Gonchar Dealt to Dallas; Inks 2-year Deal

They say everything’s bigger in Texas, NHL contracts are no exception. With much talk about Sergei Gonchar’s imminent return to finish out his career in the KHL, many were surprised to learn the 39-year-old had been dealt to Dallas on Friday. Now comes word that Gonchar is set to sign a two-year deal with the Stars to remain stateside for a cool $10 million. The 19-year NHL veteran brings an incredible amount of experience to Texas where he joins his fifth team having spent time in Washington, Boston, Pittsburgh, and Ottawa.
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Comrades of the Night-Alex Kovalev and Sergei Gonchar

For the first time in our short history we have two comrades of the night as two of Russia’s most seasoned NHL vets had a memorable night up in Ottawa. Prior to face-off, the Senators honored Sergei Gonchar on his 1,000th game in the NHL by presenting him with a plaque, a silver stick, and a portrait. A video was also shown of his career and the various teams he played for including Washington, Boston, and Pittsburgh respectively.

Gonchar becomes just the fifth Russian (and third Sergei) in league history to surpass the plateau joining the likes of Sergei Fedorov, Alexei Zhitnik, Slava Kozlov, Sergei Zubov, and teammate Alex Kovalev. Kovalev will soon surpass Fedorov for most all-time games for a Russian-born NHLer needing just 11 more games. After being criticized in the early going of the season by GM Bryan Murray, Kovalev scored two goals and added an assist en-route to a 5-2 Ottawa win.
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SKA St.Petersburg Poach another, nab Grebeshkov

(Courtesy of John Russell/Getty Image)

For the second time in a decade Denis Grebeshkov has left the NHL for the motherland signing a two-year contract with the KHL’s SKA St.Petersburg. While the terms have not been released, it appears it is more than $3.15 million he made last year with the Nashville Predators. You may recall Grebeshkov first left the NHL and the New York Islanders in 2006-2007 opting to play for his hometown Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the now defunct Russian Super League.
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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.

Russia finally announces Olympic camp invitees

hockeyrussia

Today, Russia announced the list of players who will be invited to participate in the tryouts for the national team in the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. The team is almost split evenly between NHL players and KHL players as Russia looks for their third major title in as many years.

Most of the players who featured in the team’s 2009 World Championship campaign were invited along with those who were in the midst of a playoff series. Notably missing from the invitees are Nikolai Khabibulin, Slava Kozlov, and Sergei Mozyakin who lead the KHL in scoring with 76 points in 56 games.

Below is the list of the players who will be invited to the CSKA facilities in Moscow for the shot to restore national pride to a country who has not captured Olympic gold since the days of the Soviet Union.

The camp will be held Aug. 29-Sep. 1. Teams have until Dec. 30 to submit final rosters, although they can make injury substitutions up until Feb. 15, the day before the Olympic tournament begins in Vancouver.

Goaltenders
Ilya Bryzgalov (Phoenix Coyotes)
Alexander Eremenko (Salavat Yulaev Ufa, KHL)
Evgeni Nabokov (San Jose Sharks)
Simeon Varlamov (Washington Capitals)

Defensemen
Vitali Atyushov (Metallurg Magnitogorsk, KHL)
Sergei Gonchar (Pittsburgh Penguins)
Denis Grebeshkov (Edmonton Oilers)
Dmitri Kalinin (Salavat Yulaev Ufa, KHL)
Maxim Kondratiev (Salavat Yulaev Ufa, KHL)
Konstantin Korneyev (CSKA Moscow, KHL)
Andrei Markov (Montreal Canadiens)
Ilya Nikulin (Ak Bars Kazan, KHL)
Vitali Proshkin (Salavat Yulaev Ufa, KHL)
Oleg Tverdovsky (Salavat Yulaev Ufa, KHL)
Fedor Tyutin (Columbus Blue Jackets)
Vitali Vishnevsky (Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, KHL)
Anton Volchenkov (Ottawa Senators)
Alexei Zhitnik (Dynamo Moscow, KHL)
Sergei Zubov (Dallas Stars)

Forwards
Evgeny Artyukhin (Tampa Bay Lightning)
Maxim Afinogenov (Buffalo Sabres)
Konstantin Gorovikov (SKA St. Petersburg, KHL)
Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit Red Wings)
Danis Zaripov (Ak Bars Kazan, KHL)
Sergei Zinoviev (Salavat Yulaev Ufa, KHL)
Alexei Kovalev (Ottawa Senators)
Ilya Kovalchuk (Atlanta Thrashers)
Viktor Kozlov (Salavat Yulaev Ufa, KHL)
Nikolai Kulemin (Toronto Maple Leafs)
Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh Penguins)
Alexei Morozov (Ak Bars Kazan, KHL)
Alex Ovechkin (Washington Capitals)
Alexander Radulov (Salavat Yulaev Ufa, KHL)
Oleg Saprykin (Dynamo Moscow, KHL)
Alexander Semin (Washington Capitals)
Alexei Tereschenko (Ak Bars Kazan, KHL)
Sergei Fedorov (Metallurg Magnitogorsk, KHL)
Alexander Frolov (Los Angeles Kings)

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.