Radulov wins KHL MVP

In an announcement ripe for “wonder how he’ll celebrate?” jokes, Nashville Predators forward Alex Radulov has won the Golden Stick trophy, awarded annually to the KHL ‘s most valuable player.

This is the third straight Golden Stick for Radulov, who also won a “Golden Helmet” prize for being named to the league’s All-Star team. Radulov also won the league’s top scorer trophy, which is actually a Brazilian gold mine.

While it might sound like I’m making fun of Russian hockey and its fascination with metallurgy, I have to admit the league awards are pretty cool. For instance, the KHL gives out a “Sekunda” award (“Split Second” award) for scoring the earliest and latest goals in a game. There’s also the “Best Troika” award given to the highest-scoring forward trio in the league and the “Most Valuable Player” award that, for reasons unexplained, is given to the guy with the best plus-minus.

Columnist wonders if Radulov would follow Roy to Montreal

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Here’s an interesting idea from the Department of Significant Ifs: Larry Brooks floats the theory that the Montreal Canadiens might “inquire” about Alex Radulov if they hire Patrick Roy as their head coach.

At this point, you might be scratching your head and asking why an “enigmatic Russian forward” would have a bond with the fiery former French Canadian superstar goalie. Brooks points out that Radulov won a Memorial Cup with Roy’s Quebec Ramparts, which explains why such a connection might happen.

Eye on Hockey’s Brian Stubits is probably correct when he places this rumor in the “insanity” range, mentioning (for one thing) that Roy’s presence as a Habs coach is far from a certainty. Stubits also says that Radulov is as good as gone from the NHL and that might be true, too. Still, I’d like to think that there’s at least a chance that a team might offer the restricted free agent a competitive enough contract to a) pry him from Nashville and b) keep him from fleeing to the KHL. If Radulov isn’t satisfied with the brief second taste of NHL play, then a reasonably decent offer might just keep him in the world’s best league.

And if that’s a possibility, perhaps the Habs might just have a shot. (A long shot, mind you, but a shot.)

What do you think, though? Would Radulov consider a jaunt in Montreal? Perhaps most interestingly, do you think he’d be a big difference-maker for the Habs?

Weber felt “betrayed” by Radulov: “I was one of the guys that stood up for him and wanted him back”


Making some of his most pointed comments to date, Nashville Predators captain Shea Weber appeared on a Vancouver radio station Thursday and expressed disappointment with teammate Alex Radulov.

Radulov, along with Andrei Kostitsyn, was suspended for Game 3 of the Phoenix series for violating curfew. Radulov and Kostitsyn were also held out of Game 4 (called a “hockey decision” by head coach Barry Trotz) and the Preds wound up losing the series in five.

Weber called the incident a “distraction” and “unfortunate.” When asked by host Bob Marjanovich about being part of the Nashville leadership group that asked GM David Poile to bring Radulov back from the KHL, Weber replied:

“I don’t really know what to say about it because I was one of the guys that stood up for him and wanted him back. There were a bunch of us that played with him that felt the same way.

“You feel a little bit betrayed, but I am sure he feels bad about it now and he looks back on it and wishes it didn’t happen. Those are the things you can’t take back and we’ve got to move forward.”

You can listen to the full interview here. Weber also discusses teammate and impending UFA Ryan Suter (they haven’t spoken since season’s end, but Weber plans to speak with him soon), his current RFA status and the notion he’d like to play in Vancouver — something the Norris-nominated defenseman quickly shot down.

“That’s not something that I think about,” Weber said. “I think about playing for the Nashville Predators right now and winning a Stanley Cup.”

Sergei Kostitsyn says Preds were “too tough” on his brother and Radulov


After staying silent about the suspensions given to his brother and Alex Radulov, Sergei Kostitsyn has spoken publicly about the incident.

From Puck Daddy’s Dmitry Chesnokov, here’s Kostitsyn discussing the situation to Belorussian news outlet Pressball:

“I think the management was too tough on Alexander and Andrei. The punishment for the incident could have been a monetary fine, [they] went too far with the disqualification in the midst of an important stage of the playoffs. We missed the guys in games three and four of the series.”

In light of this, it’ll be interesting to see what Nashville does with the Kostitsyns. There are those that figure Andrei isn’t worth the headache and the Preds would be wise to walk away.

But what about Sergei?

The 24-year-old has enjoyed the best success of his career in Nashville and finished this season with 43 points and 16:28 average TOI, a personal high (he also led the Preds in scoring in 2010-11.) The Kostitsyn-Erat-Fisher line was arguably Nashville’s best throughout this year.

Now, do keep in mind that Kostitsyn’s comments — while questionable — are hardly grounds for divorce. Players have said far worse about their organizations and managed to stick around. And hey, if worst comes to worst, he can always play the “lost in translation” card.

That said, there’s the added acrimony of the whole “you suspended my brother” thing, especially if Sergei thinks the suspension was too harsh.

Related: An interesting tidbit from the Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson.

While some suggest that Alex Radulov’s party-boy antics off the ice will be forgotten at contract time and they’ll gladly let Andrei Kostitsyn walk as an unrestricted free-agent, one source says both guys have torched the bridge in Nashville. They figure Craig Smith can take AK47’s (sic) spot. They’ll trade Radulov’s rights. One interesting sidelight: Kostitsyn’s brother wasn’t out on the town with his brother because Martin Erat, Sergei’s linemate was keeping an eye on him.

Erat: Good linemate, better babysitter.

KHL interest in Mikhail Grigorenko might “plunge” prospect’s draft stock

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While the Edmonton Oilers (or perhaps a lucky trading partner) ended up winning the “Fail for Nail” sweepstakes, some believe that it’s not much worse to “Fail for Mikhail” instead. Mikhail Grigorenko is known as one of the other hot Russian forward prospects going into the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, but a new development might make his stock drop considerably.

Slava Malamud presented a round of interesting KHL-related bits about how the league will try to lure “returning Russian NHL players,” yet he might not stop there. Malamud reports that CSKA might make a “big play” to sign Grigorenko, which makes sense since they selected him with the eighth pick of the KHL’s junior 2011 draft.

Malamud believes that this development could “plunge his draft stock” and with good reason. The NHL’s rookie minimum contract has been great for teams to limit costs and risks, but it opens up the chance for clubs like CSKA to pay high-profile prospects (particularly Russian ones) more than they’d make on entry-level deals. While Alex Radulov’s situation was unusual for loophole reasons, it’s a cautionary tale for teams pondering the already-risky proposition of investing millions in a player who won’t turn 18 until May 16.