Friday, October 8, 2010


The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s bad boy is back for another season.

“What happened in the past doesn’t have a place in the future,” Moncton Wildcats forward Kirill Kabanov told Yahoo! Sports blog Buzzing the Net. “If you would break up with your girlfriend, you probably start thinking about your next life. I broke up with my girlfriend, I’m thinking about the future, I don’t think about her anymore. ... It’s a part from my past life, so it stays (behind me). Girlfriend, hockey, you’re just supposed to look to the future, see what you can do to change bad opinions of the other guys thinking about you.”

The New York Islanders prospect has had quite a journey over the past year. But the troubled Russian has said he is leaving all that in the past.

"What happens in the past stays in the past," he said to the Times and Transcript earlier this week. "I can't change the things that have already happened. I just have to make sure that I don't make the same mistakes again. If I want to show everyone that I've changed myself and I'm a better person that I used to be, I just need to work hard and play well and don't make the same mistakes again.

"It's my life and it's up to me to rebuild it. I need to be a good team guy. I need to be a good teammate. Of course, I made a lot of mistakes in the past. Honestly, it was all my fault last season.

It was over a year ago now, but Kabanov could very well be Saint John Sea Dogs property. With the first two QMJHL picks in the 2009 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft, the Sea Dogs passed on Kabanov both times and selected Stanislav Galiev and Tomas Jurco. Kabanov, who was considered a top 10 pick for the 2010 NHL draft at the time, was taken seventh overall to the team up the highway.

After a lengthy dispute with the International Ice Hockey Federation, Kabanov made his way to New Brunswick to join the Wildcats. He played his first career game at Harbour Station, a 3-2 overtime loss for the ‘Cats, on October 17. Saint John would win 21 straight more consecutive games following the victory.

Following a lengthy recovery from wrist surgery, Kabanov eventually returned to Moncton on February 19. But in the first round of the playoffs, Kabanov would leave the team amongst rumors of internal fighting among the Wildcats. After returning to his native country to join the under-18 national program, he was tossed from the team before the tournament started.

All because of those salty delights and some bad manners with the Russian coach.

“I took one peanut!” Kabanov said incredulously to The Hockey News on May 28, 2010. “It wasn't even his office, it was just a room in the dressing room.”

The somewhat hilarious interview with THN didn’t stop there, going on to discuss hotel rooms.

“I played one year in the KHL, then I came to the Quebec League,” he said. “And the hotels were better in the Quebec League!”

The fun didn’t stop there as his agent, JP Barry, dropped Kabanov as a client.

“It just wasn’t a fit,” Barry said to The Hockey News on June 6. “We wish him the best, but we advised him to seek other representation.”

Along came draft day where Kabanov slipped all the way to the third round. Not surprisingly, the dysfunctional New York Islanders were willing to taking a job at the misfit. Surprisingly, the Isalnders have not signed him to a 15-year contract.

After a summer off from the shenanigans, he would arrive on Long Island for Islanders camp. Not once, but twice would Kabanov arrive late for practice. The situation made headlines around the hockey world, but when asked by Yahoo! Sports to comment on the situation, he would not.

New York assigned Kabanov back to Moncton last week to further his development – and maturity – on and off the ice. But in typical fashion, paperwork got in the way and he could not play in Wildtown last weekend.

He’s expected to make his season debut tonight at 7:30 pm at Harbour Station in Saint John.

"Yeah, I'm going to play the next game against Saint John," he said. "I'm really excited about that too, to be back to junior and my own team, it's really nice. I'm really happy about that."

No matter what kind of campaign Louis Leblanc or Sean Couturier have, Kabanov is one to watch. So in the words of Terrell Owens: “Getcha’ popcorn ready!”

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