Finals Week Update

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HK Tambov hoist the Federations Cup, championship trophy of Russia’s third-tier men’s professional league, on Wednesday.  (Image Source)

A few days ago we took a quick look at all the different Finals going on in Russian hockey this week, and some of that silverware that was under dispute has now been handed out!  Read on, therefore, for some champions at the lower levels of pro and junior hockey, as well as a quick bonus update on some international hockey results from today.

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Women’s Hockey League Final Preview!

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Goalmout action between Agidel Ufa (in green) and Tornado Moscow Oblast during a 2017-18 regular-season game.  The two teams now meet in the Final, starting on Thursday!  (Image Source)

Tomorrow sees the beginning of the Women’s Hockey League’s first playoff Final, as Agidel Ufa and Tornado Moscow Oblast meet for Game 1 of a best-of-five affair at the former’s home rink.  We covered what happened in the semifinals here the other day; now, read on for a look at both of the finalists!

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Russia at the U18 Men’s Worlds (Updated)

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Russian U18 national team goalie Amir Miftakhov makes a spectacular save during an exhibition game against Sweden this past week.  (Image Source)

Thursday will see the opening the IIHF’s 2018 Men’s Under-18 World Championship, and this year it is being held in Russia, in the neighbouring cities of Chelyabinsk and Magnitogorsk just east of the Ural Mountains.  The Russian team has been preparing for the tournament for the past couple of weeks, and we are starting to get some ideas about the line combinations and defence pairings.  So read on for analysis of that (and also for some talk about an unfortunate situation involving the player who was expected to be Russia’s star at this tournament).

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Women’s Hockey Update: April 16th, 2018

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Olga Sosina looking very focused during Agidel Ufa’s first-round playoff series against SKIF Nizhny Novgorod. (Image Source)

So what do we have to discuss in this update?  Major things, including the first round of the first-ever Women’s Hockey League playoffs, the first-ever championship tournament in Russia’s amateur Under-18 league, and beginning of the second edition of the Women’s Under-16 European Cup.  So read on!

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Finals Week, and Other Notes

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Newly-appointed Russian men’s national team coach Ilya Vorobyov. (Image Source)

This is a bit of a “tidying-up” sort of post; it includes updates on all of the various league Finals going on or starting this week, as well as some news from the FHR and previews of imminent international hockey attractions.  So read on, as we go all over the place!

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2017-18 Gagarin Cup Final Preview (Updated)

A nice video looking back at the first Gagarin Cup Final, in 2008-09.  Ak Bars Kazan were the champions on that occasion, and they’re back in the Final for 2017-18.

The opening face-off of the Gagarin Cup Final for this season is just a couple of days away; the puck drops at 5:00 pm Moscow time on Saturday!  And the Final, as we have discussed, may not be the won most were anticipating, particularly in terms of the representative from the West Conference.  So read on, for some thoughts about what may happen when CSKA Moscow meet Ak Bars Kazan with the championship at stake.

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To the Kharlamov Cup Final!

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The Kharlamov Cup. (Image Source)

The field for the Kharlamov Cup Final in the MHL (Russia’s top-tier men’s junior league) is now set, and the series will get underway this coming weekend.  This year’s Final will be an all West Conference affair (the MHL crosses over at the semifinal stage), with 2015-16 champions Loko Yaroslavl taking on SKA-1946 St. Petersburg, whose previous best finish was as runners-up in 2014-15.

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Women’s Hockey League Playoff Preview!

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Agidel Ufa await the start of a game during the 2017-18 Women’s Hockey League Season.  Agidel now await the beginning of the playoffs, which they enter as the number one seed!  (Image Source)

The 2017-18 Women’s Hockey League regular season came to an end this past week with a couple of two-game sets: Biryusa Krasnoyarsk beat Arktik-Universitet Ukhta 6-4 and 4-0, while Tornado Moscow Oblast tore up the league’s bottom club, SK Sverdlovsk Oblast, by scores of 14-2 and 13-2.  Those two blowouts of SKSO allowed Tornado’s Anna Shokhina to secure her grip on the scoring title (she posted 11 points over the two games), and they also muddied the waters a bit when it comes to analyzing her team’s playoff prospects, as we shall see.  However, the results had no effect whatsoever on the final standings, so we need not go into them in depth.

Instead, we look ahead to the first-ever Women’s Hockey League playoffs, which gets underway on Tuesday!  So read on, as we check out the match-ups in the two semifinal series, and try to work out who the key players to watch will be!

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The Gagarin Cup Final is Set!

The Final of the 2017-18 Gagarin Cup playoffs is indeed set: CSKA Moscow, in something of a surprise, will take on Ak Bars Kazan for the KHL championship, with Game 1 of the Final going on April 14th.

But before we start our discussion of the Conference Finals, the KHL results were of course not the big hockey news of the weekend.  That occurred on a wintry stretch of highway in rural Saskatchewan, where the bus carrying 29 players and staff of the Humboldt Broncos, who play in the Junior A Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, collided with a transport truck.  Fifteen passengers on the bus were killed, and the other 14 injured, some very seriously.  Junior hockey is a huge thing on the Canadian prairies, and indeed in many other places, and those long bus rides between towns are a staple of growing up for kids on sports teams, in clubs, and involved in school, church, and community groups; this is a devastatingly tragic blow, obviously, not only for the victims and their families, but for the town of Humboldt as well.  Many will recall the bus accident involving another Saskatchewan junior team, the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos, in 1986.  And for those of us who follow Russian hockey, there are shades of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl air disaster in 2011.

Notes of condolence for the victims of the accident have poured in from all over, including statements from the Russian Hockey Federation and from KHL teams Dynamo Moscow and Spartak Moscow, among others.   Much has also been written about the tragedy; there is far too much to link to it all, but I would particularly recommend this piece by Gregg Drinnan, and this one by Roy MacGregor.  And allow me here to add my own condolences and warm thoughts to all the victims of this horrendous accident.

Read on, as we go back to the KHL.

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The Banks of the Neva (Updated)

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Dynamo St. Petersburg’s Alexander Kulagin (#82) fights through the chaos in front of the Zauralye Kurgan net in search of yet another goal.  (Image Source)

The 2017-18 Petrov Cup Final, in the VHL (Russia’s second-tier men’s professional league) will be an all-St. Petersburg affair!  Local teams Dynamo and SKA-Neva, the top two seeds coming into the post-season, have duly made their way to the championship round.  Read on, for a quick look back at the semifinal round, and ahead to the Final!

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