A Walk Through the KHL: October 21st, 2019

Alexander Samonov is on the move to SKA St. Petersburg after some spectacular early work for Vityaz Moscow Oblast. (Image Source)

A mildly delayed set of news notes (ok, only delayed by a few hours, but still)! The past few days have seen some interesting developments in the KHL, including a blockbuster trade involving a struggling giant and one of the league’s upstart teams of 2019-20. Read on!

Read the rest of this entry

Apologies…

…for the paucity of blogging in the past little bit. Full KHL news notes will be up early tomorrow (there was a big trade!), and there’s a women’s hockey post coming as well as some VHL talk on the way. More very soon!

A Walk Through the KHL: October 17th, 2019

Admiral Vladivostok’s Slovakian forward Martin Bakoš, whose play is helping write a very interesting story out in Russia’s Far East this season. (Image Source)

Blogging resumes, and it resumes with our weekly look at KHL news! There were some significant changes in the league over the past ten days or so; the list of coaches fired in 2019-20 is now three names long, and one of the KHL’s longest-serving executives has also been shown the door. Read on!

Read the rest of this entry

Happy Thanksgiving!

Alexander Samonov of Vityaz Moscow Oblast. (Image Source)

A very brief blogging hiatus follows here, due to Canadian Thanksgiving and a bit of travel. I’ll be back at the keyboard later this week, and you can expect full KHL news notes on Thursday, with some women’s hockey posts and some words on the VHL to follow. And just to tide you over, here’s a quick reminder of the big story of the current KHL campaign…

Vityaz! With all due respect to defending champions CSKA Moscow, who’ve scored the most goals this season, given up the second-fewest (in two more games played, too), and sit first overall, the big story of the KHL’s 2019-20 season so far has been Vityaz Moscow Oblast. Sterling goaltending and timely scoring has them second overall with a record of 13-3 — a far cry from the bad old days at the little Moscow-region team, and bad they were indeed. Now they’ve got a former NHL 40-goal man who was in the VHL a couple of seasons ago, a goalie who sports #99 (not to mention a .976 sv% through seven games), and the attention, in a good way, of everybody in the KHL. Regression to the mean may come for Vityaz in time, but this has been all kinds of fun so far.

More later this week, when I’m back, and Happy Thanksgiving to all!

In Their New Home, Gorny St. Petersburg Look for New Results

The Grony St. Petersburg bench looks on during an early 2019-20 game. (Image Source)

We’re up to the penultimate entry in our series of looks at the teams of the Russian Women’s Hockey League in 2019-20! SK Gorny began last season in the little northern city of Ukhta, and by the end they were playing out of the metropolis of St. Petersburg, but the playoffs still elude them. Their next move, hopefully, will be of the “up the standings” variety — read on…

Read the rest of this entry

A Walk Through the KHL: October 7th, 2019

Admiral Vladivostok players watch a video tribute to defenceman Samvel Mnatsyan before their game on Monday against Neftekhimik. (Image Source)

It is Monday, so time for another stroll the last week’s news for each KHL team. Some of the news this week, unfortunately, was of the sad variety, as the KHL mourned the loss, far too young, of one of its own. Read on, for that story, and the other tidings of the last seven days.

Read the rest of this entry

Who’s Who in the MHL

A short video introducing the newly redesigned Kharlamov Cup, the championship trophy of the MHL.

We haven’t talked much about the MHL, Russia’s top-tier men’s junior league, since the summer, so perhaps a quick re-introduction to the league is in order (especially as we have been talking about junior-age players in the KHL recently). Unlike in North American hockey, Russian (and most European) junior teams are part of professional clubs, and for the MHL teams that generally means the KHL (the KHL, in fact, administers the junior league). However, not all MHL teams have a KHL parent; read on, as we take a look at the 2019-20 MHL team lineup, and a little bit of a who’s who in the league this season.

Read the rest of this entry

Tornado Moscow Oblast Look for Redemption in 2019-20

Tornado Moscow Oblast. (Image Source)

Tornado Moscow Oblast, based in the town of Dmitrov just north of Russia’s capital, used to rule the roost in the Women’s Hockey League; they have won nine titles since their founding in 2003, including six in seven seasons between 2011 and 2017. But Tornado in 2018-19 were a shadow of their usual self, and 2019-20 opens with many more questions than answers about the former powerhouse. Read on…

Read the rest of this entry

A Walk Through the KHL: October 1st, 2019

SKA’s young netminder Alexei Melnichuk, who’s had a spectacular start to his KHL career. (Image Source)

It is time for another team-by-team stroll through the weekly tidings in the KHL! First of all, however, the big news of the past week from the KHL was that the league’s 2019-20 coaching casualties now number two, with the dismissal of coach Craig MacTavish from his post at Lokomotiv Yaroslavl last Tuesday. MacTavish joins Josef Jandač, fired in early September by Metallurg Magnitogorsk on the list of 2019-20 coaching removals. Read on, as we take a more detailed look at what happened with MacTavish, and the standard weekly team-by-team list of news items is there as well (a fair bit about goalies in this one, plus some other bits and pieces)!

Read the rest of this entry

Hockey Comes (Back) to Uzbekistan

Semurg Tashkent celebrate winning the inaugural Hockey Championship of Uzbekistan in early 2019. (Image Source)

This past week was a big one in the halls of the International Ice Hockey Federation, as the world hockey body admitted five new members, bringing total IIHF membership to 81 nations. The new countries are: Algeria, Colombia, Iran, Lebanon, and Uzbekistan, and it’s the fifth name on that list that I particularly want to talk about here. Uzbekistan, the Central Asian nation of 32 million inhabitants, and former constituent Republic of the USSR, has been in the hockey news a bit this summer, with the Humo Tashkent club joining Russia’s second-tier professional VHL. And now the nation is an IIHF member, which means, among other things, that it has the right to participate in World Championships. Read on, as we talk a bit about the (re-)birth of hockey in Uzbekistan!

Read the rest of this entry