Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,
Another NHLer bolting east, or another NHL career coming to a close?
Unrestricted free agent Nikolai Antropov, who scored six goals and added 12 assists in 40 games played for the Winnipeg Jets last season, is bound for the KHL.
Antropov signed a two-year deal with Astana Barys, a KHL club based in his native Kazakhstan, the team announced Thursday.
59.ru (translated) talked with Ilya Bryzgalov at his goalie camp and while most questions were about the camp, he was asked about where he will be playing in the upcoming season,
I can not ask a "question of the fan": where we will see Ilya Bryzgalov in the 2013-14 season - in Russia or in foreign markets? Where would you most like to play?
- You know, good and there, and there. In Russia - a great professional league, it develops. Here, have a very good masters: Ilya Kovalchuk is back, there's Alexander Radulov and other players. And in the NHL is good too. And, ahead of the replica will say that it is not in finance. Who is more important than the same peace of mind. So answer me so hard. While - 50 to 50.
Former NHLer and Slovak national team forward Zigmund Palffy has called it quits, announcing his retirement from hockey.
"One morning is more beautiful than the previous one, and you have other opinions. At this point, I believe that I quit. Definitive. Already I do not want to travel anywhere. Did it enough," said the 41-year-old winger.
Palffy hung up his skates after the 2012/2013 season where he was the most productive player in Slovak Extraliga Tipsport, registering 83 points in just 48 games.
via RIA Novosti,
Russian former Columbus Blue Jackets forward Nikolai Zherdev has joined Lev Prague on a one-year deal, the Czech team announced Friday.
Zherdev, 28, has been a free agent since June 20, when he was let go by Atlant Moscow Region, the team he has been playing for since his return from North America in 2011.
"Nikolai talked to his family and specialists and decided that this option would be the best for him," Zherdev's agent Yury Nikolaev told R-Sport. "Lev provides Zherdev with awesome financial and living conditions."
Zherdev, a playmaking wing who led Atlant with 37 points in 39 appearances last season, was a surprise inclusion on the team's list of five players available to expansion franchise Admiral Vladivostok last month. Admiral, however, left the forward on the board, likely due to his 60 million rubles-per year salary ($1.85 million).
from RIA Novosti,
Ilya Kovalchuk, who shocked the hockey world last Thursday by abruptly retiring from the New Jersey Devils, has signed a four-year deal with SKA St. Petersburg, making him the first major Russian hockey star in his prime to defect from the NHL to the KHL.
The deal, announced by the club on Monday, signals a coup Russian hockey officials have been fighting for since the mid-1990s, when a wave of players left for North America, depleting a proud hockey nation of its prized talent.
"We're a team but as we know, the role of the individual in history is large so the main effort of the club this offseason was directed at Ilya Kovalchuk, one of the stars of the hockey world," SKA president Gennady Timchenko said in a statement released by the team.
"Ilya has already proven he's a true leader on the ice and off."
On the 2014 Sochi Olympics: “Even if I was offered a role (to promote the Games), I wouldn’t take it. At this point, I want nothing to do with Russian hockey. There are a lot of people who come to the hockey world in Russia who don’t have any idea. It’s all family relationships: ‘I got this job, I can get you a job on this team, too,’ and that person doesn’t know anything about hockey. It’s pretty much if you get hurt in the KHL, you get traded or bought out. You expect that. They’re not developing players or teams, they’re running a business.”
-Alex Kovalev. Read much more on and from Kovalev by Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette.
from the CP at CBC,
Most tend to believe it's an isolated incident, with two agents and one former agent and general manager singling out the once-in-a-generation circumstances that led to Kovalchuk leaving and the Devils permitting him to go without keeping his contract in place or preventing him from signing with a KHL team.
"I don't think it's an epidemic or anything like that," agent Mark Gandler said. "I think each person makes his decision based on the circumstances that he's in, based on his environment, his family, his upbringing."
When Kovalchuk decided to file his voluntary retirement papers, he all but blocked himself from returning to the NHL. Coming back would require him to sit out a year or get approval from all 30 teams.
"I think these are very unique circumstances," said agent J.P. Barry, who represents Malkin. "How many players would want to remove the NHL option from their future? Because by doing this voluntary retirement, they've essentially done that."
Malkin did not want to do that, and he had a choice to do so in the near future. The Pittsburgh star's current contract expired after the 2013-14 season, and Barry said there were multiple offers from KHL teams for Malkin's services.
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
We’ve been told for years that a day like this was coming.
Ever since the Kontinental Hockey League came into existence in 2008 and promptly brought Alexander Radulov and Jaromir Jagr over to Russia, the spectre of a rival league that could lure top-level talent away from the NHL hung over the hockey world.
Finally, the KHL has its poster boy.
That Ilya Kovalchuk is headed home in the prime of his career just months before the Olympic Games are held in Sochi, Russia is probably not a coincidence. The financial incentive for someone in his skates has never been greater; neither has the pressure from those with power and influence.
And even though there probably won’t be a flood of players chasing immediately behind him, one industry source with strong ties in Europe wondered aloud Thursday: “The big question is who is joining him?”
For now, that remains to be seen.
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