Branko Radivojevic has decided to join Chris Simon and go in a different direction in his professional hockey career.
East. Way, way, way-y-y East.
How about all the way to 'The Wild, Wild East' ??
Radivojevic has signed a contract for 2008-09 with Moscow Spartak of the Russian Premiere League. The checking forward suffered an ACL injury during Game 2 of the Minnesota Wild's six-game first-round playoff loss to the Colorado Avalanche. The 28-year-old Slovakian was signed to a 2 year free agent deal in the summer of 2006. Last season, he had 7 goals, 10 assists and was a minus -14. He was primarily used alongside Stephane Veilleux on penalty-killing situations last season as well. The former 3rd round selection of the Avs in 1999, he also played with Phoenix and Philadelphia as well.
Radivojevic joins Simon and Petteri Nummelin as 2007-08 Wild players who have signed with European teams for next season.
My View: Will Branko be missed? In the long run, not much. He was at best a 3rd-4th line forward, which is where he actually wound up. He was signed to hopefully provide that third forward for a Gaborik-Demitra-Radivojevic line; however, Demitra did not want to play center, Gaborik thought anyone other than Demitra was too slow, and so on. 'Radio', as head coach Jacques Lemaire would say, kind of accepted the penalty killer role in order to stay up on the big roster. After the ACL injury in Game 2 of the Avs series, the Wild realized that only one penalty killer would not do, but with Branko in line for a new contract, they had to get more offense out of that roster spot, given that Demitra would (probably) be gone and the roster was due for an off-season overhaul.