When the Islanders picked Kirill Kabanov with the 65th overall pick in June's NHL Entry Draft, nobody was surprised that his stock had fallen so far. Once projected as a mid-first round pick, Kabanov's behavior with Moncton of the QMJHL last season saw the team toss him aside, with Dan Flynn, the coach of the Wildcats, telling the media that the the team was better without him.
His cocky attitude, even after his departure from Moncton, was enough for him to be thrown off of Russia's World Junior Championship team. His agent, J.P. Barry, left his side just before June's draft, too.
But one would be foolish to think that having an attitude makes someone lose their skill. So when the Islanders selected him at 65th, everybody thought that the pick could eventually be considered a steal... if Kabanov could turn his behavior around.
His media availability at the draft gave people a good feeling about him, as Puck Daddy pointed out at the time.
What would Kabanov say to the Islanders fans who view this as a gamble?
"A risky pick? I can promise you ... is there a video camera?" he said, motioning to a tape recorder. After locating a television camera in front of him, Kabonov spoke directly his new fan base.
"I can promise you that I will not leave New York. I can give to all the fans my passport. So they don't think I'll go back to Russia."
Kabanov's a charmer. Funny, honest, willing to acknowledge some faults while attempting to explain away others. And he had a lot of explaining to do as he wore an Islanders jersey over a shirt and tie.
Well, the Islanders opened rookie camp this morning, and Kabanov? Well, just about what you'd expect.
Kirill Kabanov will not be skating this morning for disciplinary reasons; showed up late for team physicals #Isles
Enjoy, Isles fans.