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  Nail Yakupov insists he wants to play in NHL, not KHL

National Hockey League (NHL) -  PITTSBURGH The question comes up often in Nail Yakupov s meetings with NHL scouts and general managers. And even though the 18-year-old Russian is still learning English, he cant help but tense up the second he hears the letters KHL. The player projected to be the likely No. 1 pick when the NHL Draft gets underway in Pittsburgh on Friday understands why hes continually asked how committed he is to playing in North America. In the draft they dont want to wonder if some player is going to KHL, Yakupov said. They just want to (us to) play in NHL and work hard. (National Post article by Will Graves) READ MORE
  Draft could be weakest in years

National Hockey League (NHL) -  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And, by all accounts, this NHL draft could be ugly. While the Stanley Cup party is still going strong in La-La Land after the Los Angeles Kings knocked off the New Jersey Devils in the final, there will be no rest for the weary as teams prepare to get down to business. Yes, a long summer (and fall), complete with labour strife, may lie ahead with the collective bargaining agreement set to expire Sept. 15, but it will be business as usual when teams gather next weekend in Pittsburgh. (article by Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sunarticle) READ MORE
  Craig Button says Russian Factor only an issue if you want to be blind, dumb and stupid

National Hockey League (NHL) -  Two of the top prospects in the upcoming 2012 NHL Entry Draft are Nail Yakupov and Mikhail Grigorenko . They were both born in Russia, but they decided to leave their homeland before they were even drafted so that they could play in the Ontario Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League respectively. All the same, teams still seem to feel obligated to ask them if they plan to, at some point, leave North America and sign with a KHL club. (article by Ryan Dadoun READ MORE
  Focus on NHL draft: Russian Nail Yakupov has flair, analyst Button says of consensus No. 1 pick

National Hockey League (NHL) -  Editors note: The Canadiens have the No. 3 overall pick at Fridays National Hockey League draft in Pittsburgh, their highest pick since selecting Carey Price fifth overall in 2005. Over the next week, Pat Hickey will look at the top-five prospects with a generous assist from Craig Button, a former NHL general manager and current analyst for TSN. Well look at the players, their strengths and weaknesses, and the chances of them landing in Montreal. There is no Sidney Crosby in this years draft. There is no Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh Penguins). (article by Frank Gunn of the Canadien Press) READ MORE
  NHL notes: Sergei Kostitsyn (Nashville Predators) on outs in Nashville

National Hockey League (NHL) -  Forward Sergei Kostitsyn (Nashville Predators) will not be back with the Nashville Predators next season. Predators general manager David Poile confirmed that he would not offer a new contract to Kostitsyn, who will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Last week, Poile indicated forward Alexander Radulov (Nashville Predators), who bolted the KHL at the end of that league's season to join the Preds for the stretch run and playoffs, would not return. Poile said he is willing to trade the rights of the Russian for a draft pick or a young player. ( article) READ MORE
  Tarasenko Adds Offensive Boost to St. Louis Lineup

National Hockey League (NHL) -  Great things come to those who wait. This is true for Blues management and fans alike, as Russian prospect and 2010 first-round draft choice Vladimir Tarasenko (St. Louis Blues) has a signed a three-year entry-level deal with the St. Louis Blues. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the maximum allowed amount that a 2010 draft choice can receive under the current NHL collective-bargaining agreement is $900,000 per season. (By Jeff Ponder at the READ MORE
  Tarasenko chooses NHL, agrees to sign with Blues

National Hockey League (NHL) -  After much uncertainty about his his immediate future, Russian right winger Vladimir Tarasenko (St. Louis Blues) has informed the Blues that he's coming to the NHL for the 2012-13 season. Blues general manager Doug Armstrong, who is in Toronto attending the NHL combine, received a call at 1:30 a.m. Central time from Tarasenko's Russian-based agent, Alexei Dementiev, confirming the decision. Dementiev also told Armstrong that Tarasenko would be calling him in a few hours, which happened at 6 a.m. Central. "I was just sort of tossing and turning the rest of the night in anticipation of talking to (Tarasenko) and moving ahead," Armstrong said. "We spoke and it was 'Congratulations, we're excited to have you, I know it was a difficult decision.' I just wanted to let him know how happy we were to have him. He said he was very excited to be here." ( article by Jeremy Rutherford) READ MORE

National Hockey League (NHL) -  The Florida Panthers have traded forwards Evgeni Dadonov and A.J. Jenks to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for forwards Jonathan Matsumoto and Mattias Lindstrom. (TSN article) READ MORE
  Dmitry Orlov scores first NHL goal

National Hockey League (NHL) -  20-years-old Dmitry Orlov (Washington Capitals) scored his first NHL goal on January 15th as the Caps defeat the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1. It wasn't only Orlov's first NHL goal, but it was also the game-winning goal as the Hurricanes didn't manage to get back on track after the blueliner's goal. Early in the second period another Russian scored the first goal for the Washington team, Alexander Semin (Washington Capitals), with a great wristshot after passes by Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Ovechkin (Washington Capitals). Orlov so far scored seven points in 25 games.
  Vladimir Tarasenko traded to SKA St. Petersburg

U20 World Junior Championships -  Top Russian hockey prospect Vladimir Tarasenko (St. Louis Blues) has been traded from Sibir Novosibirsk to SKA St. Petersburg on the KHL trade deadline. This means that now Tarasenko will have a chance to prove himself in one of the KHL top teams, go far during the playoffs. Vladimir signed a contract which will run out on April 30th, then his KHL rights will be noved back to Sibir, a move that most likely means that he's going to join the Blues this summer. Tarasenko's new game with SKA will be on January 15th against Vityaz Chekhov.
  Vladimir Tarasenko: Kuznetsov is Russia's top young player

National Hockey League (NHL) -  Most likely Vladimir Tarasenko (St. Louis Blues) will be traded to Dynamo Moscow before the KHL Trade Deadline, then he will go to the St. Louis Blues this summer. In the meantime offers you the most recent interview pubblished in Russia, appeared on the website. In this interview, Tarasenko talks about the WJC, the NHL Entry Draft and his ties with his father. ( interview translated by Alessandro Seren Rosso) READ MORE
  Tarasenko's agent: we'll take a decision after the WC

National Hockey League (NHL) -  Vladimir Tarasenko (St. Louis Blues)'s agent Alexei Dementiev discusses possible trade, move to NHL. READ MORE
  Semen Varlamov: A Big Reason The Colorado Avalanche Are Looking So Good

National Hockey League (NHL) -  Posting a 4-0 shutout against the potent Chicago Blackhawks, Semen Varlamov (Colorado Avalanche) definitely proved his worth as net minder of the Colorado Avalanche. In fact, over the previous three games Varly has played in he has proved that he has the potential to become the next great goaltender in hockey. With his stellar play, Varlamov has Avs fans reminiscing about Patrick Roy. Avalanche fans also hope the same holds true with Varly that happened with Roys first year; a Stanley Cup Championship. (AP article by Barry Gutierrez) READ MORE
  Unflappable Andrei Makarov earns rave reviews for play in goal

U20 World Junior Championships -  Lorne Molleken and the Saskatoon Blades tried their very hardest not to miss an appearance by Team Canada at the 2012 world junior hockey tournament. That included last week's heartbreaking 6-5 semifinal loss against the fiery Russian squad at Calgary's Scotiabank Saddledome. But, of course, their interests were also invested considering their No. 1 goalie - Andrei Makarov - was thrown in to save the day against the Canadians, who were down 6-1 at one point.(Calgary Herald article by Kristen Odland) READ MORE
  Russian forward Nail Yakupov hurts knee at world juniors

U20 World Junior Championships -  SARNIA, ONT. Nail Yakupov s return to the Sarnia Sting is on hold after he suffered a knee injury at the world junior hockey championship. The player expected to be taken first overall in the upcoming NHL draft will have an MRI exam this weekend, according to agent Igor Larionov. READ MORE
  Sweden sweeps Russia, gets the Gold Medal

U20 World Junior Championships -  A monstruous 57-save performance by goalie Andrei Makarov wasn't enough for Russia as the forwards simply didn't manage to put the puck on the net and Sweden deservedly grabbed the Gold Medal with a 1-0, OT win over Team Russia thanks to a goal by Islanders top prospect Mika Zabinejad. "It would have been not honest if we won the game", admitted after the game Evgeny Kuznetsov (Washington Capitals), who was awarded with MVP, Best Forward and Tournament's All-Star Team honors. In spite of Sweden's dominance during the whole game, the game's top chance was probably a late third period rush by Team Russia: Kuznetsov danced through the rink with the puck on his blade just to feed the rushing Nikita Gusev with a great pass, but the Red Army players' one-timer was stopped by goalie Johan Gustafsson with a monumental save. Team Russia will have a chance to get revenge at home next year, as 2013 WJC will be held in Ufa, Russia.
  Russia stuns Canada, 6-5

U20 World Junior Championships -  CALGARY Yevgeni Kuznetsov had three goals and an assist to lead Russia to a stunning 6-5 victory over the home Canadians to earn a date with Sweden in the gold-medal game. Russia will try to repeat as champions for the first time since 2003-04 while Sweden hopes to win for the first time since 1981. Canada will play Finland for the bronze medal. Both games are on Thursday. The Russian win ends an incredible run of ten straight appearances by Canada in the gold-medal game. The last final game without Canada was 2001 when the Czechs beat Finland, 2-1. ( article by Andrew Podnieks) READ MORE
  Uninspired Team Russia defeats Czech Republic, will face Canada

U20 World Junior Championships -  Team Russia had to struggle a lot to defeat a hard-fighting Team Czech Republic led by goalie Petr Mrazek, who was instrumental in his team's performance with 43 saves. But Team Russia could count on a stellar Andrei Vasilevsky: the 2012 draft eligible goalie stopped 38 out of 39 shots and got yet another W for the Mother Land in this tournament.
The highly touted forward line didn't deliver much in this game as all the big guns were left out of the score sheet. Evgeny Kuznetsov (Washington Capitals) did have some good rushes, including an one-on-one situation in the first period which sensationally wasn't a goal as his shot, after deking out Mrazek, hit the post and flew outside of the rink. Also Nikita Kucherov (Tampa Bay Lightning) didn't show much special, but he managed to make himself forgiven for his late third period penalty setting up the game winning goal by defenseman Grigory Zheldakov. The first goal for Team Russia was scored by Daniil Apalkov in the second period, with assists coming from Sergey Barbashev and blue liner Zakhar Arzamastsev , among the best defensemen of the game with Nikita Nesterov (Tampa Bay Lightning). Team Russia will now face Canada in the semifinals. The more quoted guys have to step up and use their finishing ability. In particular Nail Yakupov should try and finally score a goal as he's still got a zero in the goals scored cell on the stats, something unexpected for a player who might go first overall in the next NHL draft. Most likely Mikhail Grigorenko will have to sit out the game.
  Russia moves on to face Canada

U20 World Junior Championships -  CALGARY Its on, baby! On Monday, Russia advanced to a World Junior semi-final clash with host Canada, defeating the Czech Republic 2-1 in a tense, tactical quarter-final. Grigori Zheldakov scored the overtime winner on a slapshot at 1:30 of overtime. "Their goalie [Petr Mrazek] played a great game, but he is human," said Zheldakov. "This is a very emotional win, and its very emotional to score a goal like this." ( article by Lucas Aykroyd) READ MORE
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