Fasten Your Seat Belts, We May Encounter Kirill Kabanov

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Fasten Your Seat Belts, We May Encounter Kirill Kabanov
Harry How/Getty Images

So how do you analyze Kirill Kabanov? That's the dilemma. Nino? Easy, grandmother immigrant story, determined guy crossing barriers, overcoming obstacles, great country, great hockey player. No problem.

Brock Nelson? Simple. New player for ignored team with dynastic history who has roots in US hockey's legendary but ignored past following bloodlines to become great hockey player. Elementary, my dear Watson.

But Kirill Kabanov? It's kind of like what Churchill said about Kirill's homeland.

Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. Which in turn is like those Russian dolls. What do they call them? Oh, yeah, matryoshkaaaaaaaaa......

"Ladies and gentleman, this is Kaptain Kirill speaking...take it easy, it's nothing. We're just going through little turbulation. We won't crash, I promise!"

My heart is pounding, my head is spinning. Images flashing past...bubble gum, tattoos, bridges blowing up, agents flying by at the speed of sound. One team, another team, then another. Top five, top 15, top 30...65?

Then suddenly we level off and start going up. More images...highlight reel goal after highlight reel goal...the Calder trophy...the Richard...the Ross...the Prince of Wales trophy...the President's Cup...the Stanley...

The plane levels off and a voice is piped through the passenger compartment, "Ladies and gentlemen, Kaptain Kirill speaking again. See, like I'm saying to you. Just a little turbulation. Nothing to worry about."

So I take a deep breath, settle back into my seat, and again try to figure out Kirill. Mom's a medical doctor, brother's a well known actor. Kid must feel the pressure to achieve at a very high level. Gotta be this, gotta be that...I mean his dad Sergei is trying to spin him as the next Ovechkinnnnnn....

"Kaptain Kirill again, Ladies and gentlemen. Sorry, more turbulation. You'll be fine though. I promise!"

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