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Alexei Morozov

Alexei Morozov

Ice hockey player

Alexei Alekseyevich Morozov (born 16 February 1977) is the president of the Kontinental Hockey League and a Russian former professional ice hockey player.

He played professional hockey with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the National Hockey League (NHL) and in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) with Ak Bars Kazan and CSKA Moscow.

He is the former captain of the Russian national team, having held the post from 2007–2011, with the team winning 2 gold, 1 silver (missed tournament due to injury, Kovalchuk captained) and 1 bronze medal at the World Championships during this time. He was succeeded, as national team captain, by his Ak Bars team mate Ilya Nikulin, in 2012.

orozov was drafted in the first round, 24th overall, by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft.[2] After being drafted, he remained in Russia and did not join the Penguins until the 1997–98 NHL season. Morozov began his career much like Pittsburgh legend Mario Lemieux, scoring on his first shot on his first shift of his first game as a Penguin. He played seven seasons for the Penguins, totaling 451 games, 84 goals, and 219 points.[citation needed]

In his seven-year NHL career, Morozov earned the nickname The Devil Killer for his notorious success against the New Jersey Devils. In fact, New Jersey goaltender Martin Brodeur in an interview before a Penguins/Devils game on Fox Sports Net jokingly stated that he had nightmares of Morozov each night before his club would play the Penguins. Brodeur also stated in an interview with ESPN's Dan Patrick that Morozov is the player that he would not like to see coming in on him on a breakaway adding " The kid's got probably over 25 percent of his career goals on me. It's unbelievable." when asked to explain Morozov's success against him Brodeur added " I don't know. If you figure it out, please tell me. When he shoots the puck, I never catch it really clean. When he's going to make a pass, I think he's shooting. When he's shooting, I think he's making a pass. The guy's in my kitchen. He's in my head. I can't get rid of him." He also won an Olympic Silver Medal on the 1998 Russian Olympic Team during his rookie year with the Penguins. Despite these successes, Morozov never fully developed into the player he had the potential to be as he played a majority of his first few seasons in the NHL on the third and fourth lines due to the tremendous depth of a talent laden Penguins team that included stars such as Mario Lemieux, Jaromír Jágr, Alexei Kovalev, Martin Straka and Robert Lang among others.

He finally got his chance on the starting line during the 2002–03 season and the KLM line of Kovalev, Lemieux and Morozov led the Penguins to a top three record in the conference the first third of the season before being dismantled by injuries and trades. After bursting onto the scene with 25 points in 27 games, Morozov suffered a fractured wrist by a crushing hit that ended his season[3] and Lemieux became bogged down by back problems which forced him to call it a year. Kovalev was later traded at the NHL trade deadline to the New York Rangers.

The next season saw Morozov off to a slow start, mainly due to injury and the lack of talent on a young Penguins team. However, down the stretch of the 2003–04 season, Morozov was instrumental to the Penguins late season success, leading the team with five game-winning goals, including two in the final three games of the season as well as netting 20 points in the final 15 games. He would also finish the season leading all Penguins forwards in points.[citation needed]

Timeline

February 16, 1977
Alexei Morozov was born in Moscow.

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