Suglobov: If you're not Ovechkin or Malkin, don't bother
Former Toronto Maple Leafs forward Aleksander Suglobov (3 goals in 46 games between the AHL and NHL last season) thinks the odds of making it in the NHL were stacked against him, according to an interview he gave that was just posted on the Russian site Sports Daily.
Said Suglobov, "The reality is that if you're not a Malkin or an Ovechkin, it's going to be very hard to make the roster in the NHL. You have to go over there already being a well-known, coveted player.
"I remember my first year, when I didn't make the team in New Jersey. The next year they had already given the one open roster spot to Zach Parise, who had been drafted in the first round. It's pretty simple; if you're drafted in the first round, you'll be given a much better chance.
"It's possible that there is a bias towards foreigners, but I wouldn't say that they're out to get us. I was treated very well. I hadn't even gotten to Toronto, and the press was already going crazy. They knew me on the street before I had even played in my first game."
Suglobov says that his struggles this past season in Toronto started when he injured his back in November, and that by the time he was able to make it back to the ice, there were other younger players on the team who had moved ahead of him. Suglobov also said that he had a good relationship with Maple Leafs head coach Paul Maurice, who he had worked with the season before when Maurice was coaching the Toronto Marlies, the Maple Leafs' affiliate in the AHL.
Suglobov added that "Canadians are much more fun than Americans", although he complained about one Canadian player (not mentioned by name) who came over for dinner, and "began to wander around the house without warning, opening the refrigerator, walking in and out of the rooms... Russians are brought up to know better. Canadians, for some reason, think that just because they're your contemporary, they can be rude like this."
I guess it's a good thing that I've never visited Suglobov's house, cuz that's kinda what I do, too.