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|15 июня 2006 года.
Morozov, Penguins could be rematch // Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
By Dave Molinari
Aleksey Morozov, a dominant force in Russia's Super League the past two seasons, is ready to return to this side of the Atlantic.
And he would have no objection to doing it with the Penguins with whom he spent his first seven seasons in the NHL.
Morozov, 29, will be an unrestricted free agent July 1 and his agent, Jay Grossman, said Morozov "is definitely going to return to North America" for 2006-07.
And even though some Penguins officials were unhappy with the contract Morozov signed with Ak Bars Kazan in 2004 -- it did not include an escape clause that would have allowed him to play here if the NHL had been able to avert the labor dispute that wiped out the 2004-05 season -- Grossman said Morozov has only positive feelings about his time with the Penguins.
"He was very happy in Pittsburgh," Grossman said. "There's nothing negative with anybody in the Penguins' organization."
Penguins general manager Ray Shero, meanwhile, acknowledged that, "I've got interest in Morozov," whom he described as "a good player."
He made it clear, though, that the Penguins would consider signing him only if the contract Morozov seeks would fit into their salary structure, which is far from certain if a bidding war develops.
"What's the cost?" Shero said. "Does that justify or fit in to what we're trying to do and can we afford to do that?
"At the end of the day, the conversation with the agent is going to be, 'OK, what's the cost?' If it's a multi-year deal at a significant number, that certainly is a risk."
The Penguins paid Morozov $1.5 million in 2003-04, but it's difficult to project what he will command on the open market. Certainly, his performance in two seasons with Kazan -- he was MVP of the regular season and Super League playoffs in 2005-06 -- did nothing to lower his value.
"There's quite a few teams that have been calling pretty regularly since the middle of the year," Grossman said.
The decision on how aggressively the Penguins will pursue Morozov figures to hinge not only on the contract he will want, but on precisely what the team decides he can realistically be expected to contribute.
Will the Penguins see Morozov as the player who, in seven seasons with them, put up 50 points just one time, and went 33 games without a goal in his most recent season here?
Or will he be viewed as the guy who was among the finest players in the Super League the past two winters, who won the league's 2005-06 scoring title with 23 goals and 26 assists in 51 games and then led Kazan to a championship?
"Aleksey had two really fantastic years there," Grossman said.
NHL teams will have to decide if they believe Morozov's point-per-game pace in Russia will translate to similar production in North America, or whether his game is tailored to the larger ice surfaces and less physical style that prevails in Europe.
Grossman, predictably, believes the NHL's decision to crack down on obstruction-related penalties will work to Morozov's advantage, as it has for many players whose game is based primarily on skill.
"The game has clearly changed over here," he said. "If Aleksey was a 50-point guy in the old system, even if he didn't improve his game [while playing in Russia], what is he going to be now, a 70-point guy? Maybe more?"
When Morozov went to Russia, Eddie Olczyk was the Penguins' coach, and Craig Patrick the general manager. Those two have been replaced by Michel Therrien and Shero, respectively, but Grossman said the changes aren't likely to affect his client's view of the organization.
"There's a new coach and a new manager, but I don't think it would have made a difference if it was the old coach and the old manager," he said. "There's no negativity. ... That's not to say Pittsburgh will make the best offer or will have the best opportunity."
6 марта. Алексей Морозов: "Варианты в НХЛ у меня уже
есть" // "Спорт-Экспресс"
30 августа. Форвард «Ак Барса» Алексей Морозов: Я
остаюсь в России - Советский Спорт
24 августа. Morozov's career with the Penguins appears
to be over - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
16 ноября. Morozov not regretting his decision
6 марта. Алексей Морозов: "Варианты в НХЛ у меня уже есть" // "Спорт-Экспресс"
30 августа. Форвард «Ак Барса» Алексей Морозов: Я остаюсь в России - Советский Спорт
24 августа. Morozov's career with the Penguins appears to be over - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
16 ноября. Morozov not regretting his decision // post-gazette.com