Heikkinen signs with Sibir Novosibirsk of the KHL
Tuesday May 25th 2010, 11:38 pm
Ilkka Heikkinen

Photo: Hartford Wolf Pack

Finnish defenseman Ilkka Heikkinen has signed a one year contract with HC Sibir Novosibirsk of the KHL.  The 25-year old blueliner, who joined the Rangers as a free agent last summer and appeared in seven games for the club, chose to continue his career in the KHL after the Rangers refused to offer him a one-way contract.

Heikkinen played 72 games in the AHL for the Hartford Wolf Pack last season, picking up eight goals and 30 assists to tie defense partner Bobby Sanguinetti (who played 11 fewer games) for the Wolf Pack lead in scoring on  defense.  He saw limited playing time in his seven games in the NHL, and failed to register a point.

Heikkinen’s departure from North America comes as no surprise, since he made his displeasure with spending the season in Hartford known in an interview with Newsday’s Steve Zipay during the Olympic break in February.  While he played well for the Wolf Pack, he was largely overrated by Rangers fans desperate for anyone to replace dead weight Wade Redden on defense, and ultimately failed to show enough to earn the guaranteed position in the NHL that he was looking for.

After signing with Sibir, Heikkinen spoke with Maria Levinskaya for an interview on the team’s web site which is translated below.  While it reveals nothing earth shattering, it provides a better introduction to Heikkinen than we ever got during his one season in North America, and contains a few interesting anecdotes about his time on the Wolf Pack.


Read more…



Jokinen to the KHL? (UPDATE 2)
Wednesday May 05th 2010, 8:51 am

Sportsdaily.ru is reporting that New York Rangers unrestricted free agent center Olli Jokinen could be headed to Dinamo Minsk of the KHL next season. In an article discussing key developments so far in the KHL off-season, author Maxim Grushev states the following in regards to the Belorussian club: “The main transfer news in the coming days could be the signing of a contract with Finnish forward Olli Jokinen, who spent last season with the Rangers. In conjunction with Spiridonov, Stümpel and Glazachev from Barys, the Finn should become a leader of the updated Minsk [club].”

As always, take this with a grain of salt until confirmed by another source…

UPDATE 2:00PM: Sovietsky Sport reports that negotiations between Minsk and Jokinen are indeed taking place, but that the club is unwilling to comment at this time.

In the same article they also mention that former Hartford Wolf Pack defenseman Vladimir Denisov will return to North America this fall to once again try to make the NHL. Denisov had a try-out with the Washington Capitals last fall, but returned to Belorus when he failed to earn a one-way contract.

UPDATE 9:00PM: A pair of tweets appear to quash the Jokinen to KHL rumor… at least for the time being:

@DarrenDreger:

O.Jokinen’s agent, Todd Diamond refutes Jokinen is close to signing with Minsk. Says Jokinen will play in NHL next yr.

@mom2kawena:

spoke to Katerina Jokinen. She says no plans toward khl til this summer. Want to see what’s on nhl tables first.

Filed under: KHL, New York Rangers


Report: Jagr resigns with Avangard Omsk (UPDATED)
Friday April 23rd 2010, 12:30 am

Sport-planet.ru is reporting that Czech superstar Jaromir Jagr has signed a new two year contract with Avangard Omsk of the KHL.  Citing “reliable sources” the article claims “Czech forward Jaromir Jagr has decided to remain with Avangard Omsk for two more seasons.  The sum of the agreement was not disclosed, but it will most likely be less than under the previous contract.”

Caveat: This isn’t one of the better known Russian sports sites, so take it with a grain of salt until it’s confirmed by another source.

UPDATE 04/23/2010 12:30PM: Puck Daddy’s Dmitry Chesnokov followed up on the report of Jagr’s signing with his sources in Russia, and posted the following on Twitter:

Tweet 1:

To answer Qs about Jagr re-signing in Omsk of the KHL: Anatoly Bardin, Omsk’s GM, did not confirm it when my source called him just now.

Tweet 2:

Omsk’s GM said it was too early to talk about Jagr re-signing with Avangard, but the club would want to do it before the Worlds.

Filed under: Avangard Omsk, KHL