I think the Nikulin situation is one with two sides of the coin.
Firstly, I can see Keogh's point about Ottawas reluctance to look outside of itself, and its new team philosophy when regarding prospects. By ignoring a talented player who didnt quite fit the mold, they lost an important AHL piece, and potential future piece. They didnt seem to clearly identify areas of improvement for him and allowed him to twist in the wind, with a paper-thin hope of making the team. In his eyes, Murray and co. drastically mishandled the situation and misrepresented their intentions with him.
Secondly, and this is moreso where I would fall, we really dont know what transpired between the end of last season and the beginning of this season between the team and Niks. It seems like he was under the impression that a position was his to lose, which I would say is a believable situation. You could argue though, that he did in fact just lose it. Maybe they ignored a talented prospect who didnt quite fit the mold, or maybe they saw a talented prospect who didnt quite put the work into being as NHL-ready as he couldve been. I dont doubt that Nikulin was not what Ottawa management were looking in regards to style of play, but it doesnt seem like he stood out in what he does best either. Similarly, Regin lasted late into cuts and Zubov brought hope with him as well. As much as Nikulin may have deserved a better result for the time hes put into this organization, but if he was being outperformed by others who carry a similar style (regin, zubov) than he cant blame anyone but himself.
In the end, I would say its too bad things didnt go better for him in this organization, and it may very well end his NHL dreams. While some may say it says alot about our organization to handle a player like that, I would say it says alot about our organization that we could cut a player of his quality and not miss a beat. Its probably better he finds a home elsewhere, and I hope he does. He may just have to show more than he did this fall.
I will say right away that if Iím going back to Russia, itís only to play for the CSKA. When Iíd be able to join the team I donít know. Maybe in about two weeks, but perhaps more time needs to pass.
One thing is clear: I will not be playing for Ottawa. A lot of stuffís happened during this time. Ilja Zubov and I were sent down to the farm, prior to which I was told they were unsatisfied with the results of my tests. That was rather strange to hear, because I improved all my results from last year. And anyway, tests are one thing; playing the game is another. They didnít give me a chance to play in the exhibition games. But did give that chance to Ilja Zubov. Put him on the fourth line with the tough guysótry and prove yourself there. I donít even know whatís better; maybe, like in my case, to never take to the ice at all. And could the tests really matter that much? Especially given the fact I played on the big team last season, having worse conditioning status than I do now. Plus, players with better results were sent down. So itís not just the tests.
Only afterwards did it become known that the coach just doesnít see me on his team. Just doesnít see me there, and thatís it. He didnít explain anything to me personally, my agent was told of this, but thatís the official version. That seems a lot more like the truth, but I still donít understand why I couldnít have been given just one chance, why I was simply crossed out.
So, Iíve asked for a trade, and the General Manager of the Senators Bryan Murray has agreed. But for some strange reason itís been really dragging. Because I was supposed to have been traded last week by Friday. Then they moved the deal to Monday. But then on Monday nothing was clear again, so I wait. Now the team has left for Europe where theyíll start the season. Iím hoping everything will be settled there. For now Iím training with the farm team. But Iím not prepared to wait a long time for a deal, two weeks at most. If Ottawa canít find a deal, Iím heading to Moscow.
But then again, a lot depends on where Iíd be traded. For instance, if itís Detroit, then I can buy a ticket to Russia right away. I wonít have a chance to play for that team. I would like to get on an average team, so I can play. By the way, should the new team also send me down to the AHL, Iíll again have to think. I will find out for how long this would be. Iím not going to waste a season in the minors.
Obviously, Iím hoping everything works out in the best way. I wonít say where I would like to end up. Iíve become a bit superstitious lately. At any rate, Iím waiting now, but itís apparent now that Iím spending my last days in Ottawa.
How is it that Nikulin's agent is the one told Hartsburg didn't want him on the team instead rather than telling Nikulin himself? You have to wonder when that assessment was made--if it was some time ago the team would have done itself a favour by trading him then. If they wanted to move him, why not audition him in the pre-season? A botched job all around--the Sens give up on a prospect in such a way that he likely can't be traded for another asset.
No, they want to play in the NHL, and how many times do they have to repeat that before people stop with the stereotypes and realize that these guys aren't the typical Russian that people think of? Not everyone is going to bolt to the KHL once they get a chance.
Yep I was wrong with my assumptions. Lets see how long Zubov sticks around playing in the AHL.
Zubov's 2 years younger, doesn't have a girl tying him back home, and already was willing to spend one summer over here to avoid distractions like friends. His entire demeanor seems a lot more grounded than Nikulin, who over the course of his blog definitely did seem to acquire more and more of an air of entitlement. This last post was probably the most arrogant sounding of them all.
I was willing to think that Nikulin's desire to play in the NHL would have at least had him stick out the length of his contract - and if he hadn't made it by then, sign a new contract in the KHL for next season.
His entire demeanor seems a lot more grounded than Nikulin, who over the course of his blog definitely did seem to acquire more and more of an air of entitlement. This last post was probably the most arrogant sounding of them all.
I agree with this. That post looks really arrogant to me.
it's not like anyone could have foreseen that happening.
I remember posters ripping into me for saying that he would book home if he did not make the NHL.
I think Zubov sticks around another year but the same situation will happen with him if he is not on the roster next year.
This is not surprising, well not to me anyways.
Originally Posted by IdiotsPickedMyName
He always sounded like he would stick it out, I'm sort of surprised really. I mean does he really think many players make it after just one year in the pros on as good a team as Ottawa?
I don't think he is "bolting" because he didn't make the team, but because he was never even given a chance. I shared his confusion on the conditioning thing. His agent hearing that he just wasn't looked upon as being on this team by Hartsburg or organization make more sense.
If you were a player trying to crack the NHL, and you were cut early in camp, not even given a chance to perform in a preseason game, what would your realistic opinions about your future with that team be?
I was rooting for Nikulin, but I also watched him play all last season. He's got some decent skills, but has zero physical game. That was what distressed me the most about his blog entries...he kept saying he had adjusted to the North American style of hockey, but the guy played like a wet noodle. He avoided contact and tried setting up the pretty play. It's unfortunate, but he just didn't get it. I expected better things after his summer conditioning, but his play looked worse in preseason. Now I just hope the Sens can package him with Zubov and get us a decent defenseman in return.
This whiner got 14 goals in 71 AHL games last year. Be GLAD he wants out.
He got 50 points in 71 games, 3 on the team (Hamel had 55), on what was the worst team I've ever seen in Binghamton. He struggled most of the season, but towards the end he was adjusting to the speed and playing better. MANY of the guys in Bingo packed it in and were coasting, but Nikulin kept working. Unfortunately he avoided contact and tried to duck and weave into the zone. I was hoping he would change, but he just doesn't get it. Someone will be interested in him since he does has better hands and speed then a lot of guys, but Ottawa wants to get tougher and that is not Nikulin's game.