September 22, 2010
From the files of the guy who is not getting that he doesn't get it department: Kirill Kabanov, the New York Islanders third-round draft pick, was disciplined for a second time at New York Islanders training camp for being late.
"Kabanov was bag-skated for 15 minutes after the first session, given a ten-minute break, then skated again for another 15 minutes until the second group got on the ice. He also had to do several pushups and crunches before leaving the ice.
"Afterwards, Kabanov said he regretted his tardiness." (Newsday)
There is probably more to it, but that's hidden behind Newsday's subscription firewall (ahem).
This is an 18-year-old who, by all accounts, has conveyed a clear issue with taking adult direction. In all honestly, this 'Kirill Kabanov is a clown, he's a tool to amuse us' meme already feels a little exploitative. He is a young adult. However, pretty much anyone who makes a go of professional hockey as a career eventually realizes that with great talent comes a responsibility to live an athlete's fairly regimented lifestyle. The games are a release. (The Hall of Famer Tim Horton once said he was paid to practise, but he played for free.)
Kabanov, who stands to return to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's Moncton Wildcats since he's ineligible for the American Hockey League and has burned bridges in his native Russia, is getting a reputation.
New York sports radio host Eric Mirlis wrote that Kabanov seems to be having a Maalox Malakhov moment. As in Vladimir Malakhov, the enigmatic Russian defenceman of the 1990s. A stretch? Well, you don't tell a history major the past doesn't matter:
"He was lazy and aloof. On the ice, he would disappear for long stretches. I’ll never forget the night the Islanders were trailing by one late in the game, with the goalie pulled, when the other team iced the puck. As always, time is of the essence in a spot like that, but not to Vladdy. He casually took his time to touch up for the icing, despite the entire building yelling at him to hurry up and get there (the sound is actually still vivid in my mind). On the ice, that play summed up Vladdy's entire Islander career.
" ... Malakhov never broke away from that image problem after leaving Long Island. He was run out of Montreal after going skiing while out of the lineup with a knee injury. He teased every other team he played for with his talent, but never stuck for very long anywhere because he frustrated everyone he was ever around. It should have been a brilliant, maybe even Hall of Fame, career, but was sabotaged by the lack of interest by the only person who could sabotage things ... Vladimir Malakhov.
"... For all I know, the only real similarities between [Kabanov] and Malakhov are their homeland and the last two letters of their last names. The red flags are there, however, and the sirens are going off. Tons of talent, acknowledged by everyone who watches him play, but what looks to be a two cent head." (Mirl on Sports)
The kicker is no neutral party really wants Kabanov to bust. He's a talent, and if he becomes a household name, Keeping Up With Kabanov will be a reality show I might actually watch.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Sports Canada. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.