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Ex-NHLer Leighton’s KHL contract voided due to illness

Jul 28, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT

Michael Leighton Getty Images

Michael Leighton had a dominant season in the KHL in 2013-14 and was getting ready to play for the expansion team HC Sochi when he began suffering from an illness that prevented him from attending training camp.

Leighton consulted with Sochi and the two sides agreed to void his contract.

“I was with Sochi and got sick and wasn’t sure when I was going to be able to make it there,” Leighton told the Windsor Star. “They have the right to look for another goalie and I agreed that I didn’t know when I’d be able to get there, so we both agreed to terminate the contract.”

The 33-year-old goaltender didn’t elaborate on his health issues. Sochi is interested in re-signing him when he’s healthy enough to play though.

He’s a veteran of 105 NHL games and is perhaps best known for the role he played in Philadelphia’s run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2010. He had a 2.46 GAA and .916 save percentage in 14 contests during that playoff run and ultimately fell to the Chicago Blackhawks when Patrick Kane beat him in overtime.

Leighton had a 1.74 GAA and .933 save percentage in 42 contests with Donbass last season, a Ukrainian-based club that has withdrew from the 2014-15 campaign in light of recent events.

  1. swadehoo - Jul 28, 2014 at 8:11 PM

    Good luck to Leighton. Hope everything works out well. He did all expected from him and a lot more in that 2010 season.

  2. adamal17 - Jul 28, 2014 at 8:20 PM

    This is why the NHL isn’t in real danger for competition from the KHL. Regardless of what Leighton has stated I would imagine he would have liked his salary even while being injured. Almost every team in the KHL is so cash strapped they can’t afford to pay injured/sick players so they get cut…like an NFL player. I hope he heals up and has a quick recovery to be able to play soon.

  3. petersteelewannabe - Jul 28, 2014 at 8:30 PM

    However things end up for him, I will always have a soft spot Leighton due to that magical run he was a part of for the Flyers in 2010. Get well soon.

  4. therealtrenches - Jul 28, 2014 at 9:00 PM

    Ryan, I like your work. But “dominate” is a verb (as in “the flyers dominate the Penguins”), and the form of the word you’re looking for in the first sentence is “dominant” (as in “leighton turned in a dominant performance.”).

    Someone’s paying you to write. Learn the language.

    • JoeAvg - Jul 28, 2014 at 10:37 PM

      Flyers would be capitalized in your diatribe, as well as Leighton. Perhaps before you criticize others for not knowing the language, you should learn it yourself.

  5. andyisfat - Jul 28, 2014 at 10:29 PM

    Leaky Leighton.

  6. norskhelgen - Jul 28, 2014 at 11:17 PM

    Regardless of what team you cheer for (well, aside Chicago), it was hard not to root for the underdogs that were Philly and Leighton during the 2010 run. It’s always nice to see hard-working pros like Michael Leighton and Dan Ellis play on another level and be rewarded for sticking with their NHL dreams, even if it’s short lived. Hopefully everyone works out for him and he makes a speedy recovery.

  7. norskhelgen - Jul 28, 2014 at 11:18 PM

    everything* blah

  8. rushledger - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:58 AM

    Met him at a Springfield falcons game while he was playing for the phantoms. Really nice guy. Wish him the best.

  9. 950003cups - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:16 AM

    I hear it’s a serious illness. It’s a common illness in the KHL. It’s called Gun-To-The-Head-Itis.

    I can’t believe Kovalchuk left the NHL for those crooks.

  10. cliffatola - Jul 30, 2014 at 5:02 PM

    Has he been doing volunteer work in Liberia ?

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