Jeremy Yablonski of Vityaz knows a thing or two about fighting. He's as "goon" as a goon can get in the KHL, including one fight in which he dropped elbows on Darcy Verot's head.
Earlier this season, he was suspended for the remainder of the KHL season after sucker punching Alexander Ryazantsev — the same Alexander Ryazantsev who "set" the new world record for the hardest shot in this weekend's KHL All Star Game. That sucker punch even prompted the KHL to consider what we dubbed the "Yablonski Rule."
KHL President Medvedev speaking in November:
"We are drafting a resolution under which players from Canada and USA will be allowed to play in the KHL only if they satisfy the League's criteria (excluding those who come over after being drafted). There will be certain entry criterion implemented, which, in essence, will have only one consideration — the number of games in the NHL. The exact number is being discussed right now, but the range considered is 80 to 120 games. This number of games should be enough to talk about [player's] qualification. Europeans will not be affected by this."
Following the suspension Vityaz decided to appoint Yablonski the team fitness coach. And when he wasn't working on conditioning of his teammates, Yablonski was involved in some other fights. Pillow fights for ESQUIRE magazine (see above).
But recently Yablonski decided to follow Matt Cooke's steps and repent.
He filmed a video address to the KHL asking for forgiveness, stating that he realized how hockey should be played (video in Russian) and promised "he won't do it again."
He even visited the KHL offices personally to play table hockey, get a few kisses from female staff and personally plead his case.
The KHL listened to Yablonski's explanations, pleas and promises, and cut his suspension to 15 games, which had already passed when the decision was made.
KHL Vice President Ilya Kochevrin explained the decision:
"He came in person, realized his guilt. Yes, of course this is not a kindergarten we are running here that you can say 'I won't do it again.' But all of their [Vityaz's] leaders left [traded], the bench became very short. If they really don't have anyone to play, then you can say goodbye to the team — there is no reason to go to their games or to watch them on TV. By giving them the player back we somewhat make the situation easier."
Lesson learned — the next time you want to get out of a long suspension, just promise not to do it again. And it won't even matter that you're not just a repeat offender, you are the exact definition of the word.
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