Ex-Sen: 'This is a joke'

Alexei Kaigorodov didn't say much when he left the Senators. But he had plenty to say when he...

Alexei Kaigorodov didn't say much when he left the Senators. But he had plenty to say when he returned to Russia and took jabs at Ottawa's coach and general manager. (Ottawa Sun File/Sean Kilpatrick)

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 10:10 AM ET

Alexei Kaigorodov might have shied away from the heavy hitting (okay, any hitting) on the ice here, but the former Senators forward threw some pretty good punches in the newspaper once he was back home.

His targets: Senators GM John Muckler and coach Bryan Murray.

Kaigorodov, who arrived in camp touted as the Senators' potential second-line centre, said he was "deceived" by Muckler and had "no communication" with the coaching staff.

Kaigorodov said he would not return to the Senators as long as Murray was coach. The kid assumes that they would want him back.

Kaigorodov played five games for the Senators (with one assist) before refusing a demotion to the Binghamton Senators of the American Hockey League. He was suspended by the Senators and returned to Russia to play for Mettalurg Magnitogorsk.

Kaigorodov did not speak to reporters here before returning to Russia, but he had a lot to say to Pavel Zaytsev of Sport Express.

DISLIKED COACHING

He sure wasn't happy with Murray's coaching.

"I have a two-year contract with the Senators, but I know for sure that I will not come back to Ottawa's present coach," he said.

Kaigorodov, who played his first NHL game Oct. 14 in Montreal, said he received almost no direction while here.

"Despite continuing to work hard in practices, for some reason, I started receiving increasingly less ice time. The last time we played Boston, I spent two shifts on the ice in the first period, and then didn't go out on the ice at all. The oddest thing is that not even one time the head coach came up to me to explain why this was the case," he said.

(Good thing he didn't have to play for Scotty Bowman.)

When asked if he looked in the mirror for some answers, Kaigorodov replied:

"Well, there was nothing to analyze! What kind of serious analysis can be made based on the ice time that I was receiving? By the way, I talked to Stanislav Chistov and Evgeni Malkin.

"Malkin told me that after almost every shift his head coach comes up to him with a board and draws something, explains everything, and even shows some video during intermissions. But I ended up in a vacuum.

"My teammates supported me to the point of the language barrier being practically unnoticeable, but there was no communication with the coaching staff."

Kaigorodov didn't see a demotion coming because he said he had been assured during the summer he would not be sent to the minors.

"Later, when my agent kept calling me in Ottawa almost every day, I asked him about this condition, and he assured me according to the club's management, it was still valid. Therefore, the conversation with (the) general manager was unpleasant and inadequate," said Kaigorodov.

"(Muckler) started telling that I do not understand the game correctly. And I replied to him: 'Did anyone attempt to help me understanding it?' My agent agreed with my point and stated that I just didn't get a chance. The manager tried to find another argument saying that moving to the farm team is just temporary, that I have to be patient, and that I will be called back to the main team soon. Why should we believe this? If they do not let me play now when the things go badly, than are they going to change the lineup when the Senators start winning? What am I hoping for? Creating a winning roster in order to return me? This is a joke! In other words, I was already deceived once, I was not willing for it to happen again."

Another observation, after saying he was impressed with players like Jason Spezza, Dany Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson: "But for some reason, something didn't work well. Actually, I noticed the coaches trust the guys with higher incomes even if they are having a bad day."

ENJOYED FANS

While he didn't have much good to say about his short-lived Senators experience, Kaigorodov did have some complimentary words for the fans.

When asked if hockey was something special here, Kaigorodov said, "Of course! Even when we played preseason games, the arena was full of people. People in Canada live with the game of hockey, and understand it perfect.

"There was an interesting story: after five days of my arrival in Ottawa I went shopping, a taxi driver recognized me and we talked about hockey for a while. Incredible!"

Really!


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