NHL Free Agency 2010: Are Russian Free Agents Becoming “Persona Non Grata”?

July 11th, 2010 by Brad LeClair Leave a reply »
The Russians were the Canadians' fierce and bitter rivals in the early 1970′s.

The Canada-Russia Summit Series was the culmination of that bitter hatred. In what many hockey experts called “Hockey’s Cold War,” this summit series not only put Russia on the hockey map, but also brought Russians over to North America for the first time.

Russians coming over to North America these days is not a strange thing to see. But nowadays, Russian NHLers have begun their journey home to play in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). Alexei Yashin, Alexander Radulov, Viktor Kozlov, Sergei Zubov, and most recently, goaltender Evgeni Nabokov have done as such.

So why has there been such little activity in signing free agent Russian players?

Why has there been a rapid decline of Russian players taken in the first round of the NHL Draft?

Has Russia truly taken themselves out of the hockey world and secluded themselves on an island?

To answer the first question, the lack of activity in Russian free agents can be attributed mostly to Ilya Kovalchuk and his taking his sweet time to make a decision. Granted, it' ...

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