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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russians Opt for Minors

NEW YORK () -- New York Rangers center Alexei Kovalev and Buffalo Sabres defenseman Dennis Tsgourov have found another unique way to tackle boredom and hone their skills in the absence of an NHL season.

The Russian-born pair hooked up with Russian league champions Lada for the team's three-game exhibition tour against clubs from the U.S. Central Hockey League, a minor league professional circuit.

"Lada promised all their players an apartment (in Russia) and a Lada car for one year if they won" all the games on the tour, said Kovalev, one of the first Russians ever to have his name engraved on the Stanley Cup.

Despite tired legs, Kovalev scored three goals and set up three more for a six-point night in Lada's 12-1 rout of the CHL champion Wichita Thunder on Thursday. Kovalev had a goal and an assist on Friday as Lada downed the Tulsa Oilers 8-0. On Saturday, Lada beat the Oklahoma City Blazers 6-2, so now it should be time for the club to ante up.

In Toronto, The Canadian Press said the NHL will announce a revised schedule of 76 or 74 games this week. An 84-game season was to have begun Oct. 1, but the owners delayed the start, saying they want a collective bargaining agreement in place.