Viktor Kozlov talks Islanders

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/14/2007 10:32:00 AM | | |
Viktor Kozlov speaks out on how Yashin was treated by the club and the Islanders direction this summer (among other things) in an article from that has been translated here.

But maybe Alexei Yashin is right that he came back to Lokomotiv?

I am absolutely sure that Yashin’s career will take off in the Superleague. I remember the way he was treated by the Islanders. I was present at all those scuffles myself. I saw how they treated him when he was playing through the pain with injured knees.

Did Yashin become a hostage of his mega-contract?

If he was making not seven, but three million dollars a year, no one would expect miracles from him. Moreover, Alexei still provided miracles, when his health permitted him! And everyone was happy with him. But as soon as Yashin got injured, he came under pressure: “Go out there and play.” But how is it possible if you can’t stand on your own two feet?

Why did the coach bench him in the playoffs?

Because he expected a lot of him, but didn’t give him a lot of minutes. Nevertheless, all blame was placed on Yashin, who was considered the star of the Islanders… it is sad to see what is happening to the Islanders. I don’t understand why they strengthened the team last year if all quality players were given away this off season. Nothing has been gained! Ryan Smyth came over via trade from Edmonton, but he was allowed to leave for Colorado this summer. They couldn't’t keep Blake, bought out Yashin’s contract, Poti and Hill left… But we were in the playoffs; there was bright future ahead of us.

So what happened? The players are running away from the Islanders?

A lot of players wanted to stay. Blake, for example, didn’t even think about changing teams. But how can it be done when a good contract is not offered? I was promised a small raise over the last contract [Kozlov was making $865,000 while he scored 25+26=51 points in 81 games]. But it did not correspond to my stats at all. In the end I left for Washington, the club offered me great terms [2 years, $5M]. I like that the team is young and hungry for success. I don’t want to make predictions, but I think that Washington will have a great season.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Too bad we never read anything from Kozlov in his only year with the club. Kozlov was in the room and around the team so he knows better than a fan with a blog like myself. I have to respect his comments and fair criticism of how his friend was treated by management and the club's direction this summer as he notes the players did not want to leave. All I can add is that no doubt years of expectations on Yashin likely played into some of the unfair treatment Yashin received and no doubt he was playing hurt.

I also tend to think that making the playoffs is not all this management wants to gain and that was behind a lot of players not being overpaid to stay.