Mathias Brunet La Presse from Habsrus , traduced by m Beaux-eaux The performances of young Alexander Perezhogin in Russia must be starting to excite the Canadiens management. Perezhogin, 21 years old, had his hour of glory last week during the game between the two most powerful RSL clubs, Omsk and Kazan. It was the sporting event of this autumn in the eyes of many because of the number of impressive NHL stars in uniform for this match. The Omsk, in Siberia, was crammed to the rafters (tickets were sold for up to $85US on the black market, a fortune in Russia) to see Jaromir Jagr defend the honor of Avangard against Vincent Lecavalier, Brad Richards, Alex Kovalev, Nikolai Antropov, Darius Kasparaitis, Nikolai Khabibulin and new defenseman Alexei Zhitnik. Kazan contained so much talent that the coach could leave Ilya Kovalchuk, unproductive and insubordinate, in the stands. Omsk carried the day 5-4 thanks to a goal and an assist from Perezhogin in the third period. The Canadiens prospect was even chosen first star of the game...ahead of Jagr and Richards! Perezhogin collected another point in his following game to raise his t otal to 12 points in 18 games, an extremely good record in a league where goals are generally scarce. His exploits were worth the honor of another invitation to the national team in preparation for the Rosno Cup, contested in Moscow next week. Perezhogin will be in the company of Kovalev, Kovalchuk, Pavel Datsyuk, Nikolai Zherdev, Alexander Frolov and Alexander Semin, to name only a few. Perezhogin had also been a favourite to take part in the Karjala Cup in November, but a concussion had prevented him "He will be one of the youngest players on the national team with Zherdev and Semin", mentions Nikolai Vakourov, the Canadiens scout in Russia. The selection of this young Russian forward by the Canadiens in 2001 (25th over all) had passed a little unnoticed since Perezhogin was the team's second choice in first the round, behind big defenseman Mike Komisarek who was chosen seventh. The 25th choice had been acquired in a trade with Washington a few months earlier. AndrÃ© Savard had obtained Richard Zednik, Jan Bulis and this first round choice in return for Trevor Linden, Dainius Zubrus and a second round choice. Perezhogin had a modest start in the American League last year but, once acclimatized, he was one of the dominant players in the league. He finished fourth among rookie scorers even though he scored only two goals in his first 21 matches. But his season ended abruptly in the playoffs last spring when he was suspended for one year after having delivered a swing of the stick to an opponent who had just dished out the same medicine to him. It was thus suggested to him to play in Russia this year, especially with the spectre of the lockout. A significant question arises today: if the NHL resumed activities in January, could Perezhogin join the Canadiens? The question remains at the discretion of the NHL, it seems. But technically, nothing would prevent him from playing in the NHL. The Habs prefer to remain silent on this thorny issue, but bet on it that they wouldn't mind counting on him during a resumption of activities. Barring a major collapse, Alexander Perezhogin will be a member of one of the Habs top two lines in a year or two.