Top Plays of the Week by Locked-out NHL Superstars
Like many of the NHL's locked-out superstars overseas this winter, the league's current lockout is going strong, and is threatening the entire 2012-13 season.
According to ESPNNewYork.com's Katie Strang, the NHL and the Players' Association agreed to meet Monday to discuss a new CBA, though expectations should remain low until there is a legitimate breakthrough. Regular season games have already been canceled through mid-January.
But in an effort to be positive about the NHL's current situation, let's ring in the New Year with a look at this past week's top plays from our locked-out NHL superstars.
5. Malkin Skates and Dishes (0:25)
Evgeni Malkin can do it all out on the ice, but lately he has become an assist machine. He leads the KHL this season with 40 assists in just 35 games for Metallurg Magnitogorsk.
This play, which the reigning NHL MVP makes look almost too easy, is highlighted by Malkin's smooth skating and unselfish dish to a teammate, who buries the shot in Magnitogorsk's 7-0 thrashing of Amur.
4. Datsyuk Scores a Beauty to Lift CSKA
Pavel Datsyuk is well known for his ability to distribute the puck, but this past week it was his game-tying score for CSKA Moscow that helped lift the club into overtime vs. SKA St. Petersburg, where it would go on to win 2-1.
Datsyuk's movement without the puck on this play was tremendous, and the finish was even better.
3. Ovi Goes One-on-One (0:42)
Alex Ovechkin is a rare specimen when he's got a full head of steam and the puck at his stick. On this electric goal against Amur last week, Ovi shows just how impossible he is to stop when he's determined to score.
What a move, and what a finish.
2. Kovalchuk Scores the Winner
Ilya Kovalchuk is one cool customer, and he displayed that clutch gene this past week in a win over Lev.
With the game tied at three goals apiece, Kovalchuk scored on this sensational goal to put SKA St. Petersburg up 4-3. It would prove to be the game winner as well as SKA went on to win 5-3.
1. Ovechkin Performs Magic
No player in hockey makes jaw-dropping plays as often as Alexander Ovechkin.
The Dynamo Moscow forward scored a magical goal against Red Army this week. Although it came in a losing effort, it's more than worthy of our top play of the week.
Locked out NHL Leaders Overseas
NHL fans don't appear to be quite as angry as Evgeni Malkin about the ongoing NHL lockout. The reigning league MVP is absolutely terrorizing the KHL this winter, leading all players in assists (40) and trailing only teammate Sergei Mozyakin in points (59) despite having just played 35 games for Russian club Metallurg Magnitogorsk.
But Malkin isn't the only locked-out NHL-er thriving overseas this season. Here's a look at the Top Five leaders in all three major categories heading into 2013.
*Statistics include NHL players who are playing in the KHL or Switzerland's National League A.
Top Five Point Leaders
|Player||Points||Current Club||NHL Club|
|Evgeni Malkin||59||Metallurg Mag.||Pittsburgh Penguins|
|Damien Brunner||53||EV Zug||Detroit Red Wings|
|Linus Omark||45||EV Zug||Edmonton Oilers|
|Tyler Seguin||40||EHC Biel||Boston Bruins|
|John Tavares||39||SC Bern||New York Islanders|
Top Five Goal Leaders
|Player||Goals||Current Club||NHL Club|
|Tyler Seguin||25||EHC Biel||Boston Bruins|
|Damien Brunner||24||EV Zug||Detroit Red Wings|
|Evgeni Malkin||19||Metallurg Mag.||Pittsburgh Penguins|
|John Tavares||16||SC Bern||New York Islanders|
|Alex Ovechkin||16||Dynamo Moscow||Washington Capitals|
Top Five Assist Leaders
|Player||Assists||Current Club||NHL Club|
|Evgeni Malkin||40||Metallurg Mag.||Pittsburgh Penguins|
|Linus Omark||32||EV Zug||Edmonton Oilers|
|Damien Brunner||29||EV Zug||Detroit Red Wings|
|Pavel Datsyuk||23||CSKA Moscow||Detroit Red Wings|
|John Tavares||23||SC Bern||New York Islanders|
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.