A long-ranging interview with Islanders prospect Kirill Kabanov in sports.ru (Russian) by Igor Eronko drew some angst -- because we are prone to fear the worst -- when Yahoo's Dmitry Chesnokov tweeted a very select excerpt asking rather suggestively, "Kabanov upset with the NHL?":
"Everyone [in Russia] kept saying 'NHL, NHL.' You get there and will be famous.. As a boy I had an impression [the NHL] was paradise. But when I came here I realized that the made-up image and reality are different things."
Don't be misled. Chesnokov is referencing the checkered history Kabanov has with the KHL, as demonstrated by Chesnokov's additional tweet: "there's 0 chance he'd be taken back to the KHL after the amount of dirt he poured on them over the years."
In a few interviews in those days Kabanov ripped the KHL experience (he goes into that in this interview) -- so it is in that context a Russian reporter focuses on any hint of a change of heart.
If you read the rest of the interview (well, the Google Translate version), you can see that context pretty clearly, as well as lots of happy talk from Kabanov about the Islanders (he's also talking about this on Facebook right now), with whom he signed a three-year contract this summer:
On being drafted by the Islanders, despite falling further in the draft than anyone expected before bad PR hit his season:
Yes, very happy. Insanely happy, I would say. Because the "Islanders" - a team where the young have a chance. We just take that chance. And no matter what round I was chosen.
On Jack Capuano:
A very good coach, very funny. He jokes often, I like it.
He said he was impressed by Frans Nielsen, Mark Streit, Kyle Okposo and John Tavares and also appreciated the help of the Islanders alumni:
With Mike Bossy is familiar - it also works on the Islanders. We had often talked. What to say? To add, developed, worked on himself. A couple of times met with Brian Trottier, with Denis Potvin and many others. I was surprised that all these legendary hockey players - very simple, though very friendly, always willing to suggest something. None of them, no neglect of nothing yuntsam have achieved, on the contrary, all support it.
There's plenty more if you can translate or decipher the Google version. On growing older, maturing, the faster thinking required in North American hockey -- and of course, his agent working on where he plays this season, since the NHL-CHL agreement keeps the Islanders from sending him to Bridgeport, but his QMJHL team already has its two import slots filled.
Stay tuned to that situation, which hopefully resolves soon. But this is still the guy who was all smiles on Long Island this summer, including that impromptu roller hockey game he showed up to.
Don't let the fact he's a symbolic figure in NHL vs. KHL and North American vs. Russian development PR wars change that.