Coyotes suspend rookie Lisin after he returns to Russia

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes suspended rookie
forward Enver Lisin without pay Wednesday after he left the
organization to play in his native Russia instead of reporting to
the minors.

The Coyotes had reassigned the 20-year-old Lisin to their AHL
affiliate in San Antonio on Monday. But the right wing returned
home where he is expected to play for Ak Bars Kazan in the Russian

"We are very disappointed in Enver's decision to not report to
the San Antonio Rampage," Coyotes general manager Mike Barnett
said. "We fully expected him to honor his contract, thus we have
no choice but to suspend him as a result of his actions."

Lisin, a second-round draft pick in 2004, had one goal, one
assist and 16 penalty minutes in 17 games with Phoenix after being
recalled from San Antonio on Oct. 12. He had two goals in two games
for the Rampage earlier this season.

But Lisin, who scored his first NHL goal on Nov. 4 against Los
Angeles, had trouble playing defense and was a minus-18.

"He has the tools to one day be an NHL player, but his
defensive liabilities negated him from playing regularly at the NHL
level at this time," Barnett said. "The AHL would have been an
ideal situation for him to learn the North American pro game on the
smaller ice surface.

"We waited two full years after drafting him before bringing
him over. We were conscious of not wanting to rush him. It's not
always easy for young players from those countries to adapt to life
in America ... particularly if it calls for time in the minors. But
going there and learning the game is part of being a pro and paying
the price."