Former Detroit forward Pulkkinen back in the KHL

Several players opt out of the dodge and do not return to play in the Russian KHL. The political fallout from Russia’s declaration of war on neighboring Ukraine is causing many foreign pros to avoid the region.

However, not everyone refuses the opportunity. Two North Americans – former New York Islanders first-round pick Josh Ho-Sang and defenseman Ryan Murphy, who last season played with the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins, are choosing to try their luck in the KHL.

A player familiar to Detroit Red Wings fans returns to Russia. Former Red Wings and Griffins forward Teemu Pulkkinen will play for Traktor Chelyabinsk and is already working with the KHL club he played for last season.

Pulkkinen, 30, scored 11 goals in 70 games for the Red Wings from 2013 to 2016. After additional NHL stints with the Minnesota Wild and Arizona Coyotes, Pulkkinen has been playing in the KHL since 2018.

Former NHL defenseman Ossi Vaananen also played in the KHL. Today, he regrets having made this decision.

“At that time everyone was probably a bit naive, although the occupation of Crimea in 2014 should have opened everyone’s eyes,” Vaananen told Finnish website “I was an active player myself at the time and living in a hell of a bubble. Ice hockey and my own profession got all the attention.

Harri Nummela. The president of the Finnish Ice Hockey Association has hinted that Pulkkinen is unlikely to be considered for the national team as long as he chooses to play in Russia.

“It’s hard to see them wearing the Leijonat shirt,” Nummela told “Each case must be assessed individually, but yes, the world situation is as it is.”

Red Wings in case you missed it

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  • Former Red Wings forward Mike Knuble enjoys his time as Grand Rapids Griffins assistant coach
  • Red Wings draft pick Anton Johansson is a big defender with an offensive advantage

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