Ryan O’Byrne started this lockout in an assistant coaching position. He was working for his hometown Victoria Grizzlies.
Evidently, O’Byrne has grown tired of playing coach, and wants to get back to simply playing again. On Friday, the Florida Everblades announced that he had signed a contract with them. The Everblades, a team in the EHCL, are the reigning Kelley Cup Champions. O’Byrne is expected to be in the lineup for tonight’s contest. I don’t blame O’Byrne for wanting to play. This was his contract year with the Avalanche, and I think he’s realized that he’ll need to show the what he has to offer as a player in some fashion during this year. The Avs have too many defensemen under contract as it is, and I’m hoping that this move will convince the team to re-sign him if the season is lost. O’Byrne might not score a lot of points, but he’s a solid defenseman, and one of the players who really helped the penalty kill this season (particularly during 5 on 3 situations).
Paul Stastny has had continued success in Germany, he earned his sixth point in five games yesterday. The team recruited him to try and win some more games and move up in the standings, and they’ve won four games with him thus far. Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog have each ended their tiny scoring slumps. Duchene earned a goal and two assists in a big Frolunda win over Skelleftea, and Landeskog has earned an assist in each of Djugarden’s last two games.
Strangely, Semyon Varlamov has not played or even dressed for the last four games. In an interview with the Eurolanche, he said that he was unable to comment on why he was not playing, and he said that “everything is great” when they asked about potential injuries. I’m not sure why a team would sit a goalie who has some of the best statistics in the league, and I don’t know much about the KHL’s transparency policy when it comes to sitting players. Either way, it’s a little worrying that Varlamov is now missing out on games in the KHL too.