Player of the Month
The European Hockey.Net European Player of the Month is awarded to the player with the most oustanding performance over the course of the month
Nominations are collected at the end of each month, then a vote by the site's admin team decides the winner.
September 2005 - Sergei Zinoviev
The first 2005-06 European Hockey.Net Player Of The Month award travels to Kazan, Russia.
With the NHL lock-out players gone, other players now get the chance to step into the spotlight. 25 Year-old Sergei Zinoviev, got off to hot start this season.
During the first 11 games of the season, the small Russian forward scored no less than 15 points (7 goals + 8 assists) for his team Ak Bars Kazan and led the league in points and assists. Those numbers include two hattricks scored in September. No player managed to score two hattricks in the Russian Super League for 5 years. Zinoviev did it within a month.
Do his team mates already calling him Mr. Hatrick? Zinoviev isn't the man to talk big. "Don't exaggerate. The schedule is really tough; games are going one after another. There's no time for inventing nicknames," Zinoviev told Russian newspaper Izvestia earlier this month. "Of course it's nice to score 3 goals in a game. You will always remember such an achievement. But from the other they [Sibir Novosibirsk and Viyyaz Chekhov] weren't the strongest Superleague teams," the forward says honestly
On top of that he also scored the fastest goal in the league when he struck after just 17 seconds into the game.
Playing extremely well in a high profile league, the Russian forward plays continues to play down any hype that might occur. All reason to take a closer look at this player.
Sergei Zinoviev was born on March 4th 1980 in Novokunetsk. As many Russians, Sergei started playing hockey at an early age. His talent was soon discovered by his local team Metallurg. He played with the team till the 00-01 season. By then his name was already in every scouts notebook.
During the 2000 World Junior Championships, Zinoviev made a name for himself by notching 2 goals and 3 assists in 7 games. It earned him a more than respectable third round draft position where the Boston Bruins selected him with the 73rd overall pick.
He moved to top team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl but had trouble coping with the high expectations that came upon his arrival despite a solid 12 points in 29 games. In order to get more ice time, Zinoviev moved to Salavat Yulaev. There the forward received more ice time which resulted 9 points in 8 games. He followed it up with a successful season in Moscow (Spartak with 30 points in 51 games before ending up at Kazan.
Ak Bars Kazan has been a major force in Russia and Zinoviev's move paid off for both parties. 14 Goals and 16 assists were enough to have the Boston Bruins management to convince the player to come over.
His spell in North American wasn't particular stellar for Zinoviev. He appeared in 10 NHL games (having a single assist) and played a handful of games in the AHL before he decided to go back to Russia.
Back on familiar ice, Zinoviev continued where he left off. In a season and a half he scored no less than 54 points and capped it off with a spot on the Russian national team that played the World Championships last year in Austria.
The national team is one of the reasons Zinoviev is still playing in Russia this season. As the Olympics are coming up in February, the forward can showcase his skills week in, week out.
Zinoviev: "I will always be ready to play for the national team."
Nevertheless he has not yet given up on a return to the NHL.
"Ak Bars has become a home for me,, Zinoviev said. "I've been playing here for a couple of years now and am very happy here. My agent has been having talks with the Boston Bruins during the summer," the forward knows. "So I don't rule out a return to North America."
Despite the Ak Bars Kazan roster saw a lot of new faces during the off season, Zinoviev's line is one of the most lethal lines in the Russia Super League. He is centering a line consisting out of, former Pittsburgh Penguins forward, Aleksei Morozov and Danis Zaripov.
Zinoviev underlines the value of his team mates that led to his great start. "I surely found some chemistry with my partners - Zaripov and Morozov. Their contribution in my goals is immense. Guys assisted me so good that I should have only put my stick to the puck."
Coming off a solid season last year, Zinoviev now fills the gap left by the returning NHL players. How does the player see this 'new' season?
"Of course the show element suffered from the exit of NHL'ers. There are not too many guys who can deke like Jagr or check like Kasparaitis, but I don't think that you can say the level of the teams has dropped dramatically," Zinoviev says confident. "We had a lot of skilled guys here even before lockout. The main thing right now is that our league is still very interesting. The strong teams are approximately at the same level and there's not a clear favorite."
Ak Bars is surely amongst those favourites. The team will be looking to overcome last season's early post-season exit against Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. The early stages of the season give no reason to believe Zinoviev and his team mates can pick up their golf clubs early this season. The forward himself will be looking to a special season. If he can keep up his current form the 2005-06 season could become a busy one for Zinoviev. With the Olympics and the World Championships targeted and a long playoff run estimated, the forward is likely to join the Boston Bruins pre-season camp already early in the 2006-07 season.
Zinoviev would not complain if his number of spare days is limited this year.
From the eurohockey.net archive
- March 2007 - Petr Sykora
- February 2007 - Bernd Brückler
- January 2007 - Martin Prochazka
- December 2006 - Martin Kariya
- November 2006 - Pavel Brendl
- October 2006 - Kimmo Rintanen
- September 2006 - Aleksei Morozov
- May 2006 - Kenny Jönsson
- April 2006 - Aleksei Morozov
- March 2006 - Reto von Arx
- February 2006 - Nicklas Lidström
- January 2006 - Patrick Yetman
- December 2005 - Miroslav Hala
- November 2005 - Vasily Koshechkin
- October 2005 - Tony Salmelainen
- September 2005 - Sergei Zinoviev
- May 2005 - Jaromir Jagr
- April 2005 - Henrik Lundqvist
- March 2005 - Henrik Lundqvist
- February 2005 - Marian Gaborik
- January 2005 - Jaromir Jagr
- December 2004 - Tim Thomas
- November 2004 - Marian Hossa
- October 2004 - Jukka Voutilainen
Buy now from amazon.co.uk
NHL Eastside Hockey Manager 2005
For PC and Mac