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Morning Flurries: Mironov with something to say, Coyotes surging

Andrei Mironov heads back to Russia, the Western Conference sees a shakeup

NHL: New York Islanders at Colorado Avalanche Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Andrei Mironov joined the Colorado Avalanche on May 12, 2017, signing a two-year deal with the club that included a European assignment clause.

Despite this, the 23-year-old defenseman - taken as a fourth-round pick by the team in 2015, and hopefully close to hitting the NHL on a more regular basis before the end of his deal - returned to Russia at the start of March, spending less than a full year officially in Colorado’s system before getting bought out by the team. [Mile High Hockey]

When a player has a European assignment clause in their contract, it makes it relatively easy for their team to let them return to their home country if they so desire, retaining their rights in North America while giving them a chance to play back overseas for whatever reason.

Teams have used this in the past, generally with goaltenders who need additional playing time that they weren’t getting in the minors - so in theory, it would have been easy enough to keep Mironov with the team while letting him return home if there was a relationship there to salvage.

Instead, the two severed all ties, allowing Mironov to return to Russia less than a month after the Olympic games with what sounds like some less-than-savory feelings towards the club.

In an interview conducted back in Russia, Mironov made it clear that he wanted out due to a perception that there was no chance he would get any NHL playing time, no matter what. He described it in a less-than-flattering light for the Avalanche, loosely implying that the team would rather ‘ice a defenseman with one leg’ than call him up to fill in one of their many injury-related holes.

It’s important to remember that when players part in situations like this, it’s never totally cut and dry, and we have no idea how the Avalanche feel about everything (or how Mironov expressed his concerns to the team, for example). But after a few players left with similar issues a few years back, we find ourselves hoping this is a one-off, rather than a continuing issue from years past. [MHH]

Looking around Colorado hockey, though, here’s a look at how Denver managed to execute a great comeback against Miami this weekend. [MHH]

We’ve also got a pretty neat story that we found from our friends from across the pond over at Eurolanche!

Oh - and not to get too lazy with the entire tweet inserts, but HAVE YOU SEEN SPENCER MARTIN’S GEAR?

I’m a few days late on this. I really don’t care. There is so much to love about this that I don’t even know where to begin.

We can only hope that using the same Bauer OD1N 2S gear that Henrik Lundqvist uses will help Martin be more... Lundqvist-esque. But even if if doesn’t, we can love it from afar anyways.

Around the league, we’ve got a suspiciously strong Coyotes record for the 2018 calendar year to talk about.

Since the new year, Arizona has gone 11-7-5, good for 27 points out of a possible 46 and a .590 points percentage in that span. If they had been playing at this pace all season, they’d be headed for a 96-point pace over 82 games, putting them well within the thick of the current Western Conference playoff race.

Obviously, every season has poor stretches and fatigue, so likely they would have fallen back to earth at some point, and a 90-ish point pace would seem more reasonable, if not a little lower.

But after starting the year with an 11-game loss during the absence of starting goaltender Antti Raanta and top defensemen Niklas Hjalmarsson and Jakob Chychrun, it’s worth wondering; with a healthy roster next year, could Arizona be a legitimate contender?

Here’s a neat story on Jessica Platt, who is one of the few openly transgender athletes (and the first in the CWHL). [Globe and Mail]

Finally, let’s end with a collaboration from two of my favorite people - elite hockey goddess Hilary Knight and elite overenthusiastic comedian Leslie Jones: