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News and Notes: Weekend Roundup

Ovechkin in China, Outstanding RFAs

NHL: JUN 25 Senators Development Camp Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Hope everyone is enjoying their August long weekend. This one’s going to be short, but there are a couple small notes to share:

  • Most of you have probably seen this since the Sens posted it on Thursday morning but if you haven’t, you must watch this video of Sens’ prospects playing ping pong. The team may be depressing, but the social media remains absolutely top notch.
  • Alex Ovechkin is in China right now on a trip as an ambassador for hockey and the NHL. The NHL’s long had eyes on expanding their viewership market, but it remains an extremely niche sport in the country. The Kunlun Red Star have played in the KHL since 2016, and the women’s national team has had moderate success on the international scene, but the participation rate remains minuscule: just more than 10,000 people were playing hockey in 2018. China’s very interested in radically improving their standing before the 2022 Olympics,
  • Lastly, this isn’t so much news as an on-going situation that deserves to be remarked upon: there’s a large number of young NHL stars that remain unsigned less than two months before the start of the season. Obviously Mitch Marner continues to garner the most attention but Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor, Matthew Tkachuk, Mikko Rantanen, Braydon Point, Brock Boeser and others. That’s a lot of dominoes left to fall. In a different world, we might actually see a real offer sheet or two but that seems basically impossible at this juncture. We’re still a long way from these players missing playing time but it’s a bit unusual and definitely something to keep an eye on.