Kaspar to Coach, Gonchar to Stay, Volchenkov to Go?


A relatively busy day in the realm of Russian hockey this Monday afternoon when it comes to defensemen as newsworthy headlines have appeared throughout today’s blogosphere. The biggest is of former NHL player Darius Kasparaitis retiring from his KHL club SKA St. Petersburg in order to become an assistant coach with the team he spent his last playing days with.
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Vladimir Zharkov Makes NHL Debut with Devils

i(Courtesy of Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

On Saturday afternoon the New Jersey Devils defeated the New York Islanders with a score of 6-1 at Prudential Center. Making his NHL debut for the Devils was 6’1 winger Vladimir Zharkov. Already nicknamed Sharky the 21-year-old Elektrostal native registered five shots on goal in 14 minutes of ice-time.

Zharkov was called up from the AHL due to the team’s loss of David Clarkson who broke his right leg a few days ago. Zharkov impressed teammates and head coach Jacques Lemaire who expects the Russian to “be a player” and this could be a sign of things to come for the Devils newest call-up.

The Bulin Wall heads to oil country

article_20383_2(courtesy of The Hockey News)

Nikolai Ivanovich Khabibulin has become the first Russian to sign a new contract for the 2009 off-season. The Sverdlovsk native will not be returning to Chicago where he has spent the last 4 years of his career opting to sign with the Edmonton Oilers instead.

Khabibulin signed a 4-year deal worth $15 million and will get $3.5 per season. Bulin is one win shy of 300 for his career and at 36, will bring experience to Edmonton who lost goalie Dwayne Roloson,39,to the Islanders just hours before.

This will be his fifth team after backstopping Winnipeg, Phoenix, Tampa Bay(where he won a cup) and of course Chicago respectively. Oilers fans will be happy to him between the pipes against the much hated Calgary Flames in the Battle of Alberta who he and the hawks disposed of in playoffs in April.

In the 40 games he started last year, Bulin went 25-8-7 with a 2.33 goals-against average and .919 save percentage. He should have no problem adjusting to the harsh winters Edmonton has to offer as it not too cold from his native city of Sverdlovsk now Yekaterinburg.