Kozlov Leaves Caps for Russia

Winger reportedly gets 3-year deal

The much-rumored exit of Viktor Kozlov from the Washington Capitals appears to be official.

We say appears to be because the word comes from a Russian team's official Web site, but the site's in Russian, and our limited knowledge of French isn't quite cutting it.

But Jasper's Rink busted out the translator and says Kozlov's headed to a KHL team called Salavat Yulaev for the next three years. Super Russian translator Dmitri Chesnokov says the contract is worth about $2 million per year.

Kozlov was, at times, an integral part of the Capitals offense. He spent time on the first line along with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom (and occasionally Sergei Fedorov), and provided a big body that took up space and gave Ovie room to do his thing.

However, Kozlov's inability to put up points was a major frustration during his tenure with the Caps. He has a lot of skills, but keeping them in the "on" position was a challenge.

So Kozlov moves on, and frees up the Caps to go out and bring in a younger, better big man, either from the farm or via free agency.

As for Kozlov's new home, well ... we've never heard of it either. But here's an interesting fact. The team plays in a town called Ufa (a sign that unrestricted free agents would want to play there?) and the team name is actually the name of an old national hero. Or so says Wikipedia. So take it for what it's worth. It could be an alias for Borat, for all we know...

Check out the team's Web site for more, including a fancy mug shot morpher that reminds us of that old Michael Jackson video.

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