Darius Kasparaitis was a popular Ranger during the four seasons he played in New York, before a combination of age, injury and salary cap considerations sent him packing for St. Petersburg, Russia at the start of last season. Since arriving in Russia last fall Kaspar has been writing a blog for the Russian web site Championat.ru. And he’s checked in with some off-season updates.
Apart from a couple of trips to Florida with his daughter, and a vacation in the Bahamas, Kasparaitis has spent the majority of the off-season in New York, running in the park, training at the gym, and occasionally taking to the ice. Kasparaitis acknowledged in a post from the end of May that “I would like to play in New York, but nothing has worked out here, so I have decided to go to Russia.” He admitted that he received no interest from any NHL teams, and made the decision to re-sign with SKA St. Petersburg for two years, noting that he enjoyed his time there last season. “It was pleasant for me in St. Petersburg last season. Not because of money! It is simple — the team, the trainer, the city, the fans. Everything suited me. So I thought — why not? Why run around, looking for somewhere with more money? I believe that I can play for four more years. So I want to play and enjoy myself, help a team, work with youth, share my experiences. And so, SKA was the only team I talked to.”
Kasparaitis also shared that he has set a goal of playing in his fifth Olympics in 2010. “I’ll admit, I would very much like to play in the Olympics in Vancouver. It is my dream. I have played in four successive Olympiads. Only the fourth time we did not win a medal; the first three — gold, bronze, silver — had great results. Now I wish to play in the fifth. For me it is a very big dream.” But he admits it won’t be easy. “I understand that it will be difficult for me to make it. But everything will depend on me, how I train, how I play.”
Kasparaitis, who regularly expressed dissatisfaction with the quality of officiating in the RSL last season, weighs in on the formation of the KHL, acknowledging that he’s excited to be one of the first players in the new league. “You know, it is interesting to me to play in a new league. There will be different rules of play. I hope that the referees will be more adequate, more skilled, improved… To me it seems interesting to be one of the first players who will play in the new league. Everyone is interested in this league.”
And finally, Kasparaitis shared some big news of a personal variety: In September, he will become a father for the second time. “For me the season will start with the birth of two daughters. Already in September my girlfriend is due to give birth. We have decided that she will give birth in Stockholm, in Sweden. All her family is there. And I too will go there closer to term.”
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