this week + last month: we had way better radar detection than germany, crosby said

Presidential Puck: With joy in his heart and Alex Ovechkin on his team, Vladimir Putin faced off in Sochi last week against a team of gifted children.

Майк Кинэн is thinking about trading in his Canadian citizenship for Russian.

Sorry: Mike Keenan, coach of the defending KHL champions Metallurg Magnitogorsk. Really? Seriously? Seriously. Though as Keenan, who’s 65 and has been coaching in the KHL since 2013, was telling the media in Russian last month, it’s nothing certain yet.

“I’m happy to live and work in Russia,” he said. “No one is saying that it will happen, that I have decided, but I would be interested to explore this possibility.”

Asked what they might think in Canada, how his family would react, he’s reported to have laughed. “It’s only my decision.”

And what about coaching the Russian national team? Would he consider that? His diplomatic answer to that one was that there are plenty of good Russian candidates. If he could lend a hand as a consultant, though … well, why not?

“I have a certain knowledge of the Canadian, American teams — that could be handy. If they approached me for advice, I would be glad,” he said.

Dante Redux: Finnish former irksome winger Jarkko Ruutu published a memoir last week.

Dante Redux: Finnish former abrasively irksome winger Jarkko Ruutu published a memoir last week.

Finnish former right winger Jarkko Ruutu published a memoir this week. In the NHL, where he played for Vancouver, Pittsburgh, Ottawa, and Anaheim, he’s best remembered as, what, an agitator, pest, troublemaker? His book, only available in Finnish so far, bears a title that translates to The Divine Comedy. “Sport, great drama and purgatory!” his publisher promises in some of its promotional matter. “Jarkko Ruutu was a rink terrorist and nutcase, an entertainment package beyond compare.”

Ron MacLean phoned Don Cherry for the first time since the Stanley Cup Final to talk about Cherry’s love of Toronto Blue Jays’ third baseman Josh Donaldson. Cherry also paid his respects to Al Arbour, bespectacled defenceman and many-Cup-winning coach, who died on August 28 at the age of 82. “When you talk to his players, like Kelly Hrudey, they all say the same thing,” Cherry tweeted. “He was tough but he was fair. And everyone to a man say they loved him.”

Also, heads up, everybody. “I don’t know if you know it or not,” began another of Don Cherry’s recent tweet cascades, “but a policeman can come into your house, take your dog and have it put down.”

Sidney Crosby made a salad for himself at Pete’s Fine Foods in downtown Halifax. I guess at the salad bar there? For lunch. He had some egg whites, too, and an orange juice, all of which cost him about ten bucks, and which he “consumed around a small table on a publicly accessible balcony overlooking the cash registers.”

Point being? He’s a humble man, Crosby, modest, keeps a low profile during the off-season in Nova Scotia, where he drives not-new Chevy Tahoe and doesn’t expect special treatment despite having earned something like US$17 million last season in salary, endorsements and memorabilia — he “remains most comfortable in sandals or sneakers, athletic gear and a cap.”

That’s what Jason Mackey found, a reporter for The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review who ventured north to spend some summer time with the Penguins’ captain and hear him say that he while he tries to stick to a sensible pro-athlete kind of a diet, he also crushes Timbits when he can.

Also: Crosby finished up a college course last season, offered online by Southern New Hampshire University. Mackey doesn’t say which one, but the clues point to HIS241: World War II.

“The material was easy,” Crosby said, “because you’re traveling and you can read. If you have to write a paper and it’s not coming that quickly and you don’t have that much time, you don’t enjoy it as much. You’re just trying to get it done.

“It was nine years since I had done anything school-related. It was a pretty big wakeup call.”

Crosby’s final exam was writing a paper on the influence of radar in World War II.

“We had a way better radar detection than Germany,” Crosby said.

Another former NHL-playing Bure, Pavel’s younger brother Valeri, makes a high-end cabernet sauvignon that’s very popular. Eric Duhatschek was writing about this in The Globe and Mail, all the hockey players who are getting into the wine business.

99wineMaybe you’ve enjoyed a bottle of Wayne Gretzky’s Pinot Noir, his Riesling, 2012 No.99 Cabernet Franc Ice-wine. But did you know that Igor Larionov had a pretty great shiraz a few years ago and still does brew up small batches of “a high-end cab” for his own table?

Former Los Angeles Kings’ centreman Jimmy Fox is delving deeper into the art and the business. As he told Duhatschek, what he likes about wine is that it’s not hockey. On the nothockeyness of wine, he said

“Pro sports is always about the final score and there is a black and whiteness to that which, when I was an athlete, was extremely attractive to me. I loved knowing at the end of the day how you did, and the score told you.

“Wine gives me almost the opposite feeling and it’s probably something I was looking for subconsciously. Wines are scored too, but more than with hockey, it is about the process. There is an artistic element to wine. There is a chemistry element to wine. There is a terroir element to wine. There are so many different elements and I felt that that combination of all those things was so intriguing to me. It really made me expand the way I thought about a lot of things.”

“I don’t do any conditioning during the summer,” Ottawa Senators’ captain Erik Karlsson said upon his return to the capital with looking big and brown with an expanded head. At least I think that’s what the headline on Ken Warren’s article in The Ottawa Citizen was saying:

Karlsson returns to Ottawa with a bigger mindset

“I’ve been able to put on weight and keep it on,” Karlsson said, after skating Tuesday for the first time since the club was eliminated by the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs last spring.

Indeed, Karlsson is back, bigger than ever. In his case, though, it’s a measure of pride, part of his continuing growth from the 165-pound stick figure who made his first appearance in Ottawa at the 2008 NHL entry draft.

“I’m almost 200 pounds,” said Karlsson, sporting a deep tan resulting from spending several weeks travelling throughout Greece.

If you came across this headline on another Russian online paper, could you resist reading the story attached?

Ovechkin and Malkin helped Putin to beat children in hockey

Yes, indeed, the Russian president was back on the ice last week in Sochi, leading a team in a game against students from Sirius, a school for gifted children. September 1 was the day, which as you probably knew, is Knowledge Day in Russia.

Know this: the school team featured high-performing students from all regions of the nation. Putin’s team included Vyacheslav Fetisov, Alexander Ovechkin, Pavel Bure, Alexei Gusarov, Alexei Kasatonov, Valery Kamensky, and Evgeni Malkin, among others.

Putin’s team won. 9-5. Tass reported that the President had “more than five shots.” He scored two goals.

Toronto Maple Leafs' president Brendan Shanahan may have been reading Leon Uris' Exodus over the Labour Day weekend. It was, in any case, not far from his coffee cup.

Toronto Maple Leafs’ president Brendan Shanahan may have been reading Leon Uris’ Exodus over this Labour Day weekend. It was, in any case, not far from his coffee cup.

“I think hockey players are the best athletes on the earth,” confided baseball Hall-of-Famist Mark McGwire. “I just admire them so much.”

“J’ai joué mon dernier match dans la Ligue nationale de hockey,” Daniel Brière, 37, wrote in La Presse. “Le moment est venu pour moi d’annoncer ma retraite.”

In a career that started in Phoenix before travelling to Buffalo, Philadelphia, Berlin, Montreal, and Colorado, Brière played 973 NHL games, scoring 307 goals and 696 points. “I’ve always been a fan of hockey,” he wrote in the newspaper. “I always loved the game. That will not change.”

He talked, too, about spending time at home with his several teenaged sons. “I want to show them the right path,” he wrote, “Sometimes when parental supervision is not optimal, human nature pushes young people to seek easier paths. To cheat. It is important that I go home for it.”

Martin St. Louis also retired, at 40, though that was back in July. A month later he was writing at The Player’s Tribune about his late mother, France, France, who died in May of 2014 at the age of 63 and the height (St. Louis noted) of 4’11’.

“Most men,” he wrote, “make this assumption that they take after their father.”

I recognize many traits I have that come from my dad, like my work ethic and athleticism, but when I look deeper inside, I see just how much of me and my success can be attributed to my mom. To become a professional hockey player, you absolutely need to be able to shoot and skate at a world-class level, but that’s not enough. What my mom gave me was the mental toughness to not let anything stand in the way of my dream.

New Jersey Devils captain Bryce Salvador, 39, was another player to announce his career was at an end. He too went out with a Player’s Tribune essay, beginning with an account of a puck in the face and the devastating concussion that it caused.

The slap shot hit me in the face with 53 seconds left in the game. I could actually feel the force of the puck go all the way through my head and then out my right ear. My teammates on the New Jersey Devils immediately rushed over to where I was slumped on the ice. I looked up, bleeding badly from my face, and saw all these blurry red jerseys standing over me. Their mouths were moving, but I couldn’t hear what they were saying. All I heard was a high-pitched ringing.

That was in 2010. His recovery was long and slow and painful and frightening. Having made his return to the ice, Salvador leaves it with no regrets. Or, at least, with forgiveness:

If I believe in one thing in life, it’s that hockey is a force for good. It can change kids’ lives and give them an outlet so that no matter what’s going on with them personally, they can get on the ice for a few hours and forget about everything but that little black piece of rubber.

In Dallas Stars news, Tyler Seguin was purported to have annoyed his neighbours while renting summer digs in the Toronto neighbourhood of Yorkville. A former president of Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment was the man to call out Seguin, accusing him on Twitter of (a) loud noisy 6 a.m. parties and (b) garbage (lots) left behind.

 This was news, of course, in Toronto, at least, and allowed The Toronto Sun for one to harken back to previous accounts of alleged bad Seguin behaviour, including a 2013 story about a stay at an apartment in Biel, Switzerland from a Swiss online tabloid:

According to Blick, bottles, trash and dirty linen littered the floor as bananas were left to rot on a table following his departure.

The publication also reported that Seguin clearly didn’t know how to use appliances, claiming he attempted to wash clothes in a dryer.

In Los Angeles, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers took a defenceman from the Los Angeles Kings into custody, Slava Voynov. It’s been two months since he pleaded no contest to a domestic violence charge following what continues to be reported as “an argument with his wife” in October of 2014.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Voynov, a Russian citizen, might well be deported.

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said that the league is aware of the situation.

In Chicago, newspapers were publishing articles with headlines like

Coaches, parents hesitant to talk to kids about Patrick Kane investigation

and

Parents express importance in talking with their kids about Patrick Kane

in the wake of headlines like

Patrick Kane situation turns dream summer into a nightmare

 and

Police investigation involving Patrick Kane puts Blackhawks in terrible spot

 going all the way back to

 Patrick Kane accused of sexual assault: report.

In Hamburg, New York, where Kane lives when he’s not playing hockey, police were investigating what was being called an alleged incident, involving a woman Kane met at a bar.

Also, last week:

Patrick Kane rape case is headed to a grand jury, multiple sources say

“You can assume we are doing everything we need to be doing from the league’s perspective,” Bill Daly told Mark Lazerus from The Chicago Sun-Times.

Chicago captain Jonathan Toews had this to say on a radio station, Winnipeg’s TSN1290. To be fair, the question from host Andrew Paterson wasn’t about the particulars of the case — it had more to do with team focus and how, as captain, you deal with teammates and media “when something like that happens.” Toews:

I think you have confidence that things like that will resolve themselves over time. For the time being, you stay together as a team. You support your teammate … uh, teammate, teammates that are maybe going through a rough patch. You know, we saw it last year with some rumors that spread through social media about several guys in the locker room. It’s not the first time we’ve seen situations like that and eventually you deal with it internally and you stay together as a team and you’re confidence as individuals and as a group that everyone kind of stays together.

At the end of the day, we always say to each other that what is said and what is done within the locker is the only thing that matters. We don’t let anything going on on the outside affect the way we do our jobs and the way we come to work together as a team.

Again, I get a lot of credit because I have the ‘C’ on my sweater and I think we have a great group of guys who understand what it takes to be a leader, what it takes to be part of a good team. Clearly, it’s more than just what happens on the ice. There’s always a lot of things being said and things going on off the ice but no matter what, we do a good job of sticking together.