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Alexander Radulov happy to be back in NHL

Canadiens forward eager to prove he's worthy of another chance after four seasons in KHL

by Sean Farrell / Correspondent

BROSSARD, Quebec -- After four very productive seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League and with an infant son at home, forward Alexander Radulov is ready to take another crack at the NHL with the Montreal Canadiens.

Radulov signed a one-year contract reportedly worth $5.75 million with the Canadiens on July 1. He traveled to Montreal on Saturday and worked out with a few of his new teammates at the Canadiens practice facility Monday.

"It's an honor and I'm really happy to finally be here and get ready for the season and train with the guys and be in this amazing facility," said Radulov, who spent June and July in Italy. "It's a lot of fun and I'm excited."

Since he last played in the League with the Nashville Predators during the 2011-12 season, the 30-year-old had 78 goals and 238 points in 181 games with CSKA Moscow of the KHL.

"I'm excited to be back in the NHL, first of all, and obviously to be part of Montreal, it's a huge club, Original Six, a hockey town and they always want to go for a run for a Cup, and that's the reason I chose Montreal, because I want to play and I want to compete for a Cup," Radulov said.

Video: Radulov's first meeting with the Montreal media

A first-round pick (No. 15) by the Predators in the 2004 NHL Draft, Radulov had three goals and seven points in nine games during his second stint with Nashville in 2011-12. He had a goal and five assists in eight games during the Stanley Cup Playoffs before he was suspended by the Predators.

"I missed curfew," Radulov said. "I'm not going to lie, I'm not going to say something, but the way everything was announced, I'm not agreeing with it. But it's in the past and I don't really want to get into it because I explained that many times. And right now I have a family, I have no time to go somewhere and I really don't want [to] because I'm getting older and I know I've got to take care of myself and be in shape and be 100 percent every day, so I know how to do that and I really like that I'm here right now."

Radulov has played in this province before; he spent two seasons with the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League from 2004-06. He helped Quebec to the Memorial Cup in 2006 and was named tournament MVP (21 goals, 55 points in 23 games).

Radulov played with the Predators for two seasons from 2006-08 before returning to Russia, where he spent four seasons with Salavat Yulaev Ufa of the KHL.

He had 47 goals and 102 points in 154 NHL games during his two stints in Nashville.

"I have been always saying it's the best league and the best players are playing here," Radulov said.

Asked if he had any regrets about leaving the Predators the way he did, Radulov opted to turn the page.

Video: NHL Network examines the Alexander Radulov Habs deal

"It was a long time ago and I was young and it was a different situation," Radulov said. "It's inside and I'm going to live with it. It's in the past. We're going to move forward and just build a great team here and try to win."

He is looking forward to playing in the closer quarters of NHL rinks, compared to the larger international ice surface in the KHL.

"It's a different league because the ice is bigger," Radulov said. "It's completely different and I think here the game is faster and you can get more scoring chances because the ice isn't that wide. If you basically beat the one guy and you get the scoring chance 100 percent. There, if you get the better position on a guy in the corner, you still have four guys in front of you, so it's kind of different."

Radulov said he had the opportunity to sit down and speak with Canadiens coach Michel Therrien for the first time before meeting with reporters.

"I wasn't [in the NHL] for four years and I know what people are expecting from me," Radulov said. "I know they didn't see me for a few years, but I'm ready and I want to prove to everybody, and to myself, first of all, that I can play here and be a good player here and help the team."

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