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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Slava Fetisov to play with CSKA Moscow at 51

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On Thursday it was announced that former Soviet Union and NHL great Slava Fetisov would come out of retirement and suit up for CSKA Moscow of the KHL at the age of 51. Fetisov last played in a competitive match in 1998 when he was 40.

Fetisov, who serves as a lawmaker for the Federation Council of Russia as well as president of CSKA will feature in the team’s line-up on Friday against SKA St.Petersburg. According to head coach and also former NHL player Sergei Nemchinov, Fetisov will be filling in for a defenseman who is already injured.

Referred to as the Russian Bobby Orr, Fetisov captured two Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings and one as an assistant coach with the New Jersey Devils where he would also play prior to joining the Wings in 1995.

It is unclear whether he will play for the rest of the season but it is certainly exciting to see one of hockey’s most decorated and respected players lace up his skates once again.

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.