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Kaprizov back with Wild after tumultuous summer in Russia: ‘We didn’t know if we were going to get him out’

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Kirill Kaprizov's summer was not as relaxing as most of his NHL peers.  (AP Photo/Stacey Bengs)
Kirill Kaprizov’s summer was not as relaxing as most of his NHL peers. (AP Photo/Stacey Bengs)

You’ll hear a lot of exaggerated quotes at NHL training camp, but no one is more excited to be back on the ice than Minnesota Wild star Kirill Kaprizov.

Kaprizov had a nightmare over the summer after Russian police reportedly wanted him for allegedly purchasing a fake military ID to evade compulsory service. These reports were vehemently denied by Kaprizov and his family, but his return to the United States was not facilitated as he was denied entry on a flight from Dubai due to visa problems.

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The 25-year-old man was eventually granted a visa and successfully returned to the United States on August 1, but several parties were concerned about his return from Russia.

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“We’ve had a lot of help from some very special people,” Wild general manager Bill Guerin said via Michael Russo of The Athletic. “We had to make appointments for him and reshuffle him. It was pretty stressful and we didn’t know if we could get him out of there. It turned out to be very serious.”

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Kaprizov signed a five-year, $45 million contract with the Wild in September 2021, but because he signed the day before training camp began, he did not receive a new work visa for the following year. The escalation of the Russian-Ukrainian war has also complicated the process of obtaining a new visa.

Guerin and the other members of the Wild urged Kaprizov to stay in the United States during the off-season, but they certainly don’t blame him for coming home for the summer.

“This is his home. If this is your home, then this is your home,” Guerin said. “He didn’t think it would happen, so I don’t blame him at all.”

It’s been a torturous summer for Kaprizov and Wild, but both sides are looking to turn over a new leaf with a dynamic left winger looking to improve on a brilliant 47-goal, 108-point campaign in 2021-22. Kaprizov asked journalists to strictly limit himself to matters of hockey, and it’s hard to blame him, especially given his talents at the game and incendiary style of play. After finding himself in the middle of a geopolitical conflict while most of his peers were relaxing or posting on Instagram, who could blame him?

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Source: sports.yahoo.com

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