The NHL lockout is on its way out the door, and many of the league's superstars are saying their goodbyes overseas and preparing for their journey back to North America.
According to NHL.com's Shawn P. Roarke, the NHL and the Players' Association have agreed to a tentative deal on a new collective bargaining agreement, which means that once the details are worked out, the players can return, and the 2013 season can be fired up.
The news has to be bittersweet for those NHLers showcasing their skills overseas and in various other leagues around the globe.
So for what looks to be one last time, we'll countdown the top plays of the week from our locked-out NHL superstars.
Alex Ovechkin has scored much more difficult goals throughout his career and will likely put away tougher ones in the future, but this one is the product of solid teamwork and a clinical finish.
Once again, Evgeni Malkin makes it look easy, demonstrating outstanding balance and vision on this goal against Slovan.
Malkin's team, Metallurg Magnitogorsk would lose in a shootout, but I have a feeling we haven't seen the last of the reigning Hart Memorial Trophy winner.
Vladimir Tarasenko had gone cold before scoring on this mean shot. There were plenty of bodies in the way, but there was no stopping this strike from the SKA St. Petersburg star.
Was there a little luck involved? Sure, but it's a highlight-reel finish nonetheless.
It's not rare for Malkin to make multiple appearances on our countdown of top plays, but especially not when he picks up a hat trick.
All three of Malkin's goals against Traktor were sweet, but together they are flat-out impressive. He scored every one of the team's goals in the shutout win.
You aren't going to see many shootout goals like this one from Red Army's Pavel Datsyuk.
Few have the confidence to even attempt such a shot, but if they did, they would likely miss or get stuffed by the goalie.
Datsyuk, however, is on a different level. This play is the definition of sick-nasty.
Reigning NHL MVP Evgeni Malkin has been a man among boys all season long for KHL club Metallurg Magnitogorsk, and if you don't believe me, just look at the numbers. Malkin leads all locked-out NHL stars overseas in points and assists.
Meanwhile, a pair of youngsters, Tyler Seguin and Damien Brunner have proven to be phenomenal goal scorers in Europe, but they have dealt with tremendous competition in Malkin, Alex Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk.
*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||65||Metallurg Mag.||Pittsburgh Penguins|
|Damien Brunner||57||EV Zug||Detroit Red Wings|
|Linus Omark||45||EV Zug||Edmonton Oilers|
|John Tavares||42||SC Bern||New York Islanders|
|Alex Ovechkin||40||Dynamo Moscow||Washington Capitals|
Top Five Goal Leaders
|Player||Goals||Current Club||NHL Club|
|Tyler Seguin||25||EHC Biel||Boston Bruins|
|Damien Brunner||25||EV Zug||Detroit Red Wings|
|Evgeni Malkin||23||Metallurg Mag.||Pittsburgh Penguins|
|Alex Ovechkin||19||Dynamo Moscow||Washington Capitals|
|Ilya Kovalchuk||18||SKA St. Petersburg||New Jersey Devils|
Top Five Assist Leaders
|Player||Assists||Current Club||NHL Club|
|Evgeni Malkin||42||Metallurg Mag.||Pittsburgh Penguins|
|Linus Omark||32||EV Zug||Edmonton Oilers|
|Damien Brunner||32||EV Zug||Detroit Red Wings|
|Pavel Datsyuk||25||CSKA Moscow||Detroit Red Wings|
|John Tavares||25||SC Bern||New York Islanders|
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