Sending A Message To Kabanov

(Special thanks to Cory Twibell for providing the photo in the rotator)

Kirill Petrov is a forward that the Islanders have had the rights to now for as long as they have had Josh Bailey. When Petrov was selected in the third round of the 2008 draft, it was understood that the Islanders might not see the potential power forward crack their NHL line-up for some time. He was just beginning a four-year contract with AK Bars in Russia, and their is no secret about how difficult it is to leave that country when you have already made a commitment to play for them.

However, Petrov has stated consistently over and over again that he wants to play for the New York Islanders; that he would start in Bridgeport if he had too and stay there as long as it was asked of him; that he wants to learn the North American game and become a top-six forward in the NHL. Unfortunately, he may have to continue to wait for that opportunity. The point is that he wants it and shows it. He was at the Islanders training camp for some time before he had to return to his home country while he and his agent continue to explore their options to team up with Garth Snow.

And then there is Kirill Kabanov. Another young Russian forward who has been compared to Ilya Kovalchuk. He was considered "top-10" talent in this year's draft but wasn't selected until the third round, but for different reasons than Petrov. Although he calls himself a "good boy," his bad history already precedes him for being a bit of a troublemaker and not taking his career seriously. He was cut from his national team and it was speculated that his team in Moncton allowed him to go play for the Under-18 World Championships in Russia because his teammates didn't want him around anymore. In article written by Chris Botta at NHL FanHouse, Kabanov's father boasted with arrogance that he already was better than Ovechkin, Malkin and Kovalchuk at the age of 16, before having the chance to really prove himself. Providing a young man with too much pride can be incredibly harmful to his development.

His pride is no secret either. He is very personable and loves to talk with lots to say, and when he is on the ice he likes to be the center of attention, having referred to hockey as "not only a job but just a fun game. It’s like part of a show.”

And here he is finally with the opportunity to prove what he is really worth. He wasted no time in sharing his appreciation to the fans of Long Island as well as the organization at the Prospects Scrimmage back in June:

"I really like Islanders fans, they’re like crazy (laughs). It’s really cool. I like Long Island a lot. But they like I got a lot of tattoos and I can promise in less than one year I’ll have one here, (points to his chest), like a big one, a map of Long Island. Really, I promise!”

I was able to get one question in since he had a lot to say, providing many laughs during the interview, asking if the fact that his stock had dropped in the draft would motivate him even further to produce and make the most of his career. “I will try to work hard and do my best and I’ll try to make the team as soon as I can,” he said

Well if that's the case, why did he show up late to training camp twice, succumbing himself to the scolding of Scott Gordon on the ice in front of the rest of the team? You would think a player would find this embarrassing since he was being made into an example. He was kept around for the Orange and Blue scrimmage that was held today at the Coliseum, but one can only wonder how much of his irresponsible behavior will be tolerated before he is sent back to Junior.

Although I was unable to make the scrimmage today, I followed up on the Islanders web-site as well as Twitter. I read that Kabanov was placed on the fourth line alongside of Gillies and Konopka. This is not to disrespect the role that these two guys play, but does one really think that Kabanov is going to be able to show off his moves and produce offensively when he was put with two guys that are going to be using their hands more for fighting than scoring goals? To me it was another message being sent by Scott Gordon. If you're not going to take your job seriously, don't expect the Coach to give you the role you think you deserve.

There was a video posted on Twitter by Chris Botta and by the New York Islanders of Trevor Gillies and Kabanov playing a friendly game on the ice. Several pucks were spread about by the left face-off dot with the puck bag between the two of them. Both players were to take turns flipping up one puck at a time just a few inches off the ice and then to tap it into the bag. The one with the highest amount put in the bag would win. Kabanov, with the better hands and skills, was off to a good lead. But after a while he started to get a little carried away, as he started to flip his pucks above his head and would try to slam dunk them into the bag. He missed most of the time and Gillies began to catch up in the score and even teased him for getting a little too cocky. Sure, this is just a fun game and not to be analyzed seriously. But you can bet it says at least something about his character.

The New York Islanders are giving him a chance to repair his career and start over from scratch. It could end up perfectly for both sides: Kabanov can turn into an NHL star and the Islanders can be lucky enough to have him on their team. Or it can end poorly with him being unable to get his act together and never finding the success his talented hands deserve.

It's all up to you, Kabanov. It's time to grow up.

-Rob McGowan

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3 Comments

Patrick Storto's picture

I think at the end of the day, while there is no doubting skill, there's a reason why he was drafted in the third round given his skill level and no one should be surprised. Maybe he'll eventually grow up, but given what you've said, it doesn't seem like that will happen anytime soon.

Just another nail in the coffin for Russian hockey players.

czechtacular's picture

Sad this actually makes me sad.
He had promise last year in Moncton before, well. Everything.
Should be interesting to see what happens when his training camp experience ends.

George Prax's picture
JeffMarek wrote:

Islanders send Kirill Kabanov back to the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL. First stop when he gets there, here: http://tinyurl.com/24jkubb

http://twitter.com/JeffMarek/status/25694703848