Kaprizov’s return from Russia ‘more difficult’ than Wild expected as focus turns to hockey

Kirill Kaprizov was once at the ice Thursday morning at Tria Rink in St. Paul for the primary apply of Wild coaching camp, participation that would not have been notable.

The celebrity ahead has performed just one season of a plump five-year, $45 million contract, and his subsequent unencumber is very expected after his earlier record-breaking efficiency.

But Kaprizov’s talent to rejoin the Wild was once wondered over the summer time as uncertainty larger for Russian NHLers whilst the conflict in Ukraine persevered, ambiguity that was once sooner or later cleared up when the 25-year-old returned to Minnesota in August.

“We’re just glad that he’s here,” General Manager Bill Guerin mentioned. “We’re satisfied that he is protected and wholesome and in a position to move, and he is excited.

“That’s behind us.”

Speculation about Kaprizov’s whereabouts and whether or not he may just shuttle to the United States intensified in July main up to the NHL draft after a record out of Russia mentioned Kaprizov got here to the U.S. within the aftermath of Philadelphia prospect Ivan Fedotov getting taken to an army base in Russia as a result of his identify was once connected to fraudulent army id.

At the time, Guerin denied that record, telling journalists Kaprizov was once in Russia with family and friends and “doing fine.” But Kaprizov’s standing remained unclear till he arrived again within the Twin Cities on Aug. 2. Kaprizov wanted a piece visa, and Guerin mentioned the Wild had “some very, very special people” serving to protected that.

“It was more difficult than we thought it was gonna be,” Guerin mentioned. “We simply had some problems getting him again within the U.S. We did get assist from some pals in Washington D.C., and we are extraordinarily thankful for that.

“Kirill was really patient. Did exactly what he had to do. It was just a really tough time for him.”

With his linemate Mats Zuccarello via his aspect, Kaprizov was once requested after apply Thursday concerning the state of affairs, however Zuccarello was once first to reply, “We’re not going to talk about that. We’d only like hockey questions.”

Kaprizov, on the other hand, did point out thru an interpreter that he wasn’t frightened about making it again for the season sooner than sooner or later announcing, “If we could just keep the questions to hockey-related topics at this time, I think that’d be best.”

While Guerin mentioned he did not imagine Kaprizov was once ready that was once “life-threatening or anything like that,” he did recognize the Wild did not learn about Kaprizov’s protection to start with. Guerin mentioned he wasn’t certain if this may stay a subject for Kaprizov.

“As long as he’s here, he’s fine and things are good,” Guerin mentioned. “Just let him focus on hockey.”

Based on what Kaprizov has proven thus far, the hockey must be charming.

After getting topped the NHL’s height rookie following his debut season with the Wild, Kaprizov was once much more spectacular in his encore: 47 objectives, 61 assists and 108 issues, all staff information and manufacturing that made him the Wild’s first 100-point participant and a top-five scorer within the league. He even gained some MVP attention, completing 7th in balloting for the Hart Trophy; by no means extra did he glance the section than within the playoffs when he had seven objectives in six video games towards Central Division rival St. Louis.

His line with Zuccarello and Ryan Hartman, who’re additionally coming off their very best seasons with the Wild, was once reunited at camp, and the trio figures to be key within the Wild’s pursuit to repair the glitch that noticed probably the most a hit common season in franchise historical past fizzle into but any other first-round go out. Not since 2015 has the staff complicated.

“Every season, I want to be better and better all the time,” Kaprizov mentioned thru an interpreter, “like team results and myself.”

What’s higher than 100 issues?

“Two hundred,” Zuccarello mentioned.

The quip elicited laughs, however the concept that Kaprizov and everybody else who had profession years can keep away from changing into a one-hit marvel is tangible to the Wild.

“The challenge has been issued,” Guerin mentioned. “We need you to do it again. Let that be the standard for your game because if you do it once, you can do it again.”

When it comes to Kaprizov, any other one-up may well be extra real looking.

“I don’t think we’ve seen the most from Kirill,” Guerin mentioned. “He’s a special player.”

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