Dinamo Minsk in 2020-21

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It all started nicely enough for Dinamo in 2019-20, as Finnish forward Teemu Pulkkinen’s goals helped the Belarusians to a reasonable first quarter of the season. Thereafter… we should draw the veil. Pulkkinen went off to Dynamo Moscow, the wins dried up, the goalies couldn’t make a save, and even Dinamo’s usually-excellent attendance set some records of the wrong kind. Dinamo finished dead last in the league, and the off-season was full of dark mutterings about the team’s future in the KHL. A dire season, a global pandemic, and now political unrest in Belarus — what hope is there for the team in 2020-21? Well, perhaps surprisingly, the answer to that question is not “none.” Read on, as we begin our series of 2020-21 KHL team previews…

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Schedules — We Have ‘Em! (Updated)

What with the pandemic and everything, schedules for the 2020-21 seasons in Russia’s various leagues are appearing late this summer, but appearing they nonetheless are! Today saw the release of the team-lists and schedules for the 2020-21 seasons of KHL and MHL, with other leagues likely to follow soon. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic is far from a done thing, so there is a chance that there will be delays, reschedulings, and other such unfortunate news to come. However, for the moment, all is anticipation for the new season — read on, for a quick look at the KHL and MHL schedules, with details on other leagues’ calendars to be added as soon as possible!

August 19th: ZhHL schedule notes added.

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Where We Stand, as July Approaches

KRS Vanke Rays Shenzhen of the Russian Women’s Hockey League will have a new home rink in the (hopefully) near future!

Russian hockey teams are beginning to return to the ice in preparation for the new season, with the KHL clubs starting their camps in mid-July. And while we still do not have official team lists for 2020-21, there has been some news over the past couple of months regarding which clubs are in, and which are out. Read on, as we take a preliminary look at how the various leagues in Russian hockey will look in the coming season, all being well.

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The Bragin Era Begins (Updated)

New Russian men’s national-team head coach Valery Bragin. (Image Source)

A move that had been rumoured for a month or so became official today, and for the second straight summer the Russian Hockey Federation has announced a new coach for the senior men’s national team. At about this time last year, it was Alexei Kudashov taking over for Ilya Vorobyov; now it is Kudashov’s turn to be replaced, and his replacement both with the national team and with the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg club will the longtime coach of Russia’s national U20 men’s team (i.e. the World Juniors squad), Valery Bragin. Hall-of-Famer Igor Larionov will be the new head coach of the U20 team, a very interesting move in its own right. Read on, for more details, and some thoughts!

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Foreign Players in the KHL: the 2020-21 List

Early in the 2018-19 season, we took a look at the foreign player rules in the KHL — those rules have remained substantially the same since then, but there was one significant development late last month. The KHL has amended its regulations so that Kazakh players (i.e. players eligible for the national team of Kazakhstan) will no longer count as Imports when playing for Russian teams; in that, they now have the same status as Belarusians. With that in mind, below the jump you’ll find a list of Import players currently under contract for 2020-21 with KHL teams — read on…

Last update: August 13th, 2020 (Dinamo Riga).

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More Early Off-Season Doings

Justin Danforth, here in action with Lukko in Finland’s Liiga, is one of the intriguing imports signed by Vityaz this past weekend. (Image Source)

The weekend brought further interesting developments in the KHL off-season; we have, for example, an old school player-for-player trade to report! And little Vityaz Moscow Oblast have made a big splash in the opening days of free agency, bringing in intriguing imports and proven KHL talents both. Read on, for that and more!

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May 1st, and Hello, 2020-21!

Veteran scoring forward Roman Starchenko will be staying with Barys for the next couple of seasons, although the rest of the news from Day 1 of the signing season was not so good for the Kazakh club. (Image Source)

We are still miles from knowing when the next hockey games will be played, but May 1st nonetheless saw the opening of the 2020 off-season signing period in the various Russian leagues. The KHL, its 2019-20 season prematurely ended by the pandemic, is embarking on the era of the “hard” salary cap; a late attempt, led by CSKA Moscow, to get that limit raised to 1.3 billion rubles was voted down by the clubs last week, and it will remain at 900 million. The introduction of the “hard” cap should make for an active off-season, and indeed Day 1 of it saw some big moves. Read on, as we resume blogging here after a bit of a brain break, and take a look at the biggest of them!

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Admiral Vladivostok Withdraw From the KHL for 2020-21 (More to Come)

Per an announcement on the club’s official website, Admiral Vladivostok will not participate in the 2020-21 KHL season. This development follow a decision by the Primorsky Krai regional government to withdraw all funding from professional sports; those monies will now be used for measures to fight the COVID-19 outbreak. According to the reports, funding for youth hockey initiatives will be maintained, and Admiral’s MHL junior team, Taifun Primorsky Krai, will play next season.

Much more to come on this story today — below the jump are some questions and answers about the situation, with appropriate links, and there are more to come. And of course if you have questions that you do not see there, feel free to fire them into the comments section, and I’ll do my best to find answers!

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Looking Ahead in the KHL

A very Happy Birthday to Mr. Sergei Mozyakin! The KHL’s greatest-ever player turns 39 today, and his playing future will be one of the big stories of the 2020 off-season.

And just like that, the 2019-20 hockey season in Russia has come to an official end — probably. Most leagues have either finished their season (the ZhHL) or have declared the current campaign cancelled (the KHL, VHL, and PVHL as of last week), and only the two junior leagues are still holding out any hope of completing their playoffs at a future date. For all intents and purposes, we are now into the off-season, and beginning the consideration of the 2020-21 campaign. Read on, therefore, for some early KHL storylines as we look ahead (with any luck) to this Fall!

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KRS Vanke Rays!

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The season is done, and the Women’s Hockey League has a new champion! KRS Vanke Rays Shenzhen, who joined the league just last summer after a couple of campaigns in the CWHL, finished off a three-game Final sweep of defending champions Agidel Ufa earlier today with a 4-2 victory in the decider. Read on, for a look back at, and some thoughts on, the Final series!

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