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October 26, 2002
Saprykin agent downplays saga - Calgary Herald


Much ado about nothing? Brian Lawton certainly thinks so.

Lawton, the Minneapolis-based agent, commented publicly for the first time Friday on the Oleg Saprykin situation, after the Calgary Flames announced that the 21-year-old Russian prospect had rejoined their farm team in Saint John, N.B.

Saprykin, the 11th-overall draft choice of the National Hockey League club in 1999, had gone AWOL from the American League's Saint John Flames -- and was consequently suspended without pay by Calgary -- after catching a Sunday-morning flight to Seattle and missing a Saint John practice on Monday morning.

A waste of ink, according to Lawton.

"I've never seen things more blown out of proportion by a bunch of guys who have nothing else to write about," said Lawton, who hadn't returned calls on the subject for three days. "You'd think there were enough things to write about on that team. I was shocked, quite frankly."

Calgary general manager Craig Button considered the sudden disappearance of a former first-round draft pick important enough to convene a Tuesday meeting in Minneapolis between team officials, Saprykin and Lawton while the Flames were in town to play the Minnesota Wild at St. Paul.

"A lot of (Saprykin's action) was born out of frustration," said Button on Friday morning. "People want clarity. Oleg wanted to know exactly what he had to do to get to the NHL. I never felt there were any (trade) demands made."

Saprykin had spent the entire 2000-01 season in Calgary, tallying nine goals and 23 points. Since then, he's played just three NHL games, and was again sent to Saint John in September after going pointless in two exhibition games.

"He felt slighted, not getting a chance to participate in more exhibition games," said Lawton. "He probably should have voiced those opinions when he left (Calgary). But things happened so abruptly for him, he was probably more in shock.

"He is a legitimate prospect. I don't really think that's something that's even out there for debate. At the very worst, he's on the cusp of making it in (the NHL)."

It appears Saprykin still has a strong desire to play professionally in Russia. He'd apparently been poised to hook up for a Russian Hockey League team offering a one-year, $650,000 US contract, although that is currently impossible since his entry-level contract with the Flames doesn't expire until July 1.

"The Russian Hockey League is paying a lot of money, I know for a fact. I represent (San Jose Sharks restricted free agent) Alex Korolyuk, who is playing in Russia," said Lawton.

"I had asked Craig over the summer that if Oleg wasn't going to play (in Calgary), it might be more productive to play in the (Russian) elite league. Would he consider it? The answer has consistently been no.

"Oleg knows he can't play in Russia now. It's the same as Alexei Yashin a few years ago," said Lawton. "But if he ever wants to play in Russia again, he'll have that option at the conclusion of this season."

Страничка Олега Сапрыкина на сайте "Звёзды с Востока"

Материалы прессы

Сезон 2005-06 

26 января. Сапрыкин приподнес подарок Уэйну Гретцки на день рождения.

24 октября. Форвард «Финикса» Олег Сапрыкин: Очень хочу помочь сборной //"Советский Спорт"

Сезон 2004-05 

26 августа. Олег Сапрыкин переезжает в Аризону. 

Сезон 2003-04

21 мая. Олег Сапрыкин: Я не верю в свое счастье! - Советский Спорт

Сезон 2002-03 

26 июня. В следующие три года Олег Сапрыкин заработает $3.5 миллиона долларов.

Сезон 2001-02

21 января. Saprykin's brush with greatness // Calgary Herald


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