Ilya Kovalchuk’s “retirement” from the NHL to head to Russia had some in the industry thinking it could lead to other Russian players ditching the North America for the KHL.
As Stephen Whyno of The Canadian Press shares, many insiders aren’t buying that. Agent Mark Gandler, whose client list includes Alexander Semin and Alex Burmistrov, says guys won’t start leaving in droves.
“I don’t think it’s an epidemic or anything like that,” he said. “I think each person makes his decision based on the circumstances that he’s in, based on his environment, his family, his upbringing.”
Kovalchuk’s choice was to head home and have his family join him there. That hasn’t stopped speculation that he was upset with how much money he lost thanks to taxes and escrow payments. In Russia he can make just as much money as he would in the NHL except it’ll be tax-free there.
As Gandler told Whyno, “The only incentive they can give you, in theory, is money.” That along with a less-busy schedule and thus more family time could just mean that much to him.
We’ve had plenty of talk about Valeri Nichushkin on here of late but as it goes with Russian players, there’s always the worry they’ll stay in Russia for a while. In Nichushkin’s case, he says he doesn’t want to play at home at all.
Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News hears from Nichushkin’s agent Mark Gandler that his client’s only aim is to play in Dallas next season.
“When they asked about whether there was a desire to go back to KHL, he said, ‘I am here, I want to play in NHL, and I will play in NHL,’” Gandler said.
For what it’s worth, the Stars didn’t seem concerned about it either as they said the “Russian factor” wasn’t an issue for them. As it is, Nichushkin has previously said he has permission from his KHL team, Moscow Dynamo, to go to the NHL. That said, if he doesn’t make the team out of camp, he’ll return to Russia rather than go to the AHL.
Alexander Semin’s agent Mark Gandler has already made a name for himself this offseason by saying Semin’s career in Washington is likely over with. While he’s tried to clarify his initial statements, he seems to be going about selling his client in odd ways.
Gandler spoke with Grant Paulsen and Sky Kerstein on DC radio station 106.7 The Fan FM and managed to make Semin’s case to be signed in the offseason a bit more difficult (audio). The highlights of Gandler’s thoughts are grumpy and confusing when getting critical of Semin’s season in Washington.
—- Time-on-ice statistics are wrong and Semin isn’t playing as much as the final stats say.
—- Troy Brouwer gets more minutes than Semin does.
—- Semin has become a role player, something he didn’t bank on.
—- Semin plays fewer minutes because the team changed direction for how they wanted to play. (Finally, a salient point)
—- Semin wants to play on the penalty kill and more situations but isn’t allowed to.
—- Being benched after taking a few penalties is bad because the bench is close to the ice and it’s cold.
—- Semin’s plus/minus is his most underrated statistic.
Give the interview a listen because trying to sum up how baffling it all comes together isn’t doing it justice. If Gandler is looking to sell Semin to another team, the price is probably going to drop unless hockey stops being played on ice to help with that whole cold issue.
Yesterday we told you of a report saying Winnipeg forward Alex Burmistrov was being courted to play in the KHL in spite of having a current contract with the Jets. Burmistrov’s agent would like you to know that his client isn’t going anywhere.
Agent Mark Gandler tells Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun Burmistrov’s deal with the Jets will make sure that he stays in North America and there’s no getting around that.
“Nobody talked to me,” Mark Gandler said, Monday afternoon. “The guy is under contract. End of discussion.”
Asked about the report, Gandler was blunt.
“If people in Edmonton want to print gossip from the Russian papers without checking sources … all it takes is two minutes to make a phone call,” he said. “They obviously didn’t do their homework.”
Burmistrov has had his ups and downs since coming to the NHL. His first season in Atlanta and this past year in Winnipeg have seen him fight for ice time and deal with being a healthy scratch at times. Burmistrov is quite talented but with how he was put in the NHL immediately after being drafted, you’re left to wonder if he was rushed to action.
If there’s a far away place Burmistrov could wind up next season, Ed Tait of the Winnipeg Free Press says it could be in the AHL with St. John’s.