The man who put the St. Louis Blues back on the road to respectibility is leaving the NHL team.
John Davidson, the Blues president of hockey operations, has agreed to a buyout and will step down despite having three years and $6-million left on his contract, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He's been with the team for six years and is largely credited with turning around its fortunes.
The 59-year-old Ottawa native became a casualty of the ownership change with the team. The new ownership group, led by Tom Stillman, took over the team in May and began looking for ways to cut costs. Davidson's contract was deemed too expensive, the Post-Dispatch said.
Davidson joined the Blues in 2006 in a management role and quickly became the face of the franchise.
TWO MORE JUMP TO KHL
Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov and Florida Panthers defenceman Dmitry Kulikov signed Thursday with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the KHL.
Varlamov played in the Lokomotiv organization as a youngster -- he started at age 11 --and was with the top team for two years before joining the Washington Capitals in 2008. So this stay is a homecoming of sorts.
"I feel like I've never left the team," Varlamov said on the Lokomotiv website. "Four years have passed like one day."
Varlamov won a career-high 26 games last season with the Avs, putting together a 2.59 goals-against average and .913 save percentage.
Kulikov is a restricted free agent after failing to agree to a new contract with the Panthers before the lockout started.
THREE DANISH, PLEASE
Half the NHL's Danish contingent has signed with Finnish team Rauman Lukko.
Mikkel Boedker (Phoenix Coyotes), Frans Nielsen (New York Islanders) and Philip Larsen (Dallas Stars), three of the six Danes who play in the NHL, will play for the Finnish team during the lockout.
Nielsen had a career-best 17 goals and 30 assists last season while Boedker had 11 goals and 13 assists. Larsen spent part of the season in the AHL but had three goals and eight assists in 55 games with the Stars.
The Florida Panthers are still trying to entice season-ticket buyers, even though the 2012-13 season is on hold due to the players being locked out.
Doesn't matter to the Panthers, who have put together a gift-laden package that requires just a $100 deposit on season seats. Put down a C-note now, the promotion says, and you won't pay the remainder until games are actually played.
In addition, buyers get to choose from "at least five gifts," according to the Panthers website. Among the items available are the press-box experience with radio colour man Randy Moller, an office happy hour at a local establishment (with a $500 limit) and a one-day contract, which includes parking in the players' lot, access to the locker room and a personalized Panthers jersey.