Tag-Archive for ◊ KHL players ◊

06 Feb 2011 Slava Kozlov Joins New Team for Playoff Push
slava kozlov in Salavat colors

Slava Kozlov will chase the Gagarin Cup with a new team.

Former NHL star and current KHL player, Slava Kozlov, has changed his club right before the playoffs. His former team — CSKA Moscow — is having a poor season and the move enables him to continue his career on a more successful team. Kozlov has joined Salavat Yulaev — one of the strongest clubs in the KHL. The team’s coach, Slava Bykov, is a former player and a current manager of Russia’s national team.

On Salavat Yulaev Ufa, Slava joins several other former NHLers including Viktor Kozlov, Dmitri Kalinin and Alexander Radulov. According to the official Salavat site, Slava will wear No. 32.

The player himself commented his transfer, saying that his new colleagues were masters and it was pleasant to be with them on one team. Let’s see now how far Salavat will go through the playoffs.

Photo: Vyacheslav Kozlov from Salavat Yulaev’s official website.

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17 Nov 2010 Slava Kozlov Speaks Out on the KHL
Slava Kozlov

CSKA Moscow winger Slava Kozlov.

Former NHLer and newly acquired CSKA Moscow forward Slava Kozlov says he hasn’t had any problems adapting to his Russian club.

- I had been preparing to my comeback to Russia.  When I played for Atlanta I already planned to try myself in the KHL. It turned out that in the end I got back to CSKA — to the club which I had left 18 years ago. So I don’t have any troubles with adaptation in Russia.

-I’m surprised by the new league. The KHL has a very high level of hockey. Organizational issues in the CSKA are OK, too. We have all the conditions to show our best game.

Slava Kozlov

CSKA Slava Kozlov

Photos and interview (c) official CSKA website.

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29 Sep 2010 Slava Kozlov Goes to CSKA

Slava Kozlov to KHL.

One of the most prominent Russians in the National Hockey League, Vyacheslav Kozlov, will play in the Kontinental Hockey League this year. The Russian press reports Slava has signed a one-year contract with CSKA Moscow.

Kozlov will swap his trademark No. 13 jersey for No. 72. He joins former NHLers Stephen Valiquette and Yan Stastny, and former Ottawa Senators prospect Ilya Zubov on the Red Army team.

A two-time Stanley Cup winner with the Detroit Red Wings, Kozlov was the last member of the vaunted “Russian Five” to play in the NHL. His signing with CSKA, however, reunites him with fellow Russian Fiver Viacheslav Fetisov, who is the club’s president.

Photo: Vyacheslav Kozlov by Goddess Kaatiya. Copyright 2010. All Rights Reserved.

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12 Jun 2010 NHL Prospect Zaytsev not so ‘Green’
Nikita Zaytsev

Russia's Nikita Zaytsev is wowing NHL scouts.

He’ll never be an Alexander Ovechkin or an Ilya Kovalchuk.  Heck, he won’t even be a Maxim Afinogenov or a Ruslan Fedotenko.  After all, in 40 games for Sibir of the Kontinental Hockey League he had no goals and just one assist.  But given a chance, he just might just join the ranks of Slava Fetisov and Sergei Zubov.  That’s because Nikita Zaytsev is a defenseman.

Amidst all the hype of the Russians in this year’s draft, baby-faced Zaytsev has flown under the radar of most fans.  In fact, even sports writers have misrepresented him.  One article from NHL.com headlines a story saying that he patterns himself after Mike Green, based on Nikita’s statement that he thought Green was one of the most exciting defensemen to watch.  Certainly not something many of us who value defensive defensemen find all that appealing.

However, one only needs look at his international statistics to see what kind of player he really is.  A +7 with 5 points, 4 being assists, at the U18 Worlds a year ago show the caliber of Rob Blake, rather than a Mike Green.  Talk to his teammates and opponents both internationally and in Russia and they will tell you that his defensive zone play is impeccable.  His speed, skill and hockey intelligence are already proving him to be one of the top in the KHL, making him a tough opponent — all this from a kid who is only 18 years old playing against men twice his age and with the twice the experience.  I know, what else would you expect from a Russian-lover like me?  Still, I’m not the only one excited about him.  He may be flying under the average NHL fan’s radar, but the scouts are definitely talking.

Not only does he have the skill and speed of a seasoned professional, but he is quickly adding size and strength to his overall resume.  Despite only being 176 lbs at 6’ 1”, he scored in the top six at the NHL combine in both jump tests and bench press (including the push test), demonstrating all-around power and strength.  Not bad for a skilled, agile defenseman who still has some growing to do.  These numbers, no doubt, did not go unrecognized by many of the organizations.

As a Colorado Avalanche fan I can only dream of landing such a fantastic prospect.  Unfortunately, though, the Avs will probably be drafting another tiny offensive defenseman.  It’s really too bad, because this kid has all the tools to become one of the great all-around defensemen in the NHL.

With Rob Blake retiring this year, someone needs to step in and be that type of player in the league.  Nikita Zaytsev just might be the one.

Photo: Nikita Zaytsev by Elena Rusko (rusko.fishup.ru), Copyright 2010. All Rights Reserved.

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