Monday, May 09, 2005

Lupul & Chistov talk trash about Cincy; Are Chistov's days with Ducks numbered?

As was reported on here May 7th, the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim could be moving their AHL affiliate from Cincinnati to Portland, Maine. Adding fuel to the fire is a comment from Joffrey Lupul in today's Post-Tribune.

Lupul on life with the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks:

"It’s a little tough to adapt to; it’s a different life. Even when I played
junior in Medicine Hat, we had 5,000 fans at every game. And here, we’re playing
home playoff games in front of 1,400 fans. It’s a little disappointing. Cincinnati’s definitely not a hockey hotbed."

Stanislav Chistov on the Cincinnati Gardens:
"Everyone says it’s the single worst place to play."

Now, certainly this is not a malicious swipe at the Queen City by Lupul and Chistov, but it does sound to me like comments from a couple of guys that knows they won't be playing there much longer. They must know that the team is moving to Portland right after they win the Calder Cup, so they figure what the hell. (By the way, the Portland franchise has never averaged fewer than 4,000 fans per game and last season averaged 4,339 for a team that did not make the playoffs.)

The big story, in my mind, is buried near the bottom of the article (and I've done the same thing here). According to the writer, Chistov has "resigned himself to playing in Russia next year without a contract offer from Anaheim."

Now, I'm not a big fan of Chistov. I think the guy has gotten progressively worse the longer he's been in North America. He's a classic case of a guy that has the European hockey skill set (puck handling and skating) and not the North American hockey skill set (quick shot release and physical play). This is a guy that, in the 2002-2003 season at age 19, had 12 goals and 30 points for the Mighty Ducks and looked to be a future star. The next season he had two goals and 18 points. This season he only had 38 points (and 141 penalty minutes!) for Cincinnati!

That being said, I don't want to see the Mighty Ducks #1 pick from 2001 (#5 pick overall) just walk away. He's still just 22 years old so let's give him time to find himself and his game in North America before we give up on him. If you don't think he's going to pan out, trade him, but don't let him go for nothing. I don't want to make the same mistake the Queens made with Olli Jokinen and give up on him early only to see him develop into an All-Star for another team.


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