On Monday, Alex Burmistrov made his decision to leave the Winnipeg Jets for a fresh start in the KHL, according to CBC. It seemed inevitable that this time would eventually arrive. Instead of pointing fingers and picking sides, the blame can be had all around.
It started with the Atlanta Thrashers who decided to rush Burmistrov immediately into the NHL without any time to develop.
Burmistrov was a smart kid and very poised when he came over to North America. He quickly learned the English language and was determined to make a name for himself. He only had one year to develop his game in Barrie. He proved scouts wrong and was drafted eighth overall in 2010.
Instead of sending him back to Barrie to further develop, the Thrashers threw him into the deep waters of the NHL. It was a huge mistake on behalf of the Thrashers organization.
The Jets then misused and mishandled him mainly due to head coach Claude Noel’s style of coaching.
Burmistrov was constantly watching from the press box. And when he eventually saw time it was continuous stints on the third and fourth lines. Burmistrov was in Noel’s doghouse from the start of the season and remained there until the end.
It couldn’t be any clearer that Burmistrov didn’t want to play for Noel.
The Jets lost Burmistrov for nothing. Even though he’s property of the Jets until he turns 27, it’s unlikely he’ll ever want to rejoin this franchise. General manager of the Jets, Kevin Cheveldayoff, failed to acknowledge the situation and move Burmistrov around last year’s trade deadline.
The situation was truly mishandled on the management’s side, but Burmistrov has to take a lot of the blame here as well.
Burmistrov appeared to be very "uncoachable". Noel was just doing what he's paid to do. On the other hand, Burmistrov couldn’t handle being in the doghouse for the betterment of the team. Burmistrov didn’t like Noel, and he didn’t respect him or his decisions.
Instead of trying to mend things with his coach, Burmistrov took the cowards way out and bolted from the team that drafted him. This wasn’t your typical “Russian factor” case either. If there was ever a Russian player to not have that factor at the time of his draft it would have been Burmistrov.
When Burmistrov was first drafted by the Thrashers, he was quick to trash the KHL. In an article from AOL News, he once said he “really hates” the KHL. He also called it a league for “old guys” and that he wouldn’t consider going there for a long time if ever.
A reporter asked him If he would stay in North America even if development didn't go so smoothly. Burmistrov's reply? "I played last year for 80 dollars when I could have made a lot more back home. I'm never going to play in the KHL, except maybe when I'm really old -- like Jaromir Jagr," again per AOL News.
Development didn't go as planned. Check. Burmistrov contradicts his belief on the KHL. Check. Burmistrov leaves his NHL team for the KHL. Check.
Either 21 is considered "really old" in Russia or Burmistrov is a fraud and a hypocrite. I’ll go with the latter. He’s in the “old man” league to spite Noel and the Jets.