A couple of random notes from the Russian press:
Included in a story about fellow World Champion Vitaly Proshkin visiting the Moscow suburb of Elektrostal with the World Championship trophy was a brief mention of New York Rangers forward Nikolai Zherdev. Like Proshkin, Zherdev played his early hockey in Elektrostal, but according to the report, the soon-to-be restricted free agent was absent from today’s festivities because he hasn’t yet returned from the states. Zherdev’s presence in North America is worth a mention only because his interviews from Switzerland during the World Championship made it fairly obvious that he hadn’t gone through a proper exit interview prior to leaving for Berne, which naturally lead to speculation that the 24-year old winger might not be on the Rangers radar for next season.
From Siberia comes news that a reunion between Jaromir Jagr and Michael Nylander could be in the cards — if Anatoli Bardin gets his way (and he usually does). Sovietsky Sport reports that Avangard Omsk is interested in both Nylander and Hurricanes defenseman Frantisek Kaberle. “We would like to see defenseman Frantisek Kaberle from Carolina and forward Michael Nylander from Washington in Omsk,” Bardin told reporter Dmitry Ponamarenko, adding “trust me, if we’re working on it, it means there’s chance the move could happen.” Nylander has two years remaining on his contract with the Capitals at a hefty $4.875 million cap hit per season, but was the odd man out in the playoffs and isn’t thought to fit into the young, up-tempo team’s future plans. His signing in Siberia would create some much-needed cap space in the nation’s capital. The 37-year old center, who was a key contributor in Jagr’s record-setting season on Broadway in 2005-2006, played a total of 13 games in Russia during the lockout, split between SKA St. Petersburg and AK Bars Kazan. His younger brother, Peter Nylander, currently plays in the KHL for Amur Khabarovsk.
By the way, those who’ve been around here for awhile may be wondering what Bardin is doing speaking on behalf of Avangard Omsk, after having been removed from his position as General Manager and banned from holding any managerial post for any KHL club as a result of his role in the Alexei Cherepanov tragedy. Alas, the crafty Bardin now functions as an “advisor” to Omsk regional governor and Avangard head honcho Leonid Polezhaev, and is still very much the man calling the shots for the club.
Speaking of Cherepanov, it was announced at the end of May that a new arena being constructed at the fallen forward’s former school in Barnaul will be named in his memory. The KHL has agreed to donate the required refrigeration equipment for the arena, which will cost a total of 16 million rubles to build. A portion of the proceeds from an exhibition match between the local hockey club and Avangard Omsk in April, which the Hawks won by a margin of 10-7, will be put towards the arena’s construction. The remainder will go towards grants for the six most talented players from the school.
On May 15, Metallurg Magnitogorsk goaltender Ilya Proskurykov became the first winner of the Alexei Cherepanov Trophy, which will be awarded annually to the KHL’s top rookie.
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