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09-06-2007, 11:13 AM
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ThirtyFive
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Alexander Nikulin's Blog

Ottawa prospect Alexander Nikulin has started a blog on the Russian sports site Sports.ru, writing about his upcoming trip to North America for the Senators training camp.

http://www.sports.ru/blog/nikulin

Here it is translated:

September 4: Why I'm going there, and some are coming back.

Since childhood I've dreamed of playing in the NHL. Why? It can be explained with a trite but true phrase: it's the best league in the world. For me it's a real challenge.

Yes, I know that many guys are returning now to the Russian league. Some due to age and injuries. I'm talking about Alexei Yashin. Oleg Saprykin just returned to CSKA, and from Ottawa, where I'm headed. What was his reason, I don't know. Perhaps he didn't get along with someone. But I looked over his stats, they're good. He was playing and scoring.

At any rate, I'm sure Oleg will be back. If not now, then in a year. He'll play here and get a decent invitation. I think he had problems with someone there.

I also don't know why Alexander Perezhogin returned. Looks like he spent too much time in the farm club. Perhaps they didn't trust him enough. But when I think about the fates of my countrymen in North America, I see Nashville's Alexander Radulov as an example. Because he left long ago and went through all the stages and is playing on the big team. And it wasn't smooth for him. But he went through it with clenched teeth and hard work. He set a goal for himself and reached it. Others did not endure as long, but I don't blame them, of course.

Who else came back? Alexei Kaigorodov. I heard he's got back problems. Maybe that was the reason, but as far as I know they were happy with him. Enver Lisin shouldn't have even returned. They were letting him play there, but somehow he ended up in the farm club. And he didn't like that. I believe Enver made a mistake. At any rate, he's gone back to the NHL now.

Certainly they pay a lot of money now in Russia. And to be honest I was offered a contract that was higher than that of the Senators. But for now money's the last thing on my mind. I'll get that later, probably, but my chance now is the trip to the NHL.

I haven't even mentioned contractual bonuses to the team. I've got a two-way contract. I fully allow that I may get sent down, and I'm ready for such a challenge. Only I have to know that I'm playing for the farm team with the prospect of making the big club. Otherwise I'll return to CSKA where they're waiting for me.

Many people are asking me whether I'm scared. I'd have to say no. The main thing is to get there. The flight is a really tough one, with two stopovers, in Frankfurt and Toronto. In Ottawa, though, I'm sure everything will be fine. They'll meet me, lodge me at a hotel. And it should get easier from there. By the way, Ilja Zubov and Anton Volchenkov are already in Ottawa. I hope they'll help me out, especially since my English is not so good. I know some things, tried working with a tutor, but to study a foreign language during the season is very difficult, as you can imagine. Hopefully I'll quickly catch on during training camp.

I only know the plans going forward in very broad terms. I think it's practicing until September 13, and then all the prospects are gathered. There will even be three games. Oleg Saprykin says they show the fastest hockey in the world during these games. Everyone's flying, showing themselves off. Twice as interesting.

Later entries:

September 5: Jumpsuit for Parshin
September 11: It'd be nice to see Ottawa
September 12: Already playing, already scoring
September 18: "Shoot more," Heatley told me in Russian
September 19: Ottawa reminds me of Yaroslavl
September 25: I'm not taking faceoffs for now, they tear the puck away
September 26: Will be breaking through the farm

October 2: I'm in the farm, but hopefully not for long
October 3: They hit you even if you’re without the puck
October 9: Dump-ins still aren’t my thing
October 16: Feels like I’ve played the whole season here
October 19: Didn’t get it once in the hole
October 26: The farthest road trip
October 29: We ate beef and shrimp

November 13: Without shots or pills
November 16: Zubov’s no help around the kitchen
November 22: They even brought in a psychiatrist
November 23: Don’t even feel like talking about it

Moderator's Note: Due to size, this thread has been closed, and, a new thread, with all blog posts to date has been created. Please click here to go to that thread now.


Last edited by discostu: 11-26-2007 at 10:00 AM.
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Old
09-06-2007, 11:20 AM
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I like this guy already. He understands the situation that could develop, and is ready for it.

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09-06-2007, 11:20 AM
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Thanks for posting this!

I really like the sound of this kid. Great attitude.

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09-06-2007, 11:49 AM
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wow i didnt know Perezhogin went back.. thats a brutal loss for montreal. He was good too.

I will tell you this. Its a lot nicer to hear this guy's attitude than listening to spezza (the good canadian kid..) tell the paper every day he knows what he is worth and wont sign for any less.

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09-06-2007, 11:55 AM
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His attitude is awesome.

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09-06-2007, 12:07 PM
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I'm definetly rooting for him! Great post!

I went to the site... I am amazed at how different/complicated the Russian Alphabet is.

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09-06-2007, 12:26 PM
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Thanks so much for translating. I love his attitude, he appears to have a really straight head on his shoulders. I'll be rooting for him.

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09-06-2007, 12:29 PM
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September 5: Jumpsuit for Parshin.

I kept thinking here about what sets the National Hockey League apart from others. Probably it's that if you've made the team, it's because of you. Doesn't matter who your agent is or who your father is. They don't pull strings over there. You get your spot in the lineup yourself, without anyone's help.

I didn't take a lot of things with me to North America. Some clothes, my laptop, some equipment. Not everything, of course, but it's better to have your own skates and shin guards. Took a couple of sticks, but obviously also ordered some in Ottawa. But what if they won't be there right away? You still have to skate.

Don't know how I'll cope with acclimatization. First time in Canada, I can't imagine what awaits me. And there's a practice on the day I get there. Maybe they'll let me just skate around and not ride me too hard right away.

My CSKA teammates for the most part were really good about my leaving. They joked, of course. Denis Parshin and Sergei Shirokov, my linemates, ordered a bunch of things and said to come back quickly. Not that they wished I'd fail, but we've really gotten used to one another. Finish each others' sentences. Too bad our line's breaking up.

By the way, Denis ordered a jumpsuit. Gave me his size. If I come back, I'll definitely bring him a present. I want to stress that I'll return only to the CSKA. It was very important for me to leave the team on good terms with everybody. And we settled everything with the team president and the head coach. When will I be back? We'll see how it goes. Maybe in time for the New Year, but I'll reiterate that my goal is to secure a place in the Ottawa organization.

I feel confident, however the only thing I lack is the physical part. But everyone who went through the North American system says I'll pick up on that in no time. The physical conditioning will improve, the shot will become more powerful, endurance will rise. The rest is pretty much in order.

Also it's curious just to live in another country. Everyone says Western people have a different mentality. Not that many NHLers played for the CSKA. Peter Skudra, David Nemirovsky, but they're almost Russians. As far as actual Westerners, only this year Dragan Umichevich, a Swede, arrived. I didn't have a problem communicating with him. We attempted conversation. I was using my mixture of English and Russian. Yes, English is a weak point for now. But I'll try learning it. Perhaps in October my girlfriend will arrive, she's fluent in English. She'll help.

I'll be staying at a hotel for the time being. If everything goes well, then certainly it's possible to start thinking about real estate. But that's really far off.


Last edited by ThirtyFive: 09-06-2007 at 12:50 PM.
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09-06-2007, 12:31 PM
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Thanks very much for the post!

Would you mind translating any futures blogs?

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09-06-2007, 12:32 PM
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props for the translation

nikulin was allready one of my fav prospects for the sens. This just elevates him to being awsome.

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09-06-2007, 12:33 PM
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This is a fascinating blog. It's really interesting to see inside the mind of a wide-eyed but knowledgable rookie. I love this guy already.

Quote:
If everything goes well, then certainly it's possible to start thinking about real estate.

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09-06-2007, 12:35 PM
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Hey thanks for the cudos, people! Ottawa is one of my favorite teams (unless they play the Rangers ) so I was very excited to see that a Russian prospect started keeping a blog on his experience with the team. Should be fascinating reading. I'll keep my eyes open and post here whenever Nikulin posts anything new.

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09-06-2007, 12:42 PM
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FYI you can use google to translate the page....just search for the page address, then click by the link that comes up that says translate this page.

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09-06-2007, 12:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Masterplan View Post
FYI you can use google to translate the page....just search for the page address, then click by the link that comes up that says translate this page.
Automatic translation, especially from Russian, is really only good to get the gist of what's written, and even then it's sometimes really hard to get what's going on.

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09-06-2007, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by ThirtyFive View Post
Automatic translation, especially from Russian, is really only good to get the gist of what's written, and even then it's sometimes really hard to get what's going on.
Quite true, but the gist is quite good, compared to my actual comprehension of Russia

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09-06-2007, 01:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danishh View Post
nikulin was allready one of my fav prospects for the sens. This just elevates him to being awsome.
I agree. Even though I've never seen him, there's that almost personal connection that makes someone a fan favourite. Pretty interesting read as well considering it has to do with all of the machinations and planning that goes into bringing a player over.

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09-06-2007, 01:02 PM
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From what he says in the original blog entry, he appears willing to go play in Bingo assuming that the team gives him the feeling that he will have the opportunity to be called back up.

He said the same thing earlier in the summer but then Murray was quoted as saying that he'd be over for training camp to get a taste and then would be returning to Russia. Then next year he'd be back to play in North America full-time (either with Ottawa or Bingo).

I guess we'll have to see what happens but I think if the Sens tell him the right things and he makes a decent-enough showing at camp, then he should be in Bingo to start the year.

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09-06-2007, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Senstra View Post
wow i didnt know Perezhogin went back.. thats a brutal loss for montreal. He was good too.

I will tell you this. Its a lot nicer to hear this guy's attitude than listening to spezza (the good canadian kid..) tell the paper every day he knows what he is worth and wont sign for any less.
FYI: Perezhogin was nowhere near as good as you think he was. And by no means is a "brutal" loss for Montreal. He took a lot of dumb penalties at innoportune times...

Just wanted to say that.

Oh and this blog's pretty interesting. Gives you an idea that not ALL Russians run away from NA. Glad to see that some are looking to persevere. Hope that this guy turns out to be all right for OTT.

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09-06-2007, 01:19 PM
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It's funny that people would ask him when he'll be back, and even more telling that he would say "Maybe in time for the New Year," etc. I guess with the money being paid in the RSL these days, expectations are shifting quite quickly; it seems to me that not too long ago most prospects, Russian or otherwise, would have naturally exhausted their opportunities to make the NHL before considering going back. Now the calculation is down to a few months, maybe a year?

Well, nice to see that he intends to make it... I'll be rooting for him, he seems like a good kid, and the enormity of the personal upheaval really shines through from his blog. The quality of the translation is very good too, nice work.

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09-06-2007, 01:26 PM
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It's funny that people would ask him when he'll be back, and even more telling that he would say "Maybe in time for the New Year," etc. I guess with the money being paid in the RSL these days, expectations are shifting quite quickly; it seems to me that not too long ago most prospects, Russian or otherwise, would have naturally exhausted their opportunities to make the NHL before considering going back. Now the calculation is down to a few months, maybe a year?

Well, nice to see that he intends to make it... I'll be rooting for him, he seems like a good kid, and the enormity of the personal upheaval really shines through from his blog. The quality of the translation is very good too, nice work.
He knows that he can try again to make it next season, if things don't work out initially. Going back no longer means giving up on the NHL eternally. Guys he mentioned, like Kaigorodov, Lisin and Saprykin, will probably be back in a year or two. He mentions that Lisin will already be back this season. It is no longer the case of Russia OR the NHL, you can do both. I still think the AHL is the best option from a development standpoint, but you have to understand these are young guys with the opportunity to make millions, in their native countries, speaking their own language, with teammates they are familiar with and share a culture with, and with family/friends/girlfriends nearby. I don't blame them for finding it a more enticing option that toughing it out in the AHL in a foreign country, when neither option gets them to the NHL immediately.

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09-06-2007, 01:28 PM
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He really does sound quite intelligent and well-spoken (writen?). I'll be very much rooting for him as well. It's always nice to read these inside views, and moreso from a prospect.

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09-07-2007, 11:54 AM
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Very introspective, and lacking clichés. I liiike.

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09-07-2007, 01:27 PM
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I'll wait and see with Nikulin and any of our Russian prospects. Although, I'm most impressed with Zubov because he came early enough in his career, was willing to go to Bingo to start his career and is likely the most talented of them all.

What happens if it's February and Nikulin still hasn't gotten a call from Ottawa? What happens if he doesn't get called up at all this season, what does he do next year? With most of our other prospects they continue to work hard in Bingo until they get their chance, with Russian players you never know what they will do. It really is a risk to draft them sadly, because some of them are quite talented.

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09-07-2007, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by aragorn View Post

What happens if it's February and Nikulin still hasn't gotten a call from Ottawa? What happens if he doesn't get called up at all this season, what does he do next year? With most of our other prospects they continue to work hard in Bingo until they get their chance, with Russian players you never know what they will do. It really is a risk to draft them sadly, because some of them are quite talented.
I guess what happens would depend on alot of things, but I think in most part, it will depend on his experience in the minors. If he is 'enjoying' his time and he finds that he is benefiting from it, then I am sure he would be most willing to stay around. I think having a winning team in Bingo will certainly help with that too.

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09-07-2007, 10:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Sexytime Explosion View Post
I guess what happens would depend on alot of things, but I think in most part, it will depend on his experience in the minors. If he is 'enjoying' his time and he finds that he is benefiting from it, then I am sure he would be most willing to stay around. I think having a winning team in Bingo will certainly help with that too.
Well, if you are going to have to do it, there is no better place than Bingo. I think he will be A-OK

I would be more worried about this Zubov kid.

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