Saturday, August 5, 2006

Reasonably good, somewhat hopeful news?

That sound you hear is the on-again, off-again splutterings coming from Tractor Boy, aka Alexei Mikhnov, or more accurately, his agent Don Meehan. According to Matty in today's Journal, Mikhnov wants out of Russia, has given his two week notice and now Meehan is trying to get him out of the country, transfer agreement be damned.

Luckily enough, Don Meehan is also Evgeny Malkin's agent, which means he's probably well-versed on Russian labour law, especially on that loophole labour statute that allows a Russian citizen to leave any job after 2 weeks notice, even if the employee has a contract.

Suddenly, there's a little more hope than yesterday. Bringing in a 6"5 monster nicknamed after farm equipment would go a long way in helping us forget Chris Pronger. And here's the best part: he actually wants to come to Edmonton. Cool, huh? Of course, the dude is coming from Yaroslav, so if we show him a handful of snow I'm pretty sure he won't squeel like a girl and then demand a trade.

I'm trying not to overrate the guy, but his 14 goals in 40 games of the low-scoring Russian SuperLeague was pretty impressive (Ovechkin had 13 goals in 37 games with Dynamo Moscow, for comparison's sake). The SuperLeague is the second best league in the world, with at least a half step on the AHL, so I definitely have the hots for this guy over Rob Schremp (a 10 goal-ish Hemsky rookie-type thing would be a good season for Captain Thong). Getting this guy would make training camp a lot more interesting, that's for sure.

Here's hoping...

8 comments:

Chris! said...

Wow, that's huge news. That would make Mikhnov actually the first Russian player to exploit that loophole to join the NHL, considering that Malkin is still only threatening to do so. (According to an Aug. 3 report in the Russian paper Sport Express, he is still only saying he is "95% certain" he will cross the pond.")

We ran a story on this contract negation thing in the Post today, and apparently it really is as easy as two weeks' notice, except that Russian team owners are basically telling players who bolt that they are traitors to their country and will never play in the Russian Super League again as long as they live.

While risking banishment is a safe bet for guys like Malkin and Mikhnov, who are all but guaranteed an NHL roster spot (and top rookie salary) next year, the threat is potent enough to discourage players the Senators' Alexei Kaigorodov, who may be kicking themselves when they're making $45,000 in the AHL instead of $500,000 with Metallurg.

Anyhow, Mikhnov is big news. I've been liking how determined this guy is to come to the NHL and prove his worth. He's a thrilling unknown, and I wish I still lived in Edmonton so I could check out a couple camp scrimmages and see what he can do.

Eyeris said...

Not to say the entire Russia is run by crazy mafia types with funny accents, but if Mikhnov decides to take advantage of this clause, what's the chance of him, or any member of the Oilers management team, suffering some kind of ill-effects? The kind of ill effect that sees our promising rookie dead in the undercarriage of a plane.

I think Tom Clancy wrote something about this!

Steve said...

So, um, David Tanabe: too far-fetched?

Alana said...

Sportsnet is also reporting the two-weeks notice rumour now. Maybe there's something to it. I'm pumped to see this guy play as an Oiler.

Chris! said...

Steve: yeah. I doubt anyone on the Oilers' staff would have suggested his name a month ago, so I think picking up Tanabe would reek of desperation. But with the way Prendergast is talking up Hejda as Spacek II (pre-playoffs, I presume) and muttering about how Gilbert and Syvret could make a run for the lineup this year, maybe we are desperate.

Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

Pass on Tanabe.

But I think they may go into camp with what they've got and then decide after seeing Hejda and the kids.

Jordi said...

ohhhh Yaroslavl! I was thinking a sort of scenario like - Spacek: "Tell... *cough* *wheeze* Tell em that I sent you"

Anonymous said...

Mikhnov as our new forward / Hejda as our new defenseman. Check their stats and experience in Russian / International hockey - we are fine until December.

In January, Lowe has to decide if holes need to be filled - until then, so long as we are within 10 points of a playoff spot, give the newcomers all the ice time they need to "sink or swim"...