Dmitry Chesnokov

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  • 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.”

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  • 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?
  • Getty ImagesAlexander Semin has one of the most unfavorable reps in the NHL, whether he deserves it or not. Who can forget Marc Crawford and Pierre McGuire ranting about him and throwing strong words when talking about Semin this summer?

    In the last few days, quite a few of his countrymen went to play in Russia while the negotiations between the NHL and the NHLPA over a new CBA are ongoing. Semin was linked to a few clubs in the KHL, but decided to take a different route.

    On Tuesday morning, the Russian Major Hockey League (a farm league for KHL clubs) announced that Alexander Semin agreed on a contract to play for Sokol, a team based in his home town.

    In the press release the team said Semin "will play a few games for Sokol Krasnoyarsk," and will make his debut on Sept. 28.

    "I just wanted to be at home a little more. And then the possibility came after the lockout was announced in the NHL. I decided to stay in Krasnoyarsk. That's all. My family was surprised at first, but then became very supporting. Everyone was very happy," he told Pavel Lysenkov of Sovietsky Sport.

    "I don't care what anyone says. I made the decision for myself. I am going to play for Sokol. A different question is I don't know how long I will play in Krasnoyarsk."

    Read More »from Why Alex Semin decided to play virtually for free in Russian minor league during NHL lockout
  • Nail Yakupov, other NHL players facing IIHF transfer card controversy in Europe

    Getty ImagesAs the NHL locked out its players, Nail Yakupov, taken first overall in the 2012 NHL Draft by the Edmonton Oilers, flew back to his home town of Nizhnekamsk and agreed to a contract with the local KHL team, Neftekhimik.

    He was scheduled to be in the starting lineup in Neftekhimik's next game in Nizhni Novgorod. But that's likely not going to happen, because the IIHF is refusing to issue Yakupov's transfer card to the KHL club.

    It's something that could affect other NHL players trying to spend the lockout in Europe.

    An IIHF transfer card is needed for any player participating in any tournament under the IIHF umbrella. It is sort of a permit to play. The KHL and every hockey league in Europe is under the IIHF umbrella. The KHL had its run-ins with the international hockey governing body before, when the IIHF either refused or delayed issuing transfer cards, like in the case with Alex Radulov. On certain occasions, these tensions led to KHL threatening to leave the organization.

    "The IIHF is not allowing Yakupov to play. The transfer card has not been sent from Switzerland (the IIHF headquarters)," Neftekhimik director Rafik Yakubov told Sovetsky Sport's Pavel Lysenkov.

    "I can't even imagine what this is related to. Perhaps the international hockey federation doesn't want to feud with the NHL and is waiting when they receive an approval from there. The negotiations are ongoing and we were told that there will be no requests. So, Nail cannot play against Torpedo. He is already in Nizhnekamsk, practicing with the team and is ready to play even tomorrow."

    Read More »from Nail Yakupov, other NHL players facing IIHF transfer card controversy in Europe
  • Where will Alex Ovechkin play during NHL lockout? He’s prepared for full KHL season

    Getty Images

    With some of the big names signing in the KHL, Alex Ovechkin is still on the market. Some of us thought that today, Alex Ovechkin's 27th birthday, he would get a nice present in the form of a contract in the KHL.

    But nothing has happened yet.

    Just recently, his alma mater Dynamo Moscow was making strange noises about not bringing him on board for the lockout. And that's after the club employed Ovechkin as its "official advisor" a couple of years ago even though it is tough to say if the relationship is still ongoing.

    Gleb Chistyakov, his Russian agent, said:"CSKA and Dynamo Moscow have interest in us. The negotiations are still ongoing.  And there's nothing concrete that can be disclosed to the newswire."

    But one thing is clear: Ovechkin thinks the NHL lockout may take an entire year and if it does, he will spend that year in the KHL.

    Said Ovechkin, exclusively to Pavel Lysenkov and Sovietsky Sport: "If the League [NHL] continues to insist on their [demands], then it will take a full year. That's because we are not going to cave in.  Then I will spend the entire season in the KHL. It's an absolute reality."

    Read More »from Where will Alex Ovechkin play during NHL lockout? He’s prepared for full KHL season

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