Russian out of picture for Sens

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:38 AM ET

The Senators are quickly losing hope of having Alexei Kaigorodov in the lineup this season.

And he was expected to become a significant part of it, too.

However, stalled player transfer negotiations between the Russian Hockey Federation and the NHL means it's starting to look like Kaigorodov -- Ottawa's second-round pick in 2002 -- will have to remain in his homeland for at least one more year.

PENGUINS IN SAME BOAT

The Pittsburgh Penguins are among the other teams that will suffer until an agreement is reached, as they are eagerly anticipating the arrival of Evgeni Malkin to complement Sidney Crosby. But the Senators were just as anxious to add Kaigorodov, an offensively skilled puckhandler who is expected to be one of the NHL's top rookie scorers -- when he finally gets to play here.

There were expectations of Kaigorodov settling in as Ottawa's second-line centre.

"It's a blow to our hockey club," said GM John Muckler, adding that management is still exploring various options that could bring Kaigorodov over for the 2006-07 campaign. "I don't like our chances as well as if there was an agreement.

"I know Kaigorodov does have a contract over there this year. I don't know what the laws are ... I'm sure they differ from here."

PLAYED WITH ELIAS, SYKORA

Kaigorodov was a teammate of Malkin's last year on Magnitogorsk Metallurg Russia, but his production did slip to nine goals and 23 assists in 50 games. In 2004-05, he played on a line with Patrik Elias and Petr Sykora and scored 15 goals and 33 assists in 57 games.

Barring a trade, the Senators will likely now have to choose from the likes of Mike Fisher, Antoine Vermette and Dean McAmmond for a second-line centre.


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