Now all Pittsburgh needs to do is bring back these atrocious uniforms.

This would usually be the part where I strut with my head held high, claiming to have called Alex Kovalev’s move back to Pittsburgh. That won’t happen for two reasons:

  1. Even a sleepwalking Eklund could have dreamed up this one.
  2. Shortly after informing you of Kovalev’s possible return to the place where his flowing golden locks became famous, I wrote this…

Kovalev could be re-united with the Steel City, but only if you enjoy taking stock in loosely sourced rumours. That practice pretty much fits alongside maple syrup and usage of the word “eh” as far as Canadian cultural identity goes around the trade deadline.

Kind of blew a hole in my foot there, eh?

On the day he turned 38, the master of hockey training videos teaching Pee Wee kids to flip pucks onto the top of the net while kneeling down at centre ice returns to the city where he once teamed up with Jaromir Jagr. Next on Ray Shero’s list is to coax Darius Kasparaitis out of retirement, fetch Jagr and Jiri Slegr from overseas, and strap some pads on Tom Barrasso’s legs.

He may also want to escort Kovalev to the nearest time machine, because this latest model of the former Russian sniper is a little old and dusty. Clearly no is expecting the Kovalev that skated around the Igloo circa 1998 and scored 347 points over 345 games during his first stint in Pittsburgh. But although his bones may be brittle, and his stride that much slower, Kovalev still possesses some offensive flare when he chooses to show it.

Since some fellows named Crosby and Malkin are still out of the lineup, the Pens will take whatever flare they can get their hands on right about now. Between today’s acquisition of Kovalev and the trade Sunday that added James Neal, the Pittsburgh offence welcomes two players with a combined 35 goals this season, showing everyone that it really does take two sets of hands to equal Sidney Crosby’s production.

Crosby has 32 goals, which amazingly still puts him fourth overall amongst the NHL’s leaders even though he’s now missed 21 games with his lingering concussion.

The rest of Thursday’s trades (so far)

  • Vertigo is defined as the feeling that “you or your environment are spinning.” It’s also defined as a very bad prognosis for your starting all-star goaltender. Right, Jonas Hiller? Heeding the doctor’s words, the Ducks traded backup goalie Curtis McElhinny to Tampa Bay for Dan Ellis. Add not being able to earn a starting job and remain on a team for the whole season to Dan Ellis’ list of problems.
  • Depleted all year on the back end with season-ending injuries to Andrei Markov and Josh Gorges, Montreal continued to acquire some much needed defensive depth. After adding Paul Mara earlier this week, the Habs sent Ben Maxwell and a fourth round pick to Atlanta for veteran blueliner Brent Sopel. Left winger Nigel Dawes, who has appeared in only nine games this season, was also shipped to Montreal in the deal.

Hot stove still burning bright

  • Just when the ridiculous Brad Richards trade proposals were starting to roll in, it looks like the injured centre will likely be staying in Dallas.
  • Both Paul Stastny and John Michael-Liles sat out practice today for the Avalanche. It’s Feb.24, so sitting out practice always means you’ll be practicing somewhere else soon. Always.
  • Bryan McCabe is well aware that he’s on the trade block, but the Panthers haven’t presented an offer or asked him to waive his no-trade clause.
  • Bryan Murray took a break from writing tickets out of town earlier this week to sit down with J.P Berry, Chris Phillips’ agent. Barry told ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun that the possibility of a contract extension for Phillips is still being discussed, and Murray is busy weighing the value of keeping the veteran defencman around for Ottawa’s re-build versus his value on the trade market.