A Russian Bargain…Or Lack Thereof

Alexander Frolov was drafted 20th overall in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft by the Los Angeles Kings.  With hopes riding high on the young Russian, he broke into the NHL in the 2002-03 season scoring 31 points in 79 games.  His point totals continued to increase over the next few years notching 20+ goals in six straight seasons.  

After signing a 5 year deal beginning the 2005-06 season and despite putting up very good numbers, the Los Angeles Kings soon found out that Frolov did not fit the mold or the direction the Kings were going in.  At the same time, Frolov new that he was not a good fit for LA after his contract expired.
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Zherdev arrives in the Nik of time

It is ironic that Nikolai Zherdev left for the KHL last season after having some top-notch years under his belt in the NHL (Three 50+ point seasons to be exact).  It is ironic Nikolai Zherdev after only one year of KHL play, he decided he wanted to come back to the league that shunned him away.  It is ironic that Nikolai Zherdev has come back to North America with a new attitude that couldn’t even be altered by the likes of Sergei Fedorov in his time with the Jackets.  It is even more ironic that the team willing to take the gamble to acquire him didn’t have a great deal of cap room and has been known not to have an affinity for Eastern Europeans throughout their team’s history.

Questions surrounding Nikolai Zherdev’s work ethic and ability to adhere to the teams style of play have always been brought up ever since he was drafted 4th overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2004.  Zherdev was never the guy to play by anyone’s rules.  The world was his oyster and it revolved around him 24/7/365.  His production, or, in 2006-07, the lack thereof, ranked higher on his pedestal than the benefit and progression of his team as a whole.  So why, on Earth, would a player with his talent, skillset, vision, as well as his lack of drive, want to come back to a league that had put red flags around his name since he boarded his plane for a one-way ticket back to the KHL?
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Where will Kovy Land? The FRWG Edition

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As we slowly approach week two of Kovy watch 2010 the most sought after free agent of this summer not named Lebron James has yet to pick a team. As much as VERSUS or the NHL network would probably love to air his decision live, I can’t see that happening. It would mean hockey being recognized as a legit sport in this country by those who can only pay attention once a week to their beloved team but I digress.
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Nikolai Zherdev, Coming to America(Again)

zherdev(Courtesy of The Hockey News)

After taking a year off from top hockey in the KHL, former New York Rangers winger Nikolai Zherdev returns to the NHL signing with rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers. Zherdev who originally started his pro career with the Columbus Blue Jackets comes back to the league having spent time with Atlant Moscow Oblast in Russia’s KHL last year.
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Evgeni Nabokov says Da to SKA

nabby33(Courtesy of The Hockey News)

On Wednesday, former San Jose goalie Evgeni Nabokov signed a deal with the Kontinental Hockey League’s SKA St.Petersburg for a reported $24 million contract for the next four years. With the hockey world waiting and watching as the Ilya Kovalchuk saga continued to unfold, the league quietly lost one of it’s elite net-minders who opted to go to a team that would meet his demands financially even if it meant playing in the old country.
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Dominator Officially Signs with KHL’s Spartak Moscow (Updated)

IHOCKEY-RUSSIA-CZECH-SPARTAK-HASEK(Courtesy of Getty Images)

According to reports out of Russia, hockey legend Dominik Hasek has signed a one-year contract with Spartak Moscow of the KHL. The 45-year-old who spent his time in the NHL with Chicago, Buffalo, Ottawa, and Detroit comes to the KHL fresh off a championship with HC Moeller Pardubice of the Czech Exraliga where he was voted MVP of the playoffs.
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NHL Set to Return to Russian Soil

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It has been 20 years since the NHL ventured to Mother Russia when the Minnesota North Stars and Montreal Canadiens took on the likes of the Soviet National team. Now prior to the official start of the 2010-2011 NHL season the league has arranged for both the Phoenix Coyotes and Carolina Hurricanes to take on KHL clubs in Moscow and Riga, Latvia before the season kicks off in Finland and the Czech Republic.
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Canucks sign Sergei Shirokov from CSKA

eb7d722035ae67685a10f8518fdd1b47(courtesy of The KHL)

TSN.ca is reporting that the Vancouver Canucks have come to terms with right-winger Sergei Shirokov from the KHL’s CSKA Moscow. The 23-year-old who skated with the youth Moscow club since he was 15 comes to the NHL after posting 41 points in 56 games last season. While in the farm system Shirokov recorded 80 points in 66 games in 2003-2004 with 39 goals and 41 assists.

Shirokov was drafted in the sixth round of the 2006 NHL draft after receiving the pick from the Florida Panthers along with Roberto Luongo. He is the newest Sergei to feature in the NHL which means the demand is down to 1 to replace Fedorov and Zubov.

Sergei Zubov signs with SKA St. Petersburg

article_27238_2(courtesy of The Hockey News)

On Thursday, Sergei Alexandrovich Zubov opted not to sign with a NHL club but rather in his homeland inking a contract with SKA St. Petersburg. Considered by many one of the greatest offensive defensemen in the history of the NHL, Zubov leaves the league with 771 points in 1068 games. He is the NHL’s all-time leading scorer among Russian-born defensemen and 7th overall.

Zubov started his NHL career with the New York Rangers where he was the first ever defenseman to lead a team in scoring and one of the first Russian’s to lift the Stanley Cup in 1994 . After spending a season with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Zubov was traded to the Dallas Stars where he would spend the next decade manning the blue line. He would capture his second cup in 1999 and pick up his first Norris Trophy nomination in 2006. He would also become the team’s all-time leading scorer for defensemen.

Zubov suffered a sports hernia injury early last season and only featured in 10 games. Rumors linked him to various clubs around the NHL but the KHL must have offered more to the recently turned 39-year-old.

He becomes the latest Russian NHL player to return home following Viktor Kozlov, Sergei Fedorov, and Dmitri Kalinin. He will join former NHL players such as Robers Esche, Sergei Brylin, and Darius Kasparaitis.

Sergei Fedorov back in the USSR?

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According to Russian media sources, Sergei Fedorov, of the Washington Capitals has agreed to principal to play for two seasons in the KHL for a reported $3.8 million per season. Earlier we reported that the 39-year-old Fedorov sounded set on returning to the Caps but it looks like he will be joining Metallurg Magnitogorsk.

If he does in fact leave he would be the all-time point leader for a Russian born player in NHL history with 1,179 points. According to Caps beat writer Tarik El-Bashir, Fedorov’s people are waiting for a counter offer from the team. It is also plausible that Viktor Kozlov will too go back to Russia with reports suggesting he is destined for St.Petersburg