Shipachyov: Russians should 'think 10 times' before leaving KHL

by 6d ago
YURI KADOBNOV / AFP / Getty

Vadim Shipachyov is happy to be home.

A one-time prized free-agent signing by the expansion Vegas Golden Knights, the Russian forward retired from the NHL on Thursday after his short stint in North America barely got off the ground.

"The promises which I was given in America didn't come off, but everything works out for the best," Shipachyov told the KHL. "A lot of other SKA players who are here now have gone down this route, it's probably the correct strategy.

"Now I know that Russian players should think 10 times before leaving for abroad, it's different from what the clubs and agents tell you."

In all, Shipachyov suited up for three games with the Golden Knights, picking up one point. He was later assigned to the Chicago Wolves, but refused to suit up for the minor-league team, and instead opted for a return to Russia.

On Saturday, Shipachyov inked a one-year deal with the KHL's St. Petersburg SKA, where he played the past four seasons prior to drawing NHL interest.

St. Petersburg is the defending Gagarin Cup champion whose lineup includes former NHLers Ilya Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk. Shipachyov was a part of last year's championship squad, as he was in 2015, and his return could further spark the first-place KHL club that has won 23 of its 31 games.

Shipachyov, 30, finished second in SKA scoring last season - just two points behind Kovalchuk - tallying 76 points in 50 games. He is disappointed he couldn't replicate that success in the NHL, but is happy to be back in familiar surroundings.

"Before the season's start, I was told by the general manager that they need to send a player to the AHL, and I am that man," Shipachyov stated. "He said for me to help them in order to trade defensemen, and then I will make my debut.

"Face to face I was told one thing, but when it came to hockey, the story changed ... However, even a negative experience helps you appreciate how things worked in St. Petersburg."