Kaigorodov Russian for 'fan hype'

ERIN NICKS -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 10:03 AM ET

GO ON, SAY HIS NAME -- Alexei Kaigorodov. Uh, Kai-GOR-o-dov. Kai-gor-ROD-ov.

However you choose to pronounce his surname, you may be curious about the origin. Loosely translated, "Kaigorodov" means, "Fan Hype."

This kid's name makes me crazy right now, and it has nothing to do with his play, his impact on the upcoming training camp, or whether a verbal mention of him will lead to a tongue spasm.

It's the hype. The Internet hype that's been building for nearly a year. And the confirmation that the 23-year-old will be in Ottawa this week has led to speculation so thick, you couldn't suck it up with a straw.

I can't stand hype, but it's everywhere. Here are three, off the top of my head: Michelle Wie, the '97 Green Bay Packers and the comeback attempt of Andrew Raycroft.

Regardless of whether the hype is deserved, you can add this annoyance to my list of turnoffs (along with any type of egg dish and Hunt Club Rd. traffic).

The thing is, I don't want to root against Kaigorodov -- quite the contrary. If he's the right man for the job, any Senators fan will desire to see him thrive with the team as an upcoming centre.

The key phrase here is "upcoming centre." But if you read any of the confident claims online, the young Russian will automatically accomplish the following next year:

1. Blow any challengers out of the water and attain the No. 2 centre position with ease;

2. Challenge Jason Spezza for the No. 1 position;

3. Win the Calder Trophy;

4. Score 80-plus points.

There was also some mention of the rookie deciphering cold fusion on his days off, but I think the fans were being facetious.

So what's causing some Sens supporters to pour out months of bravado, when we're talking about a player who has yet to experience the North American game? Are they going on international play, and YouTube snippets of the Russian Superleague? What do they know that we don't?

Here's what is truly known about the Senators' most-touted prospect this year: Kaigorodov possesses fantastic vision and regularly sets up his linemates with smooth and efficient passing. The Russian is lauded for his performance in tournaments, particularly the 2005 Spengler Cup -- Kaigorodov helped lead Magnitogorsk Metallurg to a decisive victory in the final over Canada last year.

However, there's a sticking point that will surely worry those concerned with the Senators' potential for grit: Kaigorodov is not a physical player.

In fact, NHL sources who have played against Kaigorodov in the RSL claim that his dislike of physical play borders on haphephobia. This kid does not like to be touched.

Whether Alexei Kaigorodov makes the final roster remains to be seen. But as of right now, there are some that expect the prospect to emerge as a white knight -- the missing puzzle piece that Ottawa has been searching for.

That's a lot of responsibility to pile on a player, fresh out of the Romazan Sports Palace and arriving as a neophyte to Scotiabank Place.

Kaigorodov didn't create this hype machine. It's the result of nearly 12 months of online anticipation, leading up to this week's training camp. And who wouldn't be content to see the rookie start off with a 40-point season? Almost everyone would -- except those that have created a mythical beast with a tongue-twisting name -- a beast we're not even sure exists yet.

INSIDER OUT: Have you checked out the sign-up for the Sens Insider lately? The survey asks for you to name your favourite player. The only free agent new-schooler listed is Martin Gerber, but even more disconcerting is the absence of Christoph Schubert and Patrick Eaves. And if you're feeling nostalgic, Brian Pothier is still listed.

LION'S NAKED ROAR: Detroit Lions assistant coach Joe Cullen was arrested late last month, after entering a fast-food drive-thru in his SUV while naked. The coach allegedly will be facing charges for disturbing the peace -- he let out an ear-splitting scream after an order of hot fries fell in his lap.

SWELLED OPINION: Here's more proof that the Body Mass Index system doesn't work for athletes: Eagles QB Donovan McNabb is listed as a 31 -- anything over 30 is considered obese. Cowboys WR Terrell Owens qualifies as "overweight" with a BMI of 28, but it should be noted that his swollen head threw the calculations off.


Videos

Photos