Datsyuk and Kovalchuk headline latest to sign in KHL

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While Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Gonchar had KHL deals locked up almost immediately after the lockout went into effect, more NHL players are landing temporary jobs in the Russian pro league.

Chuck Pleiness reports Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk has landed a spot with Ak-Bars Kazan. Datsyuk last played for them back in 2000-01, his final season in Russia before coming to the NHL. He played for Dynamo Moscow during the 2004-05 lockout.

Meanwhile, Yahoo!’s Dmitry Chesnokov reports Ilya Kovalchuk will sign with SKA on September 19. Coincidentally enough, Kovalchuk played for Ak-Bars Kazan during the 04-05 work stoppage.

Ruslan Fedotenko’s agent, Allan Walsh, announced his client would be playing for Donbass Donetsk in the KHL. Donetsk is located in Ukraine, his home country, so it makes plenty of sense he’d play for the home team there. Chesnokov adds that Jets forward Alexei Ponikarovsky will also sign with Donbass.

Meanwhile, Leafs forward Nikolai Kulemin will be teaming up with Malkin and Gonchar in Magnitogorsk according to Chesnokov. Expect more of these signings to happen in the coming days as the KHL season is already underway.