Just a quick note on talented former 2001 second round pick Alexander Polushin:
It appears the Cold War between he and Coach Bykov may finally be thawing. After spending much of the season relegated to the First/Farm League, Polushin has suited up for the last three games for CSKA. The move might've been a last desperate effort my Bykov to make the playoffs as CSKA was all but eliminated from contention Saturday at the hands of Nikolai Khabibulin and Vincent Lecavalier's Ak Bars Kazan 5-2. CSKA sits in 10th place behind 8th place Nizhnekamsk with just three games left to go in the regular season. The Russian Superleague tabulates their standings by awarding 3 points for a win. Polushin now has 3 goals and 7 points in 15 games at the Superleague level. At last check, he also had 13 goals and 23 points in 21 games in the First League as well.
With regard to the fortunes of the Lightning's other Superleague prospects:
-Anton But has 11 goals and 31 points in 56 games for Yaroslavl. His 31 points are a new career high for But over the 29 he put up two seasons ago, but his 11 goals are far shy of the 16 he notched in the 2002-2003 campaign. Yaroslavl currently sits 5th on the Superleague table and would square off with Ak Bars Kazan if the season began today.
-Dimitry Kazionov has 3 goals and 11 points in 44 games for Lada Togliatti. His 11 points tie his career high set a season ago. Togliatti sits at 2nd on the Superleague table just 4 points out of first place. Lada would play Novokuznetsk if the playoffs began today.
-Albert Vishnyakov has 1 goal and 3 points in 28 games for the Moscow Dynamo. Dynamo is in 1st place on the Superleague table and would play 8th place Nizhnekamsk if the playoffs began today.
And for those interested in how our NHLers are doing in Russia:
-Nikolai Khabibulin is currently 3rd in the Superleague with a .935 save percentage and a 1.48 GAA.
-Vincent Lecavalier has 7 goals and 13 points in 26 games for star studded Ak Bars Kazan. Kazan also boasts a forward group that includes NHL stars Slava Kozlov, Dany Heatley, Alexei Kovalev, Ilya Kovalchuk, Denis Arkhipov, Michael Nylander and Alexsey Morozov. Lightning center Brad Richards had 2 goals and 7 points for the Panthers prior to leaving Russia to have abdominal surgery. Ak Bars also can boast Ruslan Salei on defense and netminders Nikolai Khabibulin and Fred Brathwaite between the pipes.
-Dimitry Afanasenkov has 1 goal and 10 points in 27 games for Lada Togliatti where he currently plays with Lightning prospect Dimitry Kazionov. Togilatti sits five points ahead of Ak Bars despite only boasting NHLers Afanasenkov, Dainius Zubrus and Viktor Kozlov up front, largely thanks to veteran goaltender Jussi Markkanen who has to be a favorite to garner many honors in the Superleague this season.