The news came with more than a little bit of intrigue, as the organization had given Valentenko permission to return to Russia to attend to unidentified personal matters. Needless to say, the news caught the team more than a little bit by surprise. Here's what Hockey's Future has to say about him:
Valentenko is blessed with a big shot -- one that earned him hardest AHL shot honours in the 2007-08 season. He combines that with a physical game that borders on, but never crosses into, dirty play. Valentenko's been described as one of the most-hated players in the AHL and combines an ability to get under opponent's skin with the willingness to back it up.Once again, our buddy Dmitry Chesnokov from Sovetsky Sport, is on the case with an English translation of the first interview Valentenko gave after signing with Dynamo. Text starts after the jump.
His offensive abilities are limited, but he's able to play a solid fundamental game: making the smart first pass, starting the rush, and taking care of his own end.
Yesterday Dynamo Moscow of the KHL signed a 21 year old defenseman Pavel Valentenko. After not making it to the Montreal first team, he decided to continue his career in Russia. He attended his first practice with Dynamo Moscow.
"I'll be honest with you, Pavel arrived in Russia from Canada only yesterday (Wednesday). I don't know anything about him. I need to watch him play on TV a little bit. I need to decide who to pair him with to be most effective," – Vladimir Vujtek, Dynamo Moscow coach told Sovetsky Sport.
A Sovetsky Sport reporter then picked up his cellphone and called Valentenko himself.
"I am at a hairdresser right now," – Valentenko said after he picked up the phone. "My hair got too long when I was in America. But here is a new club, a new image. I decided that I need to look "cleaner."
Why did you decide to come back to Russia in the middle of the season?
"Honestly, I just wanted to live closer to my family. Montreal let me go without a problem, they were very considerate. Perhaps I will be back there next year."
How long is your contract with Dynamo for?
"Until the end of the season."
Why did you sign with Dynamo and not Neftekhimik, your alma mater?
"Because a week or so ago my alma mater club sold my rights to the "blue and white" [Dynamo Moscow colors]. So, I could only sign with Dynamo."
How were you met at the club?
"Very warm. I liked it. The coach is first class, a great organization. I came back to Moscow on Wednesday. On Thursday I was already skating with my new team. I met the management and players. I am going to the game against Ak Bars right now. I am going to watch the game from the stands."
When is your debut in the KHL?
"After the break in the regular season. Vujtek gave me time to get over the jetlag."
Have you gotten your Dynamo Moscow jersey with your name on it?
"Yes, I will be playing with a number 3 on my back, because my favorite 25 was taken, unfortunately. And if you subtract two from five you'll get a three."
Mikhail Golovkov, Dynamo Moscow President, has great plans for the future with Valentenko.
"We signed Pavel for three years," – Golovkov told Sovetsky Sport.
Perhaps his contract has a provision that he can go back in the NHL if Montreal offer him a first team spot?
"He is a Dynamo Moscow player from today! No excuses."