Top Plays of the Week by Locked-out NHL Superstars
Negotiations in the new collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and NHLPA seem to still be stagnant. Another meeting is scheduled between the two sides for Tuesday (h/t the Star-Ledger), although it's unlikely much progress will be made if prior events in this lockout are any indication.
That hasn't stopped some of hockey's biggest names from hitting the ice overseas, though.
There are plenty of highlights from some of the most exciting players in the world—including two superstars who are getting the opportunity to play with each other.
These moments of excitement may not quench the thirst of pure NHL fans. However, any true hockey enthusiast can appreciate what this past week had to offer from some of the most recognizable figures in the sport.
Check out some of these breathtaking plays that will hopefully help ease the sadness of the NHL lockout.
Not surprisingly, the Washington Capitals superstar headlines the action. His Dynamo Moscow club leads the Kontinental Hockey League with 67 points, and Ovechkin is having a stellar season.
In just 22 games played, the two-time Hart Memorial Trophy winner has 12 goals and 15 assists. On this occasion, Ovechkin netted a hat trick—his first in the KHL, which is surprising considering his gaudy numbers.
The 2004 No.1 overall pick simply plays a different game, and is continuing to devastate opponents on the wing after a relatively disappointing year in the States.
Ovechkin has scored 32 and 38 goals respectively over the past two years, but had been averaging well over 50 per year before that. Hopefully he will get the opportunity to prove himself in 2012-13—and capture that elusive first Stanley Cup title.
Rick Nash and Joe Thornton
Rick Nash finally got out of Columbus this offseason, away from the perennially losing Blue Jackets and into the Big Apple. However, the nine-year veteran has yet to suit up for the New York Rangers, courtesy of this lockout.
What has to be a somewhat decent consolation in the interim is playing with San Jose Sharks captain Joe Thornton on Davos of the Swiss Elite hockey league. Both men stand at a towering 6'4" and clearly are developing chemistry playing together.
Thornton is unquestionably one of the best passers in the game, and it's on full display here. He sends a pass right through the crease and on the money to Nash, who one-times it into the back of the net.
But you can bet that Nash can't wait for the puck to finally drop in NHL action, as he will have an unprecedented opportunity to pursue postseason greatness.
The ageless wonder marches on. Jagr is currently playing for Kladno of the Czech League, and the 40-year-old notched a beautiful, top-shelf goal from a tough angle this week.
After three seasons in the KHL, Jagr made his NHL return with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2011-12, posting a solid 54 points in 73 games—and then one goal and seven assists in 11 playoff contests. Now with the Dallas Stars, Jagr will be eager to prove he still has something left in the tank.
With goals like these, it may be simply a matter of observing to see that Jagr can definitely still hold his own. The future Hall of Famer may be a relatively old dog, but his old tricks are still working just fine.
A turbulent career defined by a scary spinal cord injury has hampered the former top-10 draft pick.
Lupul has persevered, though, and enjoyed an outstanding season with the Toronto Maple Leafs last year, being named assistant captain on the East side of the All-Star Game to boot.
Unfortunately, the Leafs have not been so good in recent years, but Lupul and fellow winger Phil Kessel definitely provide Toronto with at least some hope. His current club, Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg, is ranked dead last in the KHL, though.
While playing savior to this squad may be a lost cause, Lupul can take solace in this nifty goal, as he sets a beautiful screen in front and slams home the rebound against heavily favored Dynamo Minsk.
Playing for CSKA Moscow of the KHL, the Detroit Red Wings star forward played the part of distributor in his team's recent 6-1 blowout victory over Torpedo.
Datsyuk notched three assists, including the one in the video above, as he continues to make the teammates around him better. That's much like he does in Detroit, who is certainly missing Datsyuk and his greatness considering the state of the city's professional football franchise—the 4-8 Lions.
There's no doubting that the four-time All-Star and two-time Stanley Cup champion want the NHL and NHLPA to resolve their differences as soon as possible.
Until then, though, the veteran is tending to business as usual on the ice overseas in his native country.