Submitted by pete on February 10, 2005 - 23:29
I just got a response back from [url=http://www.russianprospects.com/public/aboutus_staff.php]Evgeny Belashenko[/url] of [url=http://russianprospects.com]Russianprospects.com.[/url] If you can pull yourself away from that picture of the lovely Ms. Melikova, Evgeny speculates that Alex Polushin's lack of games at the Superleague level may be due to him not fitting with CSKA's new system under Slava Bykov who took over from the venerable Viktor Tikhonov. Whatever the reason, Polushin's mere 11 games at the Superleague level (3-3-6 with 4PIMs in those games) has led to some consternation amongst some Lightning fans. Others who are more vocal and less knowledgable on the web (AOL bottomfeeders I'm looking in your direction) have even gone so far to claim that Polushin doesn't deserve to be a highly rated prospect because he, to paraphrase their argument, hasn't played any hockey in two seasons.
And while it is true he missed most of last season with a knee injury, Polushin has NOT been merely serving popcorn in CSKA's pressbox this season. To the contrary, he has been playing for CSKA2 in the Farm/First League where he is at over a point a game pace at 10-13-23 in 21 games. To put that in some measure of perspective, a couple of seasons ago when Dimitry Kazionov was playing in the First League he had 14-13-27 in 34 games.
It will be interesting to see how the situation unfolds now for Polushin over the next year. If there is an incompatibility issue between Polushin and Bykov, could a transfer to another Superleague club be on the horizon? Or, could this development help motivate Polushin to drop his silly demand not to play in the AHL and come to North America to play for Springfield? Either way, something has to give. Clearly Polushin is too good to be stuck in the Farm League. In his time in the Superleague over the last two years he has put up 13 points in 24 games (.542 PPG) which isn't far behind the kind of output Superleague stars like Anton But are putting up this season.
Polushin has been ready, and is still ready to take his game to the next level be it the Superleague or the AHL. If he isn't being afforded those opportunities in CSKA he needs to move on elsewhere or risk stagnation in his development. Time is of the essence.
So let me extend a personal plea to Alex Polushin and his agent: get yourselves to Springfield. Drop the demands for the one-way contract and stop telling the Lightning you won't play in the minors. How in the world can playing in Springfield be a slap in the face when you're currently stuck in the minors back home in Russia? Suck it up, do your year or two in Springfield, prove you're the prospect we all know you are and then you'll receive all the respect and rewards you feel should be afforded you.