Fetisov calls Pashnin’s decision to leave for North America “a mistake”
Tuesday August 02nd 2011, 10:42 pm

Viacheslav Fetisov may have been a trailblazer in his own time, helping pave the way for Russians to leave their homeland for the NHL, but he’s not a fan of New York Rangers 2009 draft pick Mikhail Pashnin’s decision to leave Russia to join the Rangers organization this fall.  The former NHL defenseman and two-time Stanley Cup champion, who now serves as President of KHL club CSKA Moscow, made his feelings know in an interview on the league’s web site on Tuesday:

Sometimes hockey players listen to the entirely wrong people. Pashnin had a very good season, but nobody would argue that he doesn’t still have far to grow. I’m sure that one or two more years in Russia would bring him much greater benefit. The chances of him making the Rangers main roster are extremely small. And I don’t think that a season in the AHL will bring him more benefit than a season in the KHL. We tried to explain to Mikhail that he was making a mistake, but we couldn’t change his mind.

Pashnin has split the past two years between CSKA and their junior team, after becoming the first overall pick in the KHL’s first ever entry draft.  While the honor doesn’t quite equate to being the top pick in the NHL draft — only those who didn’t grow up within a KHL team’s feeder system are eligible for the draft — CSKA gave up four draft picks in order to land the young defenseman, who was a favorite of CSKA General Manager and former Ranger Sergei Nemchinov.

It’s easy to dismiss Fetisov’s comments as sour grapes.  But in reality, he has a point.  Pashnin is a long way from challenging for an NHL job — if he ever does.   He struggled to stick with a middling KHL club last season, though he did show progress over his rookie campaign.  And he gained invaluable experience when CSKA’s season ended early and he was sent to their junior club, where he played a leading role en route to the MHL championship.

While there’s value in coming to North America to adjust to the smaller ice surface and different style of play, he’ll be lucky to crack the top four on the Connecticut defense corps this season.  With CSKA, he would have been looked upon to play a significant role, and would have gained an extra year’s experience, maturity and strength.

The risk in bringing over a player as raw as Pashnin is that he’ll get discouraged after a year or two in the AHL and head home before he reaches his full potential.

Only time will tell if the Rangers risk will return a reward.

Filed under: Mikhail Pashnin

Coming to America: Mikhail Pashin
Friday July 22nd 2011, 11:42 am

New York Rangers 2009 7th round pick Mikhail Pashnin has decided to continue his career in North America.  According to CSKA Moscow General Manager and former New York Ranger Sergei Nemchinov, Pashnin has decided not to renew his contract with CSKA, opting to come New York to pursue his dream of making the NHL instead.

“Pashnin’s contract with CSKA has ended.  We offered him a new [contract] but he has decided to try to make the NHL. He has an offer from the New York Rangers and is currently negotiating with them,” Nemchinov told RIA Novosti.

“We were glad to have him on our team, but he has made his choice in favor of the NHL club.”

Nemchinov made it clear that Pashnin’s departure was amicable.  “There was no conflict,” the 1994 Stanley Cup champion added.

Pashnin, the first overall pick in the first ever KHL draft, will need seasoning in the AHL with the Connecticut Whale before challenging for a job in New York.  Despite impressive showings at the New York Rangers development camp the past two summers, he remains a longshot to make the NHL.

The native of Chelyabinsk, Russia, scored 4 points in 42 games for CSKA in the KHL last season.  At the conclusion of CSKA’s season, he went on to help lead their junior team to the MHL championship, the Kharlamov Cup, with a goal and four assist in 16 playoff games.

UPDATE: Pashnin’s agent Alexei Dementyev has confirmed he is negotiating a deal that would bring Pashnin to New York this fall.

“We’re currently negotiating with New York,” Dementyev told Sport-Express.  “Mikhail took part part in the Rangers rookie camp this summer and received good reviews.  Team management informs [us] that they expect him at their main training camp, starting in Sepetember. ”

Asked if there was any chance the 22-year old defenseman could remain in the KHL with CSKA, Dementyev admitted “nothing can be ruled out,” but confirmed that Pashnin had not travelled to Finland for the start of the club’s training camp.  “The Rangers are very interested in the player, therefore I hope that negotiations will conclude successfully.”

Filed under: Mikhail Pashnin

KHL playoffs begin today
Wednesday March 10th 2010, 8:10 am

The KHL completed its sophomore season on Sunday and kicks off its sixteen team competition for the Gagarin Cup today.  The first round will be a best of five series, with the following match-ups.

SKA St. Petersburg (2) vs. Dinamo Riga (13)
Head coach Barry Smith leads a group of former NHLers that includes Robert Esche, Sergei Zubov, and Alexei Yashin against Dinamo Riga, which is led by former New York Ranger Marcel Hossa, who finished the regular season leading the league with 35 goals and added 19 assists for 54 points in 56 games.  Games 3/10, 3/11, 3/13, if necessary 3/14 & 3/16.

Watch 3/10 (11:00am EST)
Watch 3/11 (11:00am EST)
Watch 3/13 (10:00am EST)
Watch 3/14 (11:00 EDT)

HK MVD (4) vs. CSKA Moscow (12)
Rangers 2009 seventh round draft pick defenseman Mikhail Pashnin will get his first taste of playoff action after finishing his rookie season with a goal and four assists in 44 games.  Columbus prospect Nikita Filatov will look to make an impression up front after picking up 22 points in in 26 games after leaving the NHL.  Games 3/10, 3/11, 3/13, if necessary 3/14 & 3/16. Games 3/10, 3/11, 3/13, if necessary 3/14 & 3/16.

Watch 3/10 (11:30am EST)
Watch 3/11 (11:30am EST)

Dynamo Moscow (5) vs. Spartak Moscow (10)
Expect a spirited grudge match between to clubs with a history of not liking each other.  Rangers property Ivan Baranka led the Spartak defense corps in points with 32 in 55 games, a mark good for fifth among defenseman in the entire league.  On the other side, fellow Ranger prospect Pavel Valentenko managed to get into only seven matches this season due to injury.  Now apparently healthy, it’s not clear if the defenseman will be able to push his way back into the line-up unless Dynamo suffers an injury.  Games 3/10, 3/11, 3/13, if necessary 3/14 & 3/16.

Watch 3/11 (11:30am EST)
Watch 3/14 (10:00am EDT)

Atlant Mystishchi (6) vs. Lokomotiv Yarolslavl (7)
Nikolai Zherdev, who finished third on Atlant in scoring with 39 points in 52 games, behind league scoring leader Sergei Mozyakin and former Montreal Canadien Jan Bulis, will look to improve his chances of an NHL return with a strong playoff run.  Games 3/10, 3/11, 3/13, if necessary 3/14 & 3/16.

Watch 3/10 (11:30am EST)
Watch 3/13 (9:00am EST)
Watch 3/14 (10:00am EDT)

Salavat Yulaev (1) vs. Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg (19)
Head coach Vyacheslav Bykov and assistant Igor Zakharkin hope to prove Russia’s Olymic disaster was a fluke by getting past the first round this season.  Last year, their top-ranked club was knocked out early by Jaromir Jagr and 16th seed Avangard Omsk.  Games 3/11, 3/12, 3/14, if necessary, 3/15 & 3/17.

Watch 3/11 (9:00am EST)
Watch 3/12 (9:00am EST)
Watch 3/14 (9:00am EDT)
Watch 3/15 (10:00am EDT)

Metallurg Magnitogorsk (3) vs. Traktor Chelyabinsk (18)
Sergei Fedorov and little brother FedFed look to lead Metallurg over Traktor, a team I admittedly know absolutely  nothing about. Games 3/11, 3/12, 3/14, if necessary, 3/15 & 3/17.

Watch 3/12 (9:00am EST)
Watch 3/14 (9:00am EDT)
Watch 3/15 (10:00 EDT)

AK Bars Kazan (8) vs. Barys Astana (14)
Last year’s champs, now featuring former Rangers prospect Jarkko Immonen, who finished his first KHL campaign with 38 points in 56 games, take on a team led by former NHLer Jozef Stumpel. Games 3/11, 3/12, 3/14, if necessary, 3/15 & 3/17.

Watch 3/11 (11:00am EST)
Watch 3/12 (11:00am EST)

Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk (9) vs. Avangard Omsk (11)
Jagr begins his drive for the Gagarin Cup with Tampa Bay’s Karri Ramo backing him up in net.  Sergei Demagin, who spent training camp with the Rangers two seasons ago, suits up for Neftekhimik.  Games 3/11, 3/12, 3/14, if necessary, 3/15 & 3/17.

Watch 3/11 (11:00am EST)
Watch 3/12 (11:00am EST)

This was written in about a half an hour, so I’m sure there are far more interesting storylines I’m overlooking.  But I wanted to get the links to the live video broadcasts up for folks who want to watch.  I’ll do my best to update this post with links for future games as they become available each night.