By Sergei P
When Sergei Pevtzov heard for the first time about a crazy idea to create an European league he thought it will never happened. Seriously who could imagine NHL super-stars playing over-seas? Luongo in Copenhagen? Weber is Oslo? Stamkos in Madrid? Give me a break!
The next time he was contacted it was a fact. The League is not a dream, the league is forming now and the only question was when it starts. Sergei couldn’t resist this kind of challenge and said he would participate.
Russian cities were not a big deal during city draft. In fact Moscow was taken 11th!. Huge city, lots of love for hockey and lots of potential to create rich franchise. Doesn’t make any sense. Sergei was very surprised to find out that St. Petersburg, arguably the most beautiful city in Russia was still available for him.
“I was actually flying across Europe to look for some smaller markets with great love for our game when I got a call and was told that Petrograd is available. I’m in, hell yeah let’s do it”
Now St. Petesburg had to face even bigger dilemma. Who should we take with our 2nd overall pick? Well maybe some people had to decide, but not the appointed GM.
“Peks (Pekka Rinne) is the best goalie on a market. He can play 70+ games in regular season, has long and “cheap” contract and just enough experience to convert team from out of playoff area to PO team. From just a playoff team to a contender, from a contender to a champion. So I’m not worried about Peks, if there will be a problem it won’t be our net-minder. In Russian we say , Goalie is half of the team. Well, let’s start with a best possible half” , explained Sergei.
Later top prospects James Neal and Patrick Kane were added to the team. Patrick Kane was already traded for a franchise center – Brad Richards. There are rumors that Patrick threatened a cab driver. St. Petersburg is not Buffalo and the message was sent – “Treat everyone with respect, human values will be first priority here in Petrograd”.
Eric Cole (veteran winger) Valteri Filppula (promising center) and Brent Burns (highly talented offensive puck-moving D) were added just before a new franchise has introduces their logo.
“It is amazing logo. I really love it, I really do. And I’m also proud of how good it looks” – smiles Sergei. “So we should be called St. Petersburg Lynx from now on, or in Russian – ????????? ???? “Piterskie Rysi””
Everyone was wondering who will become the first captain of new Russian franchise. We got an answer in 7th round of draft. Daniel Alfredsson, a veteran swede will have the honor to wear “C” on his shirt.
“He is an amazing player and even better person, just the guy we need”
This decision not surprisingly was supported by players immediately.
The top 6 is set-up and ready to go. Here in Petersburg we are crossing fingers to have another top-2 D. Kevin Bieksa and Karl Alzner were picked next.
“Kevin is a very smart player. He is effective on both sides of the rink, we were very lucky again to have him available in the end of 8-th round. Karl Alzner is stay at home young and talented D. With very good hockey sense. Pairing him with some veterans for couple year will make him another stud of our team” explained St. Petersburg;s GM.
The big surprise was waiting for Petrograd’s fans in round 10. Instead of taking another solid player the team has selected Jonathan Huberdau.
“Are you kidding me? Jonathan is huge potential, loaded with offensive skills. I truly believe he is the next thing. David Legwand is also very, very solid addition”
But not everything is so smooth in ex-capital city of Russia. Team management is getting criticized for not drafting Russian players. According to many Russians should be team’s first priority.
“Hockey team is not country. We are building the team we believe is gonna work best for us. Skills and attributes are our first priority when we chose a player, not his passport. After all players win for a city and city is based in Russia, means represent Russian fans”, Sergei Pevtzov was very direct and confident