It's a story line we hear a lot when a player jumps from the NHL to the KHL.
"The NHL is racist against Russians"
There's plenty of superstars in the NHL which prove that wrong including Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Nikita Kucherov, Vladimir Tarasenko, and Artemi Panarin just to name a few.
It's usually a younger player who can't really break the NHL who makes the claims and the latest is Montreal Canadiens' 2014 first round pick, Nikita Scherbak.
Scherbak went on a rant while speaking to Sport24 in Russia and called out both the Canadiens and Los Angeles Kings for the way they treated him.
Regarding Canadiens' general manager Marc Bergevin:
“I don’t think everyone is treated this way. This was the [GM Marc] Bergevin’s treatment of me. Here is another story: I wanted to rent a place downtown, because I knew I wouldn’t spend the entire season in the farm team. The GM asked me before the season where I planned to live, and I told him. “No, you will live in Laval”, I was told. So, I spent the entire season shuttling between Laval and the [Canadiens] practices. The commute was one hour each way.
“How many francophones were in the team, the Quebec boys, who only speak French? They never even try to speak English in the room. So, they can speak French without problems, but we can’t speak Russian. All Russians were kind and open guys: Markov, Yemelin… Nobody ever heard anyone speak bad about them. Why couldn’t we speak Russian? If they want to help me, what’s wrong with that?”
On former Canadiens' head coach Michel Therrien:
“When I spent my first year with Therrien, any mistake would lead to shouting, there was a lot of pressure. It may be good for a young player, on one hand, but many can’t handle this and start to fear mistakes even before practices. A player shouldn’t feel like this. There were times when you’d meet the coach in the corridor and wouldn’t know whether to say hello or to nod your head, or what… I’d say hello anyway, but it was uncomfortable and not a very pleasant feeling. I don’t want to feel like this again.”
On how he was treated by the Los Angeles Kings:
“I really didn’t like the situation that was happening in Los Angeles, and there were other difficulties before that, too. I didn’t get off to a good start in Montreal, I wasn’t allowed to play. I trained, I endured, but in the end my nerves got the best of me, and I asked for a trade. They couldn’t get a trade done so they put me on waivers
“I personally talked to the GM, told him everything”, he said. “Maybe, it wasn’t pleasant for him and me both, but at that time it was the right decision. But then, with the Kings, everything turned out unlike I had planned. They didn’t treat me all that well. I didn’t feel like they were taking care of me, like they were counting on my being in the lineup. I was sent to the farm team, and there, chaos began. It was a difficult time for me…”