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Thursday, December 02, 2010

Isels prospect Kabanov a happy Maineiac

From the Moncton TimesTranscript:


Kabanov returns to Moncton as the enemy
Published Thursday December 2nd, 2010
Lewiston forward facing his former club tonight
By Neil Hodge
Times & Transcript Staff

Kirill Kabanov is getting a new lease on life in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey

"When I first heard that I was traded I was a little bit confused, but once I
arrived here I was so happy right away," said the 18-year-old left winger in
reference to the Oct. 28 deal that saw the Moncton Wildcats ship him to the
Lewiston MAINEiacs.

"Lewiston is smaller than Moncton, but it's a nice city. The fans are good. My
billet family is good. It's a really nice team and the organization is perfect.
I'm very happy to be here. It's a perfect place for a young hockey player to
improve himself."

Moncton faces Lewiston tonight at 7 p.m. and the Gatineau Olympiques tomorrow
at 7:30 p.m. in a pair of games at the Moncton Coliseum.

Moncton sent Kabanov and a 12th round pick in the 2012 QMJHL draft to Lewiston.
The Wildcats acquired goaltender Jordan Kennedy, 17, second- and fourth-round
picks in the 2011 QMJHL draft, a fourth rounder in the 2012 QMJHL draft and a
first rounder in the 2011 Canadian Hockey League import draft.
All indications are the Wildcats will have the option of giving back one of
these draft picks next summer in exchange for a player who's currently on the
MAINEiacs roster. Tonight marks Kabanov's return to Moncton.

"The trade surprised me when it happened, but thanks to (Moncton head coach
and director of hockey operations) Danny Flynn and (Wildcats owner) Mr.
(Robert) Irving for sending me to such a good team," said Kabanov. "It's like a
new chapter in my book.

"I feel good about the trade. I think it was a good decision for Moncton also
because they received draft picks and a good young goaltender. That will help
them rebuild their team. I'm not mad at Moncton. They're a good team and I wish
them good luck this season."

Kabanov has seven points, including three goals, in 11 games. All that
production has come in his nine games with Lewiston.

He was considered a candidate for first overall pick in the 2010 National
Hockey League draft when he arrived in Moncton, but his stock fell dramatically
last season as he became surrounded by red flags. The New York Islanders ended
up claiming him in the third round.

Kabanov had 23 points, including 10 goals, in 22 games last season in the
QMJHL. He missed three months due to injury. He never seemed to fit in with
the Wildcats and left them one game into the playoffs under strange
circumstances to play for Russia in the World Under-18 Hockey Championship. He
was kicked off the Russian team before the tournament began. He has gone
through multiple agents. The circus continued in September when the Islanders
kept him off the ice after he was late for the first day of NHL training camp.

Kabanov hasn't yet lived up to expectations so he has plenty to prove this
season. He has an image to rebuild both on and off the ice.

"I want to say thanks to all the fans in Moncton," he said. "They were great to
me. It was not my decision to leave the Wildcats. Trades are a part of hockey.
I love Moncton, it's a great city and I have a lot of friends there. I love my
former billets in Moncton.

"It was tough playing my first game against Moncton (last Friday) because I
know pretty much all the guys on their team. I have a lot of friends on their
Lewiston, 21-8-0-2, is tied for third overall in the QMJHL and it has 13 wins
in the past 14 games. The MAINEiacs have two former Moncton players, the other
being forward Matthew Bissonnette.

How is Kabanov fitting in with Lewiston, which sits No. 10 in the Canadian
Hockey League rankings?

"Everything's been great," said MAINEiacs head coach Jean-Francois Houle. "He's
been showing up to the rink happy to be here. He's been good in games,
blocking shots and working hard. No issues at all.

"It's a second chance for him and he's looking to take advantage of it. He's a
good kid. Change is good for kids sometimes. Sometimes it's good when you can
go somewhere new and get a fresh start. His fresh start is here and we're happy
to have him.">>

Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home
telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on
Twitter @ehornick

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