I am off traveling this weekend, so KHL team previews will resume early next week (Slovan Bratislava is the next up).
In the meantime, however, there was a significant bit of hockey news on Thursday, which you can append to this week’s Women’s Hockey Update. Forward Alexandra Vafina is on her way from Women’s Hockey League champions Agidel Ufa to SKIF Nizhny Novgorod. The former University of Calgary standout joined Agidel early in 2017-18, and scored 6-11-17 in 20 games before adding two goals and two assists in five playoff contests. Still only 27, Vafina has played for Russia at eight World Championships and two Olympic Games, though (perhaps oddly) she was not included on the 2018 Games roster. She represents an huge acquisition for SKIF, who were a bit of a surprise playoff team last season after a couple of campaigns rebuilding from their youth program.
Have a good weekend, and see you all early next week!
On the bright side, Admiral are still here. The far-eastern club’s money crisis last season, which we discussed in December, was nearly fatal, and predictably resulted in the ravaging of the rosters both at the KHL team and at (junior) MHL squad Taifun Primorsky Krai. It also means that the Admiral Vladivostok that enters 2018-19 is in fact a new legal entity, although it does inherit the few remaining players from last season’s squad. Now, I am not 100% sure that the crisis is in fact over, but for now, the situation with the team seems stable, or stable enough, and preparations are underway for the upcoming season. How good will Admiral be? Not good at all, it would seem, and understandably so — read on.
As the new season nears (indications are that the Women’s Hockey League season will begin on September 9th), the pace of news in Russian women’s hockey is also picking up. And there have been some heavy tidings in the first part of July, including: a Women’s Hockey League team on the move, an unpleasant situation at the league’s defending champions, some players coming and going, and a first look at some of the prospective Russian national-teamers in 2018-19. Read on!
A quick note for starters: I had originally intended to preview Slovan Bratislava after Dinamo Riga, but Slovan’s article is on hold for now — they simply have not yet done enough building of their roster, particularly at forward, for me to say anything useful right now. I will post their preview when we have a better idea of what the team will look like in 2018-19.
Five wins from Kunlun Red Star’s first seven games in 2017-18 under legendary Head Coach Mike Keenan, and all of them on the road, too… but then things went horribly awry for the KHL’s lone Chinese club. A winless November was followed by Keenan’s exit, and interim bench boss Bobby Carpenter could not turn things around. Playing the entire 2017-18 season in a temporary home in Shanghai probably did not help Kunlun Red Star, but there is some good news there: though KRS will again start this coming season in Shanghai, reports are that they plan to return to the Chinese capital in December. As for the roster, and their prospects for a rebound campaign, read on…
Dinamo Riga’s first quarter of the 2017-18 season was an absolute train-wreck: five points taken from a possible 42, and their playoff hopes were basically dead and buried by the first day of October. Then, most of their few bright spots on the roster departed this spring and summer. So doom and gloom again? Well, some of that, yes, but there are also reasons for a certain amount of very modest optimism at the club from the Latvian capital as well. Read on, for the first of our 2018-19 KHL team previews…
As I mentioned yesterday, the 2018-19 KHL team previews start this week, and one of the things I’m going to add to them for this go-round is each team’s quarterly splits (by pts%) for the 2017-18 regular season. And here is the full chart of same for the KHL last season, sorted by final overall points percentage.
Each KHL team played 56 games last season, so the quarters were each 14 games long with 42 available points per team. Quarters marked in green mean that the team was in the top five in the league (plus ties) for that particular 14-game segment, and red means that the team was in the bottom five (again, plus ties). This coming season will feature a 62-game campaign for each team, which does not divide evenly into four quarters, but I will figure something out when the time comes.
The 2018-19 hockey season in Russia is upon us! Or at least the preliminaries are. Teams in all sorts of leagues are starting up their training camps, and we are just two or three weeks away from the first exhibition games. Read on, for talk of the KHL’s 2018-19 schedule, and a couple of quick notes on other matters.
It has been a little while since our last Women’s Hockey update here, for the simple reason that with the off-season lull in full effect, there simply has not been much news (beyond Olga Sosina deservedly winning the Women’s Hockey League Most Outstanding Player awared). However, with the 2018-19 season drawing ever closer, stirrings have begun once again; read on, for a big signing, some re-signings, and some actual hockey, although not of the usual sort!
The Hockey Hall of Fame announced its Class of 2018 today, and an impressive one it is too. In the Builders Category: longtime NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman along with Willie O’Ree, the first black man to play in the NHL. To be inducted as Players: five-time Canadian Olympian Jayna Hefford, former New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur, feared Tampa Bay Lightning sniper Martin St. Louis… and 1970s-era Soviet star left-winger Alexander Yakushev. The last of those is obviously of great interest here, so read on, for a look back at Mr. Yakushev’s career!
NHL teams at this past weekend’s Entry Draft starting choosing Russian players early (with the second pick overall, in fact), and they didn’t stop. When all was said and done, 20 young Russians had been selected — the most at an NHL draft since 2004 — along with two Belarusans. Read on, for a thought or so on each of those 22 players.