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Canucks Pitch to Russian Star Kuzmenko Began Friday Morning

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Vancouver Canucks, Allvin and Kuzmenko
Vancouver Canucks General Manager Patrik Allvin will try to land Russian free agent winger Andrei Kuzmenko.

No din-din. I misinterpreted some reporting on the alleged schedule Thursday evening for the Vancouver Canucks and their pitch to Russian free agent forward Andrei Kuzmenko. The player’s agent Dan Milstein pointed out to VHN Thursday night that the actual presentation begins Friday morning and that the timetable is open, meaning the efforts could continue through lunch and into the afternoon, or not. They likely will.

The player and agent did not indicate when they planned on leaving town as of yet, which might give Canucks fans some reason for optimism. What would it mean exactly if they decided to hang out for a little bit.

Milstein also clarified some erroneous reporting out of Edmonton, or was it TSN nationally, that the tour would continue to two more American cities after the Vancouver Canucks completed their pitch. As first reported Thursday by Rick Dhaliwal, Vancouver is the end of the line for Kuzmenko’s considerations. He’ll likely take up to a week to make a decision as to for which NHL team he wants to play.

(By the way, Kuzmenko ended up having a nice seafood dinner in Vancouver on Thursday evening, as opposed to something like a steak dinner with club representatives. Thank you to fans for sincere and comical restaurant recommendations on social media.)

Ultimately the decision making timetable for Kuzmenko will only be about a week later than Milstein had previously indicated.

The first deadline for NHL teams to sign European free agents was June 1st. The next signing period opens up with general free agency on July 13th. However, this does not prevent a player such as Kuzmenko from announcing his decision and his intentions.

The 26-year-old, right-shot left winger finished 2nd in overall scoring this past season in Russia’s top Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) and has spent the last eight seasons in the KHL, four in Moscow with CSKA followed by four more with SKA St. Petersburg. He played for two full seasons in St. Pete’ with current Vancouver Canucks forward Vasily Podkolzin, most recently in 2020-’21.

The two players do not share the same agent or agency.

VHN Managing Editor Rob Simpson has been covering the NHL for three decades on live TV, radio, and as a journalist. He worked his first ever game getting postgame sound as a teenager; it was Vancouver vs. Detroit.

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