Montreal Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emelin, who switched to his old team Ak Bars Kazan during the NHL lockout, will play in Saturday’s game against Lev Prague, a team spokesman told R-Sport.
Emelin signed a contract on Friday, becoming the first lockout acquisition for the two-time Gagarin Cup champion.
“Ak Bars has received Emelin’s transfer card,” spokesman Marat Farkheyev said. “He will take to the ice in the game against Lev."
Earlier, Emelin held talks in Kazan, and head coach Valery Belov said that “Emelin’s case is an exception” to Ak Bars’ policy of refusal of any lockout signings.
“Emelin is without a team now, and his rights belong to us,” Belov said. “A major national player has been left without match practice, so we’ve made an exception for him.”
“It is not out of compassion, he should help the team, especially that now our defensemen [Grigory] Panin and [Vasily] Tokranov are injured.”
Ak Bars hosts Lev at 17:00 Moscow time (13:00GMT).
Emelin, 26, joined the Canadiens in May 2011 from Ak Bars Kazan on a one-year contract and played his first regular-season NHL game in October, racking up seven points in 67 games as the Canadiens finished last in the Eastern Conference.
Emelin racked up 236 hits in the regular season to become the biggest-hitting rookie defenseman in the NHL, and continued his good form at the world championship in May as a key member of the Russia team that won gold, recording four points in nine games.
Earlier, he won the first-ever KHL Gagarin Cup with Ak Bars in the 2008-09 season and stayed with the team as it went on to defend the title a year later.
The Canadiens signed a two-year contract extension with Emelin in July.