Someone over at the Sportsnet forums found Senator prospect Alex Nikulin's blog and translated it for us. There's some interesting thoughts about coming to Ottawa as well as his idea that Oleg Saprykin left Ottawa because he wasn't getting along with "someone".
Here's the full translation:
"September 4: Why I'm going there, and some are coming back.
Since childhood I've dreamed of playing in the NHL. Why? It can be explained with a trite but true phrase: it's the best league in the world. For me it's a real challenge.Yes, I know that many guys are returning now to the Russian league. Some due to age and injuries. I'm talking about Alexei Yashin. Oleg Saprykin just returned to CSKA, and from Ottawa, where I'm headed. What was his reason, I don't know. Perhaps he didn't get along with someone. But I looked over his stats, they're good. He was playing and scoring.At any rate, I'm sure Oleg will be back. If not now, then in a year. He'll play here and get a decent invitation. I think he had problems with someone there.
I also don't know why Alexander Perezhogin returned. Looks like he spent too much time in the farm club. Perhaps they didn't trust him enough. But when I think about the fates of my countrymen in North America, I see Nashville's Alexander Radulov as an example. Because he left long ago and went through all the stages and is playing on the big team. And it wasn't smooth for him. But he went through it with clenched teeth and hard work. He set a goal for himself and reached it. Others did not endure as long, but I don't blame them, of course.
Who else came back? Alexei Kaigorodov. I heard he's got back problems. Maybe that was the reason, but as far as I know they were happy with him. Enver Lisin shouldn't have even returned. They were letting him play there, but somehow he ended up in the farm club. And he didn't like that. I believe Enver made a mistake. At any rate, he's gone back to the NHL now.
Certainly they pay a lot of money now in Russia. And to be honest I was offered a contract that was higher than that of the Senators. But for now money's the last thing on my mind. I'll get that later, probably, but my chance now is the trip to the NHL.I haven't even mentioned contractual bonuses to the team. I've got a two-way contract. I fully allow that I may get sent down, and I'm ready for such a challenge. Only I have to know that I'm playing for the farm team with the prospect of making the big club. Otherwise I'll return to CSKA where they're waiting for me.
Many people are asking me whether I'm scared. I'd have to say no. The main thing is to get there. The flight is a really tough one, with two stopovers, in Frankfurt and Toronto. In Ottawa, though, I'm sure everything will be fine. They'll meet me, lodge me at a hotel. And it should get easier from there.
By the way, Ilja Zubov and Anton Volchenkov are already in Ottawa. I hope they'll help me out, especially since my English is not so good. I know some things, tried working with a tutor, but to study a foreign language during the season is very difficult, as you can imagine. Hopefully I'll quickly catch on during training camp.I only know the plans going forward in very broad terms. I think it's practicing until September 13, and then all the prospects are gathered. There will even be three games. Oleg Saprykin says they show the fastest hockey in the world during these games. Everyone's flying, showing themselves off. Twice as interesting. "
"September 5: Jumpsuit for Parshin.
I kept thinking here about what sets the National Hockey League apart from others. Probably it's that if you've made the team, it's because of you. Doesn't matter who your agent is or who your father is. They don't pull strings over there. You get your spot in the lineup yourself, without anyone's help.
I didn't take a lot of things with me to North America. Some clothes, my laptop, some equipment. Not everything, of course, but it's better to have your own skates and shin guards. Took a couple of sticks, but obviously also ordered some in Ottawa. But what if they won't be there right away? You still have to skate.
Don't know how I'll cope with acclimatization. First time in Canada, I can't imagine what awaits me. And there's a practice on the day I get there. Maybe they'll let me just skate around and not ride me too hard right away.
My CSKA teammates for the most part were really good about my leaving. They joked, of course. Denis Parshin and Sergei Shirokov, my linemates, ordered a bunch of things and said to come back quickly. Not that they wished I'd fail, but we've really gotten used to one another. Finish each others' sentences. Too bad our line's breaking up.
By the way, Denis ordered a jumpsuit. Gave me his size. If I come back, I'll definitely bring him a present. I want to stress that I'll return only to the CSKA. It was very important for me to leave the team on good terms with everybody. And we settled everything with the team president and the head coach. When will I be back? We'll see how it goes. Maybe in time for the New Year, but I'll reiterate that my goal is to secure a place in the Ottawa organization.
I feel confident, however the only thing I lack is the physical part. But everyone who went through the North American system says I'll pick up on that in no time. The physical conditioning will improve, the shot will become more powerful, endurance will rise. The rest is pretty much in order.
Also it's curious just to live in another country. Everyone says Western people have a different mentality. Not that many NHLers played for the CSKA. Peter Skudra, David Nemirovsky, but they're almost Russians. As far as actual Westerners, only this year Dragan Umichevich, a Swede, arrived. I didn't have a problem communicating with him. We attempted conversation. I was using my mixture of English and Russian. Yes, English is a weak point for now. But I'll try learning it. Perhaps in October my girlfriend will arrive, she's fluent in English. She'll help.
I'll be staying at a hotel for the time being. If everything goes well, then certainly it's possible to start thinking about real estate. But that's really far off. "
Anyways, here's Nikulin's page over at Hockeys Future if you want to get a better view of his skills.