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.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press