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 2006 - Aleksei Morozov
For the second time, Russian forward Aleksei Morozov has captured eurohockey.net's Player Of The Month award.
At the end of last season, in April, Morozov's play was a key in his team's, Ak Bars Kazan's, championship run. He performance was not just recognised by eurohockey.net, the slick forward also took home a string of domestic awards including the league top scorer and league Most Valuable Player award. In total Morozov won no less than seven individual Russian SuperLeague awards.
At the start of the 2006-07 season, Morozov picked up where he left. He is tearing defenses apart. In just ten league games in September, the forward was only held scoreless twice. In the remaining eight games he notched no less than 11 goals along with five assists for 16 points.
The super start might not have come as a big surprise after he already showcased it early September when Team Russia faced Finland, the Czech Republic and Sweden in the first of four European Hockey Tour tournaments. He finished as the tournament's top scorer with five points and was instrumental in Russia's 4-3 win over Sweden in which he had a hand in all of Russia's goals, a hattrick and an assist.
Aleksei Morozov is taking full advantage of the new rules that have been applied in the NHL and in the rest of Europe as of last season already. The increase of power plays is doing him no harm. In contrary, the forward leads all players in power play points so far this season.
Whereas Morozov's has caught fire again you'd expect NHL teams interested in his signature. At the end of last season, Morozov indicated an NHL return was an option for him. With the Pittsburgh Penguins likely not to re-sign him, he would have become a free agent for other teams to pick up. Yet Morozov ended all speculations by signing a new three-year deal with Ak Bars.
Against Russian newspaper SovietSport, Morozov ruled out an NHL return: "The likelihood of me playing in the NHL is nonexistent", the forward said. "I did not wait for the 1st of July - the day when Pittsburgh relinquished my rights and I became a free agent. I no longer saw the point of waiting."
His reason was mainly fed by the fact that he is currently enjoying his stay in Russia very much and has no reason to leave the safehouse for yet another risky adventure. He has thought about a possible NHL return during the summer and decided to stick with AK Bars.
"I don't want to suffer from nostalgia. And Kazan, to be honest, is where my soul lies", he admits. "Here I have an excellent coach and great teammates. The management of Ak Bars are true professionals. During my whole tenure at Ak Bars I have not faced with a single problem. From good a greater good one should not seek", he said philosophically.
The team did not regret that decision. His rocket start has seen the team quickly move away from the competitors. After 14 games into the season, AK Bars hold a nine-point lead over second place Sibir Novosibirsk (who have two games in hand still). Morozov is destined to bring home yet another championship to Kazan and is on track of capturing the Russian scoring title once again.
Third placed was Finnish Kim Hirschovits. The forward moved cross town from HIFK Helsinki to Jokerit this off-season and is one of the main reasons the team is flourishing this year compared to a lackluster 2005-06 season. He averaged a goal per game in September in the Finnish SM-Liiga.
- 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
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