Kaprizov Military Status Still Under Investigation; Craig Leipold Concerned
The whereabouts of Kirill Kaprizov are still foggy. Last we heard, he was back in Russia after an unsuccessful defection effort that still doesn’t make sense.
But on Saturday night Pioneer Press columnist, Charley Walters, released an update with quotes from Minnesota Wild owner, Craig Leipold. He is understandably anxious over the situation involving his star forward.
Minnesota Wild star Kirill Kaprizov reportedly is being retained in his native Russia while authorities there are investigating an alleged attempt to evade military service. Although reports are speculative, Wild owner Craig Leipold is naturally concerned. – Charley Walters – Pioneer Press
“It’s pretty hard not to be little nervous about it, right? Leipold said. “I mean, I think every team that has Russian players that are back in Russia right now, they can all say ‘No, I’m not nervous right now, I’m not nervous.’ Until he gets back into the United States, I’m going to be a little nervous.” – Craig Leipold (via Pioneer Press)
Leipold doesn’t confirm any of Michael Russo’s (The Athletic) reports regarding Kaprizov’s failed entry into the United States. He does, however, confirm that Kirill is still in Russia and that his military status is being investigated.
He “doesn’t expect any problems”. But clearly, the Minnesota Wild owner is banking on Kaprizov’s celebrity status, both in Russia and the USA, to help keep him safe throughout this process. Much like every other owner with Russian players currently visiting their homeland in turmoil, there’s no rest until he’s returned safe.
“(Kaprizov) is neutral right now — he’s just being quiet, he’s laying low, doing the right things — he just wants to be back in his home country and visiting his family,” Leipold added. “We don’t expect any problems, and hopefully there won’t be. We, just like 30 other teams in the league, are going to be happy once everybody gets back in the States.” Leipold said he follows the Kaprizov speculation “as closely as (GM Bill Guerin) does. He is my source of information, and I know he follows it pretty closely. And that’s probably all I want to say about it. Less said is probably better.” – Craig Leipold (via Pioneer Press)
Craig Leipold also told Walters that he’d love to sign his budding Russian star to whatever contract Kirill Kaprizov would agree to, as long as it keeps him in Minnesota as long as possible. Kaprizov still has four years left on a five-year deal.
“Absolutely,” he said “We love him. Listen, if we could have signed him for eight years, we would have.” – Craig Leipold (via Pioneer Press)
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan