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The Chelyabinsk native was picked 10th overall by the San Jose Sharks in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft as a power forward. Not soon after, Nazarov moved to North America, which suited his style more than in the skill-dominated Russian league. Nazarov did not become an NHL regular right away and he had to spend a few seasons splitting his time between San Jose and Kansas City. But once Nazarov established himself as an NHL player, his presence was certainly felt all throughout the league. He developed into perhaps the best Russian enforcer the NHL has seen. Never shy to give his opinion, or drop his gloves, he was also no stranger to the penalty box. Nazarov played a pure Canadian game, and the Russians were proud to have someone in the league who did not fit the typical "Euro-soft" player stereotype.
In 2004, he returned to Russia where he played for Metallurg Novokuznetsk and Avangard Omsk. On and off-ice incidents, however, forced him back to North America where he skated three more games.
His retirement came shortly after claims from Nazarov that a large number of NHL players use performance-enhancing drugs. Realizing the consequences of his comments, he accepted his fate and retired.
Internationally, he represented Russia in 1998 World championship. After retirement he became succesful coach, both on club and international level. His hot-tempered personality is still present and Nazarov had several conflicts even as a coach.