Trending Topics is a new column that looks at the week in hockey according to Twitter. If you don't know about Twitter, get with the times old man. Or at least consider this your Twitter news catch-all so you don't have to sign up.
Hitchcock didn't like Filatov's commitment to defense or overall game, no matter how often he scored, and Filatov became disgruntled tothe point he was loaned back to a Russian team.
Well, thanks to the Twitter feed of Columbus Dispatch super-reporter Aaron Portzline, we not only got the news that he would be returning to Columbus (presumably because Hitchcock was driven to the city limits and deposited on the side of the road), but that he has already returned to Columbus, a full six weeks ahead of training camp.
So what does this mean for Filatov? Well, you'd have to think a player with his offensive capabilities will get a crack at some high-quality minutes. He says he's put on 14 pounds of muscle since last he set foot in the Western Hemisphere, and he did post some decent numbers afterreturning to Russia last year.
Hell, you wouldn't know it from his NHL stats the past two seasons (21 games, six goals, no assists), but he scored pretty effectively here too. Those six goals came in just 170 minutes of ice time, because he averaged 8:07.5 per game, much to his own bewilderment. He had a better goals per 60 minutes last year than some fellow named Steven Stamkos(notes). He led the league in that category the year before. And sure, sample size obviously comes into play there, but the point is that most NHL coaches would give a guy that scored a hat trick in his eighth-ever game more ice time the next night, but Hitchcock never did.
Instead, it seems he simply didn't like what Filatov brought to the table. And while the exact reasons why may never be full known (hint: it rhymes with "refence"). He is, however, hopeful that Scott Arniel, who has a good reputation even among Russian players, will be less of a taskmaster.
Of course, Arniel also pointed out that he's not the only one Filatov needs to win over. His teammates are more than a little pissed at him for how he talked about - or, to hear Filatov tell it, was misquoted about - them in the press.
Will he make the Blue Jackets offense, that couldn't put a puck in the water from the end of a dock last year, better? Yeah, he almost certainly will.
But why should you, as a person who almost certainly has no craps to give about the Columbus Blue Jackets care? Because a) Filatov's gonna pot at least 25 goals next year if Arniel gives him a shot, and b) he is the first somewhat major Russian to go back to the KHL then return to North America, and he actually made it sound rather unpleasant, noting that he only really enjoyed the first eight or 10 games of the 26 he played. That could have larger implications in the war between the KHL and NHL going forward, as several other Russians have, I believe, referred to the former as an "old man's league."
The more negative press that league gets from Russian-born players, the better the NHL's chances of getting and keeping the many talented prospects it produces.
That's great news for the league.
The continued adventures of NHLers on Twitter
We've got another new NHL player on Twitter, this time it's everyone's favorite Anaheim hold-out, Bobby Ryan(notes) (@b_ryan9). Following him will give you all sorts of information about how bad Kent Huskins(notes) is at skating and his exact opinion on Katy Perry.
Hard-hitting reporting comes to Twitter
Look, I obviously disagree with the rockheads who comment that Twitter is not of any importance and has no bearing on hockey (and you're stupid and wrong if you agree with them). However, if this is what's to become of journalism, I am a sad boy.
Legendary L.A. Times hockey scribe Helene Elliott took advantage of Bobby Ryan's newfound love of the medium to ask, "@b_ryan9 so when are you gonna sign?"
Shockingly she did not get a response.
It seems no one was more upset at this supposed Brett Favre retirement/maybe-not-retirement than our ol' buddy Commie, who's one of the genuinely awesome guys in the sport.
"Wasted money on a lebron and farve jersey...cavs and packers..." said Commodore. "I should buy a biz nasty jersey to change my luck."
A wiser decision could not be made by a man.
I did not envy Devils beat reporter Tom Gulitti this week. What with the Kovalchuk hearing and all, he was in tough to get some info before the arbitrator's decision is announced. But that's not to say he didn't try.
First he spoke to Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek about the hearing. Vanderbeek said he didn't attend, wasn't asked to attend, didn't know who did, couldn't speak to who testified, didn't know what the ruling would be, wouldn't say what he thought the ruling would be, and wouldn't discuss what would happen to Kovalchuk's rights should the ruling go against the team.
Lou Lamoriello, you'll be shocked to learn, was also mum on the subject, refusing to discuss the hearing, or even confirming that he attended.
So yeah, lots of movement there.
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