Tuesday, May 16, 2006

KZ in the NHL

Our next story is about a hockey player from Kazakhstan, Nikolai Antropov. He was born in February, 1980, in Ust-Kamenogorsk, capital city of hockey in Kazakhstan. His father brought him to a hockey school and a kid started his hockey career. "My father was my first influence in hockey," says Nikolai. Soon he became one of the major players of his team “Torpedo Ust-Kamenogorsk”. He played two seasons in Kazakhstanian league, 1996-1998. His scores were not bad at all for the sixteen-year-old youngster; in 50 games he scored 17 goals and made 25 assists. In 1998 he moved to the Russian league, like all the best players from the former Soviet Republics. He played for “Dynamo” Moscow one season (30 games, 5 goals, 9 assists). He also represented Kazakhstan at the World Junior Championships collecting eight points (three goals, five assists) in six tournament games. In 1999 he was ready for the next step. Nikolai’s talent was noticed by the NHL and at age 19 he signed a contract with the Canadian Toronto Maple Leafs as a first round draft choice. Soon he became one of the leaders of the Leafs. In 2 seasons with the AHL St. John’s Maple Leafs and 6 seasons with the Toronto Leafs he has a total of 83 goals and 139 assists, with an NHL total 187 points.

During the 2004-2005 player lockout, Nik went east to Russia, playing for the Kazan Ak-Bars and the Yaroslavl Locomotiv, and by all accounts improved his skating and overall play. He returned to Toronto in fall 2005, and despite an injury plagued season (he underwent knee surgery again in April), Nikki contributed 31 points (12 goals, 19 assists). He is currently one of only two Kazakstanis playing in the NHL. Married to fellow Kazakhstani Lena Synchenko, Nikki is father to two sons. He has also captained the Kazakhstan National Hockey team in the 2002 and 2006 Olympics.

Here are some of Nikki's career highlights:
  • Registered his 100th career NHL point (goal) December 23, 2003
  • Played his 200th career NHL game April 3, 2003
  • Best NHL year to date, 2003-2004, with career highs in games played (72), goals (16), assists (29), points and penalty minutes
  • Ranked 15th in the NHL for game winning goals (6-tie) in 2003-2004
  • Made his first career hat trick in his first season, December 1999
  • Made his first career point in his first NHL game, October13, 1999

•Team Calls Him: Nikki
•Height: was-6'3 now 6'5

•Weight: was-191lbs now-219lbs
•Born: February, 18th 1980
•Place: Ust'-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan
•Contract Status: Active
•Shoots: Both (Prefers Left)
•Position: Centre
•Last Amateur Club: Dynamo (Russia)
•Strengths: Size
•Pronunciation: AN-TRO-POV

Nikolai Antropov at Wikipedia.com
Nik's lifetime stats at Sportsnet.ca
Profile at Legends of Hockey.net

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Bravo, Anton. Write more!
Thanks a lot, Nyura! Great job!
It is a pity that nobody needs sports in Kazakhstan any more...