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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Andrei Nazarov to Rangers?

Bow To No Man
Beating on midgets makes me laugh

With Dale Purinton serving a 10-game suspension and Peter Worrell trying to lose weight in the minors, there are rumors that the Rangers are interested in bringing Russian forward Andrei Nazarov to New York to be the team's enforcer. The Star Tribune, a Minneapolis paper, had this brief note on Sunday: "The Rangers have inquired about Wild bruiser Andrei Nazarov." A few days later, the Journal News, a Westchester paper, printed this blurb: "Reports out of Minnesota have the Rangers interested in Wild left wing Andrei Nazarov... The Wild were one of several teams to have a scout at last night's (Rangers-Panthers) game."

Nazarov, who played for Avangard Omsk during the lockout last season but received a one-year suspension after a run-in with a referee, is currently in Wild head coach Jacques Lemaire's dog house, having played in only one game for the Wild this season. In that game Nazarov took a bad penalty, and has been a scratch ever since. Nazarov has a one-way contract worth $625,000, meaning that he'd have to clear waivers if the Wild were to try to send him down, and then he'd earn his NHL salary while in the minors, thus explaining the Wild's interest in trading him.

The following interview with Nazarov appeared recently on the Russian site, Sport-Express:

What sort of mood do you find yourself in?
Not a very happy one. Any professional who finds himself sitting most of the time would not consider himself a happy person. Besides, being fond of Russia. Minnesota is not a bad state for hockey, but nevertheless it is pretty dull here. It is not like Moscow or Omsk, where I played last season. On the whole, I have to assume responsibility for the situation that has lead to me playing in only one game. I do not have any leverage considering my past history, and I must recognize my place on this team.

The head coach of Minnesota, Jacques Lemaire, was always considered a supporter of "enforcers". Why does he not have confidence in you?
I'm not going to argue with Lemaire, who is a strong coach. We are not a team of stars, but om recent years the club has had success. This, obviously, is to Lemaire's credit.

In the local press it has been said that a number of clubs are interested in you, headed by the Rangers. Is it possible that the fans might see you play again with Jaromir Jagr, only this time in New York instead of Omsk?
I know about the interest on the side of the Rangers. Moreover, in the summer I was close to signing a contract with the Rangers, but I decided to take the best deal financially, which proved to be with Minnesota.

Do you regret that now?
There is a common saying, everything that is not done is for the best.

And now there is no one in New York to protect Jagr?
It seems that way, yes. Dale Purinton was disqualified for 10 games for poking another player in the eye during a fight. The Rangers are evaluating Peter Worrell in their system, but I have heard that it is not going well for him with their farm club.

I was told recently that during the lockout, Peter put on a lot of weight, almost to 150 kg (over 300 lbs), so when the season began he was not ready.

Doesn't it make sense in this situation for you to call Jagr in order to speed up a trade?
No, in the NHL that would not be acceptable.

But they will be advised by Jagr about acquiring protection for him?
That is completely possible. If the Rangers have already contacted Minnesota, this means that Jagr has already voiced his opinion in this regard. I know that in Omsk, Jagr repeatedly indicated that he felt very comfortable on the ice, knowing that I was around.

It is known that you and Kasparitis do not have the warmest relationship, as we all remember with the two of you from a game between Ak Bars and Avangard. Is Darius capable of vetoing your trade to the Rangers?
I actually can't say that I'm a friend of Darius, even despite the fact that we both began our careers with Dynamo. But, I assume in the NHL there is no place for such personal grievences. We are all professionals, I hope, understanding that we have the same goals. ("I do not have the right to interfere with the team's policy," was Kasparitis' comment to Sport-Express on the situation.)

How do you explain the sharp reduction in the number of fights this season?
I can assure you that this will be temporary. We are all adapting to the new rules. As soon as the situation is back to normal, "enforcers" will return to their previous significant roles. Plus, I know very well the special traits of Canadian coaches. As soon as they start to lose regularly, they begin to remember all about using their fighters.

Which of your fellow players do you consider to be contenders as the number one fighter in the NHL?
This could be a long discussion. In previous years, for myself I considered Brashear, Laraque, and the very same Peter Worrell. However, it's too early to tell in the present season, therefore I'm in no hurry with any ratings.

One last question. What do you predict will happen between you and Minnesota?
I assume now my chance of being traded as fifty-fifty. Either they decide to play me, or else very quickly they will trade me. For as long as I stay with the team and remain on the bench, there is no one-- either the club, the coaches, or myself-- who benefits.


Blogger Brushback said...


On Wednesday (11/2), still not having been traded, Nazarov accepted an assignment to Minnesota's AHL farm club, the Houston Aeros.

11/4/05, 9:21 PM

Blogger Brushback said...


Now it is being reported that, as to be expected, Nazarov will go back to Russia to play:

(from Sport Express) Forward Andrei Nazarov, who began the season in the NHL with Minnesota, will possibly fly to Moscow at the end of this week to join Khimik.

11/10/05, 10:47 PM

Blogger Brushback said...


An addition report today in Sport Express begins with Nazarov declining to discuss specifics about a return to Russia, since his contract with Minnesota is still valid. However, he confirms that there is "some truth to the rumor". It is still being reported that Nazarov will be flying to Moscow within a day.

Nazarov's one-year suspension from the Russian Super League, which had been preventing him from returning to Russia to play, was lifted on November 10th.

11/11/05, 9:04 PM


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