Yesterday Derek Stepan arrived in Finland and took part in his first practice for KarPa.
He spoke with the Finnish press and said that he hoped to play tonight when KarPa plays the Pelicans.
Stepan said that the process of moving to play in Finland worked fast and once he found out that the team was interested in him, he became interested because of the quality of play in the league.
Stepan said that with the exception of a connection he once made in Helsinki, yesterday was the first time he was ever in Finland. He added that it’s a new and unfamiliar scene to him but one he is trying to make the best of,”I didn’t know anything or any players, I am trying to fit in as fast as I can and help out any way I can.”
10:42AM: According to Matias Strozyck, Stepan will start on the top line for KalPa
Yesterday Derek Stepan announced that he was heading to Finland to play for KalPa during the lockout.
The contract is for the entire season but does have an “out-clause” if the NHL lockout is solved.
Kalpa CEO Kimmo Kapanen, brother of former NHLer Sammi Kapanen said that the chance to add Stepan was too much to pass up.
Stepan will wear #22 for KalPa. Stepan will play in his first game tomorrow when KalPa takes on the Pelicans.
Derek Stepan announced on twitter that he is heading to Finland to play for KalPa of the SM-Liga
He arrives in Finland tomorrow and is expected to play tomorrow night.
Stepan’s former Wisconsin teammate Craig Smith was in Kalpa before returning to North America.
11:20AM: Hokeh.cz spoke with the manager for Bratisslava who said that the team is talking with Stepan, “we are, we’ll see what happens.”
Reports indicate that Bratislava thought Stepan could arrive in Slovakia this week and play on Saturday, but that won’t happen.
Stepan has previously played in Bratislava with the Rangers at the start of last season and with Team USA.
9:50AM: According to a tweet from David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period, Derek Stepan is drawing interest from the KHL team Slovan Bratislava.
Bratislava is where NHL players Lubomir Visnovsky and Andrej Sekera are playing. The team consists almost entirely of players from Slovakia with one player from Finland, one from Canada and one from the Czech Republic.
Former Islander Miro Satan is their captain. They are ranked seventh in the KHL Western Conference. Ryan McDonagh and Barys are in the Eastern Conference.
They would play each other on January 22nd.
The team is based out of Bratislava, Slovakia.
At Ranger Rants, Andrew Gross spoke with Derek Stepan yesterday about the chance that Stepan goes overseas to play during the lockout.
Stepan said “I’m just trying to get myself ready to play. If push comes to shove and I have to go to Europe then that might be something I have to do and I’ll look at that down the road.”
Stepan, along with Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, Ryan Callahan, Taylor Pyatt, Steve Eminger, Brad Richards, Anton Stralman and Mike Rupp are the Rangers who are still in the area.