I really don’t like this news. TSN is reporting that he has officially signed a contract with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL. I haven’t heard yet if he has any outs or anything.
I was mostly resigned to the likelihood that he wouldn’t return to the Dallas Stars, but I was planning to watch him play for whatever team he joined. I wanted him to come back to town with his new team so Stars fans could give him a long standing ovation in his new uniform. It would have been very moving.
Now, we’ll just never see him again. We won’t get to say goodbye.
I’m not mad at either side, surprisingly. I don’t blame Joe Nieuwendyk for wanting to wait and see if he’s healthy or for offering him a much-reduced amount. And I don’t blame Zubov for thinking he can still play and wanting to play for somebody that’s willing to take a chance on him.
I don’t know what I’m going to do; cheering for a team that Sergei Zubov doesn’t play for. I never have before.
He has such a fluid style. He can still deke with the best of them. He can still head straight for a defender and then yoink the puck and spin away at the last second, while the other guy looks around, comically confused.
I’ll miss the way he trails one toe as he serpentines through the neutral zone. Or turns on the heel of his blade as he ducks around the crowd at the net and flips the puck into the top corner.
Or holsters his stick after scoring a particularly humiliating shootout goal.
I’ll miss his beaming, dimpled smile when he or a teammate scores a goal.
Adoration makes him uncomfortable, but it’s his own fault for being so great. It’s pretty much assumed his #56 jersey will go up into the rafters in the AAC the minute he retires, and it had better.
Maybe we can say goodbye on that night.