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Author: Soviet Sport Press (Soviet Sport Newspaper)
Translated By: Eugene Belashchenko
Date: 08/14/2008
Ilya Nikulin (Atlanta Thrashers): I really wanted to go to Atlanta

Ilya Nikulin celebrating Russia World Championships win with Alexander Ovechkin (Photo Source: Reuters)
Ak Bars defenseman and 2008 World Champion Ilya Nikulin (Atlanta Thrashers) was close to signing a contract with NHL club the Atlanta Thrashers, but in the last moment he went in a different direction.
I. Nikulin:
In a mutual agreement with the clubís management, I will spend this season with Ak Bars Ė says Nikulin to a Soviet Sport correspondent.

The American press reported that only formalities remained between you and a contract with Atlanta Thrashers and that the coming season you would skate for them..
I. Nikulin: I also thought this. I really wanted to go to Atlanta, and when I was coming back from my vacation I didnít even think that I would skate for Ak Bars this seasons. You could say that it is a miracle that I will remain in Kazan.

What prevented you from leaving?
I. Nikulin: Life dictated itís conditionsÖ

Do you regret that last year you signed a long term five year deal with the Kazan club?
I. Nikulin: Itís never worth regretting what is already done. Things happened how they happened. I think that another season in Kazan will be helpful to me. Next summer I will try to break into Atlantaís lineup.

Did you friend Alexander Ovechkin (Washington Capitals) try to convince you to play in the NHL this season?
I. Nikulin: Yes he did, but I already explained that sometimes life dictates itís own rules. I explained him that and he understood. I hope that we will meet on North American ice next season.

By Soviet Sport Press (Translated by Eugene Belashchenko)

Related Player Profiles: . I.Nikulin A.Ovechkin
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