Vladimir Denisov signs AHL deal with Colorado
Vladimir Denisov (in red) at the '07 World Championships
22-year-old Belarusian defenseman Vladimir Denisov, who played for Lada Togliatti of the Russian Super League last season, has signed an AHL contract with the Lake Erie Monsters, the AHL affilate of the Colorado Avalanche.
The transaction has not been reported as of yet by either the Monsters or the Avalanche, or by Eurohockey.net, but was announced several days ago on the Belarus Ice Hockey Association web site. Since then, the signing has been reported by a number of Russian and Belarusian sites (link link link), including an interview with Denisov in Pressball.
Denisov was a member of the Belarus national team at both the 2006 and 2007 IIHF World Championships, and gives credit to U.S.-born Team Belarus head coach Curt Fraser for the improvements that will now see him playing in North America.
The news of Denisov's signing has obviously earned added interest in his home country, which has seen only a handful of Belarusians play in the NHL recently (Ruslan Salei, Andrei Kostityn, Konstantin Koltsov, and Mikhail Grabovsky are the few that I know of).
I don't have any Belarusian hockey songs handy to celebrate the occasion, so the best I can offer now is this one, from Denisov's RSL team:
Sucks, I know.