Maine Hockey Journal

No word yet on Kabanov; Maineiacs getting healthy

The Lewiston Maineiacs hit the ice for practice Monday afternoon still without their newest addition as Kirill Kabanov, who was acquired Thursday from the Moncton Wildcats, is still waiting clearance to enter the United States.

“We don’t know yet,” said Maineiacs Head Coach J.F. Houle of the arrival of Kabanov. “It all depends on the paperwork with immigration.”

The 18-year old Russian native will be a welcome addition to his new teammates.

“We are all very excited,” said Maineiacs defenseman Samuel Finn who is one of the team’s assistant captains. “It proves to us, the organization is doing everything they can for us to be a contender this year.”

“I haven’t seen him play, but I’ve heard he’s quite the player,” said Alex Zafiris. It will give us a push before Christmas.”

Houle knows he needs Kabanov to work with him, and the team to make this deal work. One of the harshest criticisms of Kabanov has been his willingness to work well within a team.

“It takes two sides, and our team to welcome him. It will take (Kabanov) to be a part of this team. If we both work together and make it a good environment for him, he might become the player that he’s suppose to be.”

The Maineiacs have scored 77 goals this season is currently ranked seven in the league. Kabanov is considered a sniper from the scouting reports heading to the 2010 NHL draft. According to NHL Central Scouting Service’s head scout, E.J. McGuire, Kabanov’s game compares to New Jersey Devils forward Ilya Kovalchuk.

J.F. Houle will wait until he shows up before deciding who will be lined up with.

“I haven’t thought about it yet,” he stated. “He’s not here yet, my priority right now is to the players. Until he’s here, I am not going to worry about that.”

“We are going to take it day-by-day here and get to meet him first,” Houle stated. “Our team is excited and I think he will be a great fit for us.”

With the QMJHL’s best team coming into town on Wednesday, the Quebec Remparts, the players need to focus on the task at hand.

“It’s a part of hockey and trades happen,” Houle stated. “There’s always movement and the players are use to it. You just have to move forward.”

J.F. Houle also addressed a couple injury issues after practice Monday.

The one Russian that’s with the team, Andrey Makarov, looks like he will be ready for the game on Wednesday.

“We hope so, he took some shots in practice,” Houle said.

Matthew Bissonnette appears one step closer to returning to the ice as he’s walking around without a cast on his wrist.

“I don’t know how long the time frame is (for his return), but we hope it’s soon,” Houle added.

NOTES: Former Lewiston Maineiacs’ defenseman Eric Bonawitz, who is with the Woodstock Slammers of the Maritime Hockey League, spent his off-day at Lewiston’s practice. With the Slammers, he has one goal and 12 assists in 15 games.

Speaking of a former defenseman, Garrett Clarke, who started the season with the Halifax Mooseheads, has been removed from the Mooseheads’ roster.

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