Vitali Kravtsov returns to Rangers

It looks like Vitali Kravtsov is headed back to the Rangers after two months in Russia.

This comes days after Kravtsov was sent to the VHL, sparking some interesting discussion. The soon-to-be 20-year-old winger will likely spend time in Hartford to get his mind and confidence right.

Assuming Kravtsov takes the next step in his very young career, I’d expect to see him in the NHL before the season is out. Jeff Gorton did the right thing by seizing this opportunity to bring him back.

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  • Well, what a surprise. Look who’s come back to the USA to resume a Ranger hockey career. Anybody got any insightful and harshly negative remarks about his character or motivation or mental health now?

    And Richter—you are a prophet. You just called for this yesterday.

    • All the kid needs to do is come with his head in the game and ready to play, and all the haters will change their tune. I get it, he was disappointed after a strong camp and not making the team, but if he half-asses it you can expect the same situation to occur again.

    • hehe I called it three days ago on a completely unrelated post. so I’ll crib another favorite line –


    • LOL, just connecting the dots my friend, as I did not have any intell on this at all.

      But once he was “sent down” over there, you knew the Rangers would step in to get him back here. Krav is a valuable asset and a human being, so kudos to the Rangers for righting a terrible wrong.

      Now, it’s time for Krav to focus on hockey and getting to the big club as soon as he is ready.

      • I’m embarrassed to admit my Intel came from the usually-uninformed NY post on Monday. But they did get a quote out of Gorton.

        Rebuild is filled with fun misadventures, I’ll give that much!

        • Once Krav was off the big club in the KHL, it was only a matter of time for the Rangers to get him back here.

          The Rangers really acted quickly.

      • What was the terrible wrong? The FO felt he needed to work on his game to be prepared to play in the NHL and sent him down. That is far from a terrible wrong. It’s not always strictly about talent, if it was Alexander Semin (and countless other top draft picks who washed out) would be in the Hall of Fame.

        Maybe they saw the same things they did with Chytil in year 1, made the team out of camp but wasn’t ready for the real games and they sent him down. He stayed in Hartford, played well and then played all of year 2 in the NHL and had a decent Rookie year. Sent him down again after this camp and the kid has been lights out since his return. Not once at any point in being sent down either time did he pout or complain. Similar situation, young kid (even younger when drafted) from a different country. Difference is the way each handled it….

        • When I said “sent him down” I meant over there, not over here.

          Sending a player down in the KHL is basically sending them into hockey oblivion, that’s why the Rangers acted quickly to get him back here. To get him playing in a structured setting again.

          It’s not like sending him down to the AHL, over there I mean.

  • Well this was a no brainer. Now hopefully they hire a sports psychologist or a Russian ex-NHL player to work with him (and the other Russians) — it couldn’t hurt. Hartford kind of sucks, but it’s better than Siberia. 😉

  • Why so happy?? He just pulled the exact same move as two months ago…. not good enough/work hard enough for varsity, gets sent down again…. and wow he pulls out again!. Oh yea lets get excited over this hard working, mentally tough young man. Awesome determination on his behalf.

    • So before Kravtsov was money-hungry in going back to Russia, and now he leaves money on the table to go to the AHL—and you think he’s still got an attitude problem? There’s plenty of performance enhancing drug use and blood doping in Russian sports, who knows what happens over there if you refuse to do what the bosses want.

      Were you ever an idiot at 19? I know I was, I grew up, he will too—get off the kid’s case.

      • I don’t know this (and suspect you don’t either), but I would guess that VHL players get paid less than AHL players. So he wouldn’t exactly be leaving money on the table unless he was confident of a quick recall.

        If true, this is a good thing as it focuses his thought process on long term success and not short term money (to be fair, we don’t know if money was ever a consideration).

        Seriously though, I hope we are all rooting for this to turn out well.

        • Seriously though Ray, you just called Kravtsov mentally ill yesterday. Maybe it was a bit of projection on your part?

          And as far as Kravtsov’s $$$ issue—Brett Cyrgalis posted an article in the NY Post on October 25 in relation to Kravtsov’s original return to Russia that states directly that he made way more money to play in Russia than in the AHL. That is the money left on the table that I refer to. As far as the money angle—the Cyrgalis article is merely one of many on the subject.

          • Point 2 first– the Cyrgalis reference – and all references that I am aware of — focus on his KHL salary. I don’t know this for a fact, but my guess would be that the KHL has a salary structure akin to the NHL. Some players may have guaranteed salaries, but many players have one salary if they play in the KHL and a much lower salary if they play in the VHL. Assuming Kravtsov has such a contract, being sent to the VHL would be a significant salary cut and would largely take salary considerations off the table.

            As I said in my original note, I don’t know this. It is only speculation on my part, but it is reasonable speculation and I also surmised that you don’t know anything to the contrary – and indeed the Cyrgalis reference is not evidence to the contrary. Cyrgalis was writing his article in a world where no one even considered the possibility that Vitali would not stick in the KHL. At least I didn’t.


            Concerning the previous thread, Kravtsov clearly performed in Hartford well beneath expectations. There has to be a reason for that. I see only four remotely plausible explanations. (1) Expectations were too high. (2) He was unlucky. (3) He was physically not right. (4) He was not approaching the game properly. Do you see a fifth?

            Anyway, which was it? (2) seems incongruous with Ranger actions. (3) could be right, but we’ve had no hint of that. (1) could be right, but it seems unlikely and none of us wants to believe that anyway. That leaves (4). Now tactfully describing (4) is damn hard and in fact I don’t know what words will not set people off. Bad attitude certainly inflamed people.

            I never used the term mentally ill. I believe Vitali was discouraged (by his own play or by Ranger treatment, we don’t know) and his response to that discouragement greatly influenced his play. This is an issue that must be faced and the issue is mental in nature.

            Critically, head problems are common in life and very common in sports. For example, it is extremely difficult for goalies to maintain their confidence and, as a consequence, many goalies only have a short run of excellence. Perhaps, to some extent, they afflict all of us. We should face them in others with sympathy and helpfulness, but never condescension, mockery or denial.

    • i’m glad your character was perfect at 19 years old. Everyone makes mistakes. Use bad judgment etc. He’s a 19 year old coming to a foreign country with high expectation. Things didn’t go how he wanted and I agree his response was not great. That said, he’s figuring it out.

      Lots of teenagers make mistakes and bounce back to have productive careers. That’s what us fans should be routing for. So maybe we can give the kid a break? and be thankful he’s coming back.

    • Hold up, not for nothing Mr. Tooth,

      this kid is an elite talented young man, I can only imagine how tricky it is to have multitudes of people tell you your a star and how tricky this could all be for someone this young. Who knows, maybe his parents aren’t life long hockey people and he needs people who are better at this massive career he is on to help him..

      give it time, JG is on the case and the right people can get through to him… just relax on the complete hate towards a very young mind with unreal elite skills in this world…

      chill man

  • Listen, we’ve all made mistakes. The one thing I’ve learn in my life is that, progress never travels on a straight line. Let’s hope the kid got his wake up call.

  • Good afternoon Gentleman., Heard this was going to happen sooner than later with Kravstov return. Looks like Kredier is 99% to be moved in two months.

  • I find this to be good news, and welcome the kid with open arms.
    He may have been sold a bill of goods to get him back to Russia in the first place, and or he left this thermal underwear here in the US. Whatever the case, he is where he belongs, with our coaching staff in Hartford, and in due time will be with the parent club. I believe that AZgene4240 is onto something, especially with Vitali’s return. Bottom line, he is starting anew all over again, so let’s give the boy a chance to clean his slate!!!!!!!!

  • Alright. Now the kid can learn to be a player in the NHL. He has a heck of a lot of potential. Now it is up to the Rangers and Vitaly to make the most of it.

  • I am totally fine with all of this, the young man learned a lesson, I hope it sticks. I am sure he watched chythil and deep down knows he should have stayed and been up in the NHL. Now he eats some crow, but hopefully he will use this to motivate his talent and propel him past this little speed bump.


  • If you watch video of Vitaly he is so fluid and methodical, perfect for the large Euro rinks. IMHO, he’s got some work to do in adjusting to N.A. Put on some muscle, change his attitude and he’ll be an excellent top 6 forward. Chytil’s doing it he can too! LGR! AND LG Vitaly!

    • He’s the same height as Ovi, so alls he has to do is put on anither 40 pounds of muscle and he’ll be an absolute beast!

  • Common sense has prevailed!!

    I would say, without knowing, kudos to Gorton and the Rangers to right this situation.

    Now get him ready to take that 3rd line RW spot.

  • Typical Russian player. Wants to skate and shoot but does not want to put in the hard work everyone else does. He and DQ will get along just fine.

  • First time post.

    My question is: what I’m missing about Kakko? He obviously has great vision and good hockey sense. Excellent passer (maybe Fox good). Plus he seems to win more battles along the boards than he loses. And an asset on the PP.
    OTOH he seems to be (by far) the slowest and least talented skater on the team not named Staal– even compared to those belittled 4th liners. In addition, so far, he almost never can keep the puck on his stick if contested entering the O-zone, seems to lack the “soft hands” around the net with which the media (and Lundqvist, for one) has credited him, and not clear that he’s got an particularly accurate and/or quick shot, unless he’s been aiming for the goalies. I realize he’s not a zippy finesse guy, rather more of a heavyweight, but hasn’t he been something of a disappointment to anyone else besides me considering his draft hype and #2 pick? I realize that the problem is probably with the lack of sophistication in my hockey vision but sometimes I cringe watching him try to defend against opponents’ attacking forwards with plodding footwork and a bit of a clumsily outstretched stick. Not railing against the kid/guy, just trying to better understand what others see that I don’t.

    • The kid is just 18 YEARS OLD playing decent in the NHL, cut him some slack. It’s almost like he is just out of High School.

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