and the newly formed Russian Continental Hockey League (abbreviated KHL) agreed today at a meeting in Zurich to respect the validity of player contracts across all borders.

The immediate impact of the agreement will be to put an end to KHL teams offering big money to NHL players if they walk out on the remaining years of their NHL contracts.

In the long-term, this agreement will serve to stimulate the rapid globalization of the game of hockey.  The possibility of a 2012 Hockey World Cup was reportedly discussed but no concrete plans were made.

Is it out of the question to ponder the possibility of a worldwide league within a decade where the winner of the Stanley Cup would meet the winner of the Gagarin Cup in a yearly World Championship??

Read the full article here.

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5:43 Brian Campbell just signed an 8 year, $56.8 million deal with the Chicago Blackhawks.  According to TSN that puts them about $5-$6 mil over the cap.  I see a goaltender leaving Chicago in the near future.  Nikolai Khabibulin to the Lightning for Mike Smith maybe?

4:14 The Rangers sign forward Aaron Voros.  Voros played for the Wild so he should be accustomed to the Rangers’ defensive style.  He had 7 goals and 7 assists in 55 games last season so he’s definitely a depth signing.  The 6’3″ 220 pound forward could give the Rangers a little bit of size but that’s if he actually plays.

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According to Dubi over at Blueshirt Bulletin, Martin Straka had officially announced his decision to leave the NHL and play in the Czech Republic next season. Supposedly, he signed a deal with his hometown team in Plzen where he would also be a team manager.

TSN.ca later carried a story in which Straka’s agent denied the rumors.

So is there any truth to these rumors? I think it might be true. If Straka goes does Jagr go? All of these questions should be answered in the coming week or two.

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The Philadelphia Flyers showed they were still very much alive last night when they beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2 to stave off elimination. The Penguins now lead the series 3-1. The Flyers scored three goals in the first period to jump out to a 3-0 lead heading into the first intermission. Things got pretty interesting in the last few minutes thought. The Flyers were out to prove that they aren’t going away easy. After Hatcher basically beat the crap out of Malone (the refs stopped the fight before the overmatched Malone got seriously injured), the Flyers’ best player (Mike Richards) told Sidney Crosby to shut up. With his fists.

For any fellow Rangers fans that aren’t sure who Mike Richards is, just think of Brandon Dubinsky in about 1-2 seasons. Also throw in the ability to fight well.

I wonder if the Flyers have possibly gotten into the Penguins heads. Don’t forget, this is the same exact thing that happened in the second round to the Rangers. They were down 3-0 and kicked some ass in game 4. The game ended with a couple slewfoots and a few scrums too. Maybe the Rangers were getting into the Penguins’ heads! The series headed back to Pittsburgh and we all know how it ended up.

I think the Flyers have a better chance to bring this series back to Philly than the Rangers had to bring it back to the Garden one round ago. Throw in the fact that the Flyers are getting back their two top defensemen (Kimmo Timonen and Braydon Coburn) for game 5 and things are looking pretty good for the Flyers.

***

I think Marc and I are gonna hold off on wrapping up the Rangers’ season and playoffs until after the Stanley Cup has been won. We aren’t sure how we want to do it (team as a whole or player by player by coach). Regardless, we will be posting news and opinion throughout the offseason so keep checking the site for updates.

Also, if you have any thoughts, comments, suggestions, criticism, or work for the Rangers (or the NHL) and want to help us out with an interview please don’t hesitate to email us at 5holeblog@gmail.com.

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Starting next season, the NHL will revert back to the system used before the lockout.  Each team will play the other four teams in their division six times (3 home games and 3 road games) and play the other 10 teams in their conference four times (2 home games and 2 road games).  The remaining 18 games will be played against the teams in the other conference.  That ensures that each team will play every other team in the league at least one time during the regular season.

Beginning with the 2005-2006 season, the NHL started using a new schedule structure.  The new system had each team play 2 additional games against the other four teams in their division (four home games, four road games).  They still played four games against the ten teams in the other two divisions in their conference (2 home games and 2 road games).  The remaining 10 games were played against ten teams from the other conference (5 at home against one division, 5 on the road against another division).  Teams did not play the 5 teams in the third division of the other conference.  The interconference matchups rotated every season and after 3 seasons, every team had played every team in the other conference both at home and on the road once.

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Folks, the Rangers were still in this one until the start of the third period. They looked dead right from the start of the third. They couldn’t get the puck deep and when they actually kept the puck in the Penguins’ zone, they couldn’t get shots through to the net.

Then there’s the Power Play. The Rangers went 0 for 6 with 9 shots. So that’s a shot and a half per PP. The Penguins went 1 for 5 with 15 shots (almost half of their total). That’s 3 per.

The Penguins’ Power Play is just S-C-A-R-Y. It’s so much different than the Rangers’ PP. They just keep feeding the puck to the point for the quick, low slapshot and wait for the rebounds. Why can’t the Rangers do this? The second line (Gomez-Drury-Shanny) seems to be trying but just can’t get it done. Jagr’s line is just wasting time looking for the perfect shot. It’s just terrible. GO TO THE FRONT OF THE NET! STOP CUTTING BEHIND THE NET! YOU’RE NOT GONNA SCORE A GOAL FROM BEHIND THE NET!

Anyone notice who wasn’t on the ice when the Penguins scored their only Power Play goal? It was the guy in the box who was off for a questionable call that could have gone to either player. Chris Drury.

Chris Drury is the best penalty killer on the Rangers right now. How many times do you see him breaking up the other team’s power play and clearing the puck? Lots of times, that’s how many.

I’m kind of pissed off right now. If Marc has any thoughts he’ll add them later.

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son of a bitchAfter the refs swallowed their wistles for the second half of the second period and all of the third, who else but Tom Poti would get called for tripping in OT? That’s just what happened and the Flyers scored a Power Play goal just 9 seconds before the penalty was over. Oh well.

Now the second round matchups are set and it will be the #1 Montreal Canadiens against the #6 Philadelphia Flyers and the #2 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. the #5 New York Rangers.

We’ll update once the NHL releases the schedule. Steve Zipay thinks that the first two games will be Friday night and Sunday afternoon.

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Henrik Lundqvist, along with Martin Brodeur and Evgeni Nabokov, has been named as a finalist for the Vezina Trophy. The Vezina goes to the NHL’s top goaltender during the Regular Season.

Evgeni Nabokov finished the regular season with a 46-21-8 record, a 2.14 GAA, a .910 SV% and 6 shutouts. This is Nabokov’s first nomination as a Vezina Finalist.

Martin Brodeur has now been nominated as a Vezina Finalist 8 times. He has won it 3 times in his career. Brodeur finished the regular season with a 44-27-6 record, a 2.17 GAA, a .920 SV% and 4 shutouts.

Henrik Lundqvist has now been nominated as a Vezina Finalist 3 years in a row. That is, every year he has played in the NHL. Maybe third time’s the charm? Lundqvist finished the regular season with 37-24-10 record with a 2.23 GAA and a .912 SV%. He finished the season with 10 shutouts to lead the league.

Here’s how the fans are voting at ESPN.com.

1) Who should win the Vezina Trophy?
42.5% Henrik Lundqvist, Rangers
36.3% Evgeni Nabokov, Sharks
21.2% Martin Brodeur, Devils
Total Votes: 21,096

You can cast your vote by clicking here.

All 30 NHL GMs vote for the Vezina Trophy and the Winner will be announced on June 12, 2008 in Toronto.

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