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NHL veteran Kasparaitis headed back to Russian Super League

NEW YORK -- Veteran defenseman Darius Kasparaitis is leaving
the American Hockey League to join SKA St. Petersburg of the
Russian Super League.


The 35-year-old Kasparaitis played four games this season with
the New York Rangers' AHL affiliate in Hartford, Conn., and was
loaned by the Rangers on Saturday to St. Petersburg.


Last season, Kasparaitis got into only 24 regular-season games
with New York after a slow recovery from a pair of offseason
operations. He spent 12 games at Hartford.


He tried again this year to make the Rangers' opening night
roster, but was again sent to Hartford. Kasparaitis had one goal in
his brief AHL stint this season.


The hard-hitting, 210-pound defenseman has played in 863 NHL
regular-season games with the Rangers, New York Islanders,
Pittsburgh and Colorado. He posted 27 goals, 136 assists and 1,379
penalty minutes.


Kasparaitis, a native of Lithuania, started his professional
career at 16 with Dynamo Moscow of the Russian Super League. He got
back into the league during the 2004-05 NHL lockout with Ak Bars
Kazan.