Dmitry Chesnokov

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  • Getty ImagesAs impressive as the Toronto Maple Leafs were in their playoff series against the Boston Bruins, Mikhail Grabovski had a different experience. The forward had just two assists and was a minus-10 for the Leafs – a performance that came after a 9-goal, 7-assist one in 48 games this season.

    I spoke with Grabovski about the Leafs’ playoff run; whether Game 7 was his worst loss of his career; his season under coach Randy Carlyle; his Datsyukian goal attempt; his incident with Max Pacioretty; and what the future holds.

    Q. Let’s start with a couple of thoughts about the season.

    GRABOVSKI: “The season turned to be positive overall. I wouldn’t say it was the best one for me or very successful, but it was certainly interesting, I gained a lot of experience.”

    Yet it ended in a big disappointment. If you were asked to describe what happened in a few words, what would you say?

    “I would say… You know, it is so difficult to describe it, very difficult to talk about it. It left a very bad feeling. But it was still an experience. It showed that as a team we are not yet ready to compete for the Stanley Cup. At the same time, we are almost there.”

    Read More »from Mikhail Grabovski on biting Max Pacioretty; his disappointing Leafs postseason; losing Game 7 (Puck Daddy interview)
  • Ilya Bryzgalov praises Joseph Stalin, wants to ask Einstein about the universe

    Getty ImagesJust when you think Philadelphia Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov couldn’t get more, uh, interesting, he speaks about the virtues of Cold War leader and socialist icon Joseph Stalin while wondering what kind of conversation he’d have with Albert Einstein.

    From a much longer interview here with journalist Maria Rogovskaya that can be found here (ED NOTE: Since removed), Byrzgalov said:

    Q. All journalists try to interview you. And is there a person who you would like to talk to?

    “A lot of them are not alive anymore… I would love to talk to Genghis Khan, Stalin, Einstein.”

    Stalin is a very controversial figure. How do you feel about him?

    “Positive. I see logic in his action. Not without going too far, of course. But he came to power in a country that had just lived through a revolution. There were so many spies, enemies, traitors there. A lot of people still had guns after the civil war. The country was in ruins, [people] needed to survive somehow. The country needed to be rebuilt, and in

    Read More »from Ilya Bryzgalov praises Joseph Stalin, wants to ask Einstein about the universe
  • Tretiak: World Cup of Hockey set for a comeback in 2016

    Getty ImagesThe last World Cup of Hockey was held in 2004. A great hockey spectacle showcasing the world’s best players battling it out for their country was the successor of the equally historic Canada Cup that was held from 1976 to 1991. Since the last World Cup of Hockey there have been a few suggestions to bring the tournament back, especially in light of the desire of players involved to be able to play for their country at a high level tournament (no offence, IIHF World Championships).

    The NHL, the NHLPA and the IIHF got together in Sweden recently to negotiate a lot of items on their agenda, including the new player transfer agreement and NHL’s participation in Sochi. As we reported Friday, the NHL is set to announce their agreement to send players to Russia next February in the coming weeks. A tentative break in the next NHL season set between February 9 and February 25 is planned.

    But what we didn’t know is that the NHL is also set to revive the World Cup of Hockey. NHL.com’s Dan Rosen reported yesterday that the new player transfer agreement with the IIHF (minus Russia) included a provision for a cooperation for a World Cup of Hockey.

    And Saturday morning, Vladislav Tretiak, President of the Russian Hockey Federation who was present at the meetings with the NHL, told Sovetsky Sport that the World Cup of Hockey will indeed be back. The first after a long absence will be held in August of 2016 in the same format as the last one in 2004.

    Going through the rosters of the last World Cup, it is possible to see that a few players from each national team may play in 2016, like Alex Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk for Russia, Vincent Lecavalier for Canada, Zdeno Chara for Slovakia. It is also evident how the US goaltender situation has improved over the years after seeing Ty Conklin, Rick DiPietro and Robert Esche tending the net for Team USA in 2004.

    The resuscitation of the World Cup of Hockey also casts a shadow of a doubt of the NHL’s participation in any future Olympics beyond 2014 in Sochi.

    Read More »from Tretiak: World Cup of Hockey set for a comeback in 2016
  • NHL near agreement for Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics participation

    GettyOn Friday morning, the news broke that the NHL, the IIHF and the IOC and other interested parties are close to an agreement about the League’s participation in the Sochi Olympics next year.

    Executive Director of the Russian Hockey Federation Valeriy Fesyuk told Russian news agency RIA that the NHL may announce their participation as early as 10 days from now, after the conclusion of the IIHF World Championships that is being held in Sweden and Finland at this time. This is what Fesyuk said:

    Q. According to our information, there is a big meeting being held in Stockholm these days that includes representatives from the NHL. Is it so?

    FESYUK: “It is true, on Thursday there was a meeting with the NHL and the NHLPA. I think Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly came over. But that meeting was attended by the President of the Russian Hockey Federation Vladislav Tretiak [representing Russia], therefore, unfortunately, I don’t know all of the details. I only know that the meeting was about removing the last obstacles before the Olympics. These are small details: For example, the NHL is asking to designate a special area for family interactions, as well as, apparently, asking for some kind of assistance with insurance.”

    So, this means that the yes or no answer whether NHL players will come to Sochi was not sought?

    “No, it doesn’t matter here anymore. The North Americans want to secure more favorable conditions – that’s true. But the fact that the NHL will participate in the Olympics is not in doubt.”

    Read More »from NHL near agreement for Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics participation
  • Ilya Bryzgalov on Philly media: ‘Not really bullying, but pure unprofessionalism’

    Getty Images

    Ilya Bryzgalov talks to SovSport's Pavel Lysenkov and KHL.RU's Alexander Shevchenko about Philly media. The text is taken from the video on the page.

    At one point I think I started feeling sorry for Bryz, because he was just being sincere and people make fun of his unreasonably. But that's just my opinion.

    Here's the conversation:

    Q. Is there a serious longstanding conflict between the Philadelphia media and yourself?

    BRYZ: “A conflict? A “broken telephone” exists everywhere. I’d say we have a very complex relationship.”

    It seems at times that you skillfully change topics. They try to tell you that the price doesn’t reflect the quality, and you try to steer the conversation in a direction different from the questions asked. You tell them they don’t understand hockey, and they are trying to figure out your game. Is this the cause of the misunderstanding?

    “Perhaps. It is very possible. They, journalists, are not the ones who should be worried when the price doesn’t reflect the quality. The management should be worried about that, and not journalists. They are not the ones paying me out of their pocket.”

    What about the awkward rumor that you fell asleep during a team meeting? We in Russia laughed a little, of course. But how did you react to it?

    “How could I react to that? It is just stupidity. They just started writing ridiculous things. What can you do? It got to the point when they started collecting who knows what.”

    It looks like bullying.

    “Not really bullying, but pure unprofessionalism.”

    Why wouldn’t you approach one of the wiser, experienced ones to stop this?

    “It is impossible. Because…. I don’t think they would ever want this…”

    Read More »from Ilya Bryzgalov on Philly media: ‘Not really bullying, but pure unprofessionalism’
  • Getty ImagesThe Kharlamov Trophy is presented each year by Sovetsky Sport to the best Russian player in the NHL. Players themselves get to vote, picking the best three.

    (The only players who didn’t vote were Alexander Semin and Ilya Bryzgalov, who said he doesn’t watch hockey and, therefore, can’t cast a vote).

    This year it was a close three-horse race with Pavel Datsyuk edging out Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin and Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. Datsyuk won the Kharlamov Trophy two years ago.

    It was a difficult season for Datsyuk and the Detroit Red Wings. But one was almost certain that Pavel would come through with his magic. No wonder Siri knows only one “magic man”.

    Last year’s Kharlamov Trophy winner Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin summed it all up:

    “Pasha is always my number one. With the way he skates, his hands, his skills. Datsyuk is the player to imitate.”

    Sovetsky Sport’s Pavel Lysenkov caught up with Datsyuk early last week to tell him the good news.

    DATSYUK: “Thanks to all the players who voted for me,” Datsyuk said. “But Ovechkin and Bobrovsky had a great season as well. It was a tough start for Alex, some bad things were said about him. I am happy that Ovechkin proved the critics wrong. Sergei [Bobrovsky] came to Columbus, settled down, and his team got to the great level. They were a half point short, just like in chess, of making the playoffs. And the rise of Bobrovsky started this season with SKA [in the KHL]…”

    How would you rate this season?

    “The season is still on. But it’s great that Detroit made the playoffs. Although the year was a tough one for us.”

    Read More »from Pavel Datsyuk on winning the Best Russian in NHL award, Twitter fame and future in the KHL
  • Tell Alex Ovechkin where Maria Kirilenko is sitting or he’ll destroy locker room

    RMNBAlex Ovechkin is engaged to tennis star Maria Kirilenko, and she’s been credited with taming the Washington Capitals captain while also inspiring him.

    She hopes her presence in the arena makes Ovechkin a better player in the ice, as she recently said in an interview via SovSport.

    But if Ovechkin knows she’s there but can’t locate her seat … well, just make sure everything in the Capitals dressing room is nailed down.

    From SovSport, a quick Q&A with Kirilenko:

    Surely the first time you came to a hockey game was to root for Alex?

    "Elena Dementieva invited me to come and told me that her husband Max Afinogenov was playing. She invited me to root for her husband."

    Do you like hockey?

    "I like hockey, when Sasha [Alex Ovechkin] is playing. But watching hockey just because it's not something [I like]..."

    Could you describe the feeling when your amoure is on the ice? This is a special feeling for sure.

    "Of course, especially when the game is tough, tense, when he is playing incredibly...

    Read More »from Tell Alex Ovechkin where Maria Kirilenko is sitting or he’ll destroy locker room
  • Getty ImagesOn Saturday afternoon, a group of Russian hockey legends squared off against New Jersey Devils alumni at Prudential Center in a charity game to benefit Hurricane Sandy relief for the Garden State.

    Among the players for the Russian side: Alexei Yashin, the former Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders star who is now the GM/assisting coach for the Russian National Women’s Team.

    I spoke with Alexei Yashin Friday morning about the event and other hockey topics, including his retirement:

    Q. Alexei, you are a long time New York resident, did Sandy affect you and your family?

    YASHIN: “Yes, we do own a house in New York. But fortunately for us the circumstances were such that we were very lucky that our house didn’t suffer any damage. The only thing we lost were about 20 trees on our property.

    "But this is nothing comparing to what other people lost and went through – some of them lost absolutely everything. That’s why I am really happy that I have this opportunity to help people by playing in the charity game.”

    Maybe there is a particular story that touched you the most about Sandy?

    “It was all very difficult, and I watched a lot of reports on TV at the time… In particular I remember a report about a hundred houses or so lost in one neighborhood due to a huge fire. It was really scary to see the amount of damage that hurricane brought. And that’s the reason I hope the game will help raise funds to restore communities.”

    Read More »from Alexei Yashin on retirement, future of women’s hockey, and Mike Milbury (Puck Daddy Interview)
  • Hockey Canada clears Nail Yakupov to play in KHL

    Getty ImagesLast week we reported a story about Nail Yakupov and his problems securing an international transfer card that would allow him to play in Russia for Neftekhimik of the KHL. The IIHF reacted quite angrily, and the next day the organization announced that all of the pending transfer cards have been approved. But this was not the case at all. Hockey Canada on behalf of Sarnia Sting, the club Yakupov was assigned to just before the lockout was announced, blocked Yakupov's transfer card.

    [Nicholas J. Cotsonika: Collusion question goes to the heart of NHL lockout]

    Yakupov himself Tweeted that he would play again for Neftekhimik soon. His father publically stated, "my son will not go to Sarnia. Even if he is (disqualified from the KHL), he will continue training in Nizhnekamsk."

    Vladislav Tretiak of the Russian Hockey Federation and Bob Nicholson of Hockey Canada discussed the matter during the IIHF congress in Tokyo, Japan this week. A round of negotiations was also scheduled for Friday of this week. And now we have a resolution.

    From Hockey Canada:

    "Hockey Canada and the Russian Ice Hockey Federation have announced that the OHL has determined that Yakupov had no independent legal advice when, at the age of 17 years old, he signed his contract with Sarnia. His release goes into effect immediately."

    The KHL issued the following statement on its website:

    "Thanks to a constructive dialog and joined efforts of KHL president Alexander Medvedev, Russian Hockey Federation Vladislav Tretiak and Hockey Canada President Bob Nicholson, an agreement has been reached regarding forward Nail Yakupov's play for Neftekhimik. Kontinental Hockey League points out the flexibility and the understanding of the Edmonton [Oilers] and the Sarnia [Sting] hockey clubs during the negotiation process. Nail Yakupov may resume playing for Neftekhimik on Monday, October 1 in a game against Dynamo Moscow."

    Yakupov will face off against Alex Ovechkin and Dynamo Moscow on Monday. But this was an unpleasant situation for all involved. A number of years ago the Sting were reportedly involved in a legal battle with the Colorado Avalanche over where certain players may be assigned, even winning an injunction against the Avs, prompting Colorado to settle with the OHL club for $26,000. It is unclear from the KHL statement if any compensation has been paid to resolve this matter.

    Read More »from Hockey Canada clears Nail Yakupov to play in KHL
  • Nail Yakupov locked out of Russia by Hockey Canada?

    GettyIn two games with Neftekhimik Nizhnekams of the KHL, Edmonton Oilers rookie Nail Yakupov had zero points and was a minus-1.

    So maybe they won't miss him if Hockey Canada is able to keep the No. 1 overall pick in last summer's NHL Draft out of Russia during the lockout.

    The KHL announced on Tuesday that Yakupov is "temporarily" unable to play for Neftekhimik because of an IIHF investigation into his transfer to the League.

    The KHL's Director of Sports Event Management Dmitry Kurbatov told Sportbox.ru that Yakupov temporarily cannot play in Russia until the IIHF determines the legitimacy of his transfer:

    "The IIHF initiated this whole process," Kurbatov said. "Currently the IIHF is determining the legitimacy of Yakupov's transfer to the KHL. His current status in the NHL, the AHL and the KHL is raising questions. While the investigation is ongoing, in accordance with the Regulations we cannot allow a player to play in our league. I hope this problem will be resolved in the coming days."

    The move by Hockey Canada not to approve the ITC comes from Sarnia, it appears, as the Edmonton Oilers officially assigned Yakupov to play there. It is unclear whether this was done before or after Yakupov's agent Igor Larionov negotiated for the Oilers to allow Yakupov to play in the KHL.

    (Buzzing The Net, Yahoo! Sports' Junior Hockey Blog, has more on the Sarnia angle.)

    Yakupov has also been very vocal as far as where he wanted to play. This move by Hockey Canada may now trigger KHL's reaction that could affect a lot of young Russian players who want to play in Canada.

    Read More »from Nail Yakupov locked out of Russia by Hockey Canada?

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