As Darren posted earlier, there was tragic news out of Russia today when it was reported that a plane carrying members of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl KHL hockey team crashed into the Volga River shortly after take-off from Yaroslavl, Russia (about 150 miles northeast of Moscow). Only 2 of the 45 people aboard the flight survived. The plane was flying to Minsk, Belarus, where the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team was to play their season opener against Dinamo Minsk on Thursday. The cause of the crash is unknown.

Devils prospect Alexander Vasyunov and former Devils defenseman Karel Rachunek were among those who died in the plane crash. Vasyunov was one of the many Devils prospects who were called up from Albany to fill vacancies on the Devils’ roster during the 2010-2011 season. He played 18 NHL games for the Devils. Rachunek played in 47 games for the Devils during the 2007-2008 season.

Also among those killed were former NHLers Pavol Demitra, Ruslan Salei and Brad McCrimmon. Forward Alexander Galimov and a crew member are the two survivors, and both are reportedly in critical condition with severe burns. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of the family members and friends of those who have been affected by this tragedy.