Players of Interest Update: Sept. 15, 2016
It’s Thursday, and that means it’s time to look in once again on how our team of players of particular interest have done over the last seven days. Read on, for the end of a slump, some bad puck-luck, and a young goalie starting to do some very nice things!
- G Igor Shestyorkin (SKA St. Petersburg)
- Season to date (KHL): 4 gp, .910 sv%, 2.22 GAA, 1 SO.
- This week (KHL): 2 gp, .957 sv%, 1.01 GAA, 1 SO.
That was a very good week for the SKA youngster, as he stopped 45 out of 47 total shots and recorded his first shutout of the season — the third of his KHL career — in a 4-0 victory over Severstal Cherepovets on Tuesday. We can reasonably ask what is to become of Shestyorkin when Mikko Koskinen returns from World Cup duty (options range from demotion to the VHL to get playing time to actually keeping the starting job at SKA), but for now, he’s a first-choice KHL goalie and making the most of it. The only fly in the ointment this week was that SKA went 1-1 in his two games; prior to the Severstal victory, they lost 2-1 on the road at CSKA Moscow. Nothing to be too concerned about there, however, as SKA were without several key players (World Cup, again) and CSKA have been absolutely red hot (8-0, GF-GA 30-9) since losing their season-opener. SKA are now off to Kazakhstan to play Barys on Friday.
- D Kirill Koltsov (Traktor Chelyabinsk)
- Season to date (KHL): 9 gp, 4-1-5, +2, 2 PiM, 23 SoG, 19:11 ToI/Gm.
- This week (KHL): 3 gp, 0-1-1, -2, 2 PiM, 3 SoG, 16:36 ToI/Gm.
The week started nicely enough for the veteran scoring defenceman, with an assist and a +1 in a 3-0 victory over Dinamo Riga. The subsequent two games, though: no points and -3. He was on the ice for Dinamo Minsk’s very late winning goal on Monday, and again for all three Metallurg Magnitogorsk goals in today’s game, all at even strength. The lone bright spot was that Traktor scored five of their own against Metallurg to wrap up a decent 2-1 week. Koltsov’s next chance to get things back on track (relatively speaking, as he still lead the KHL in goals by a defenceman) will be at home against Salavat Yulaev Ufa on Saturday.
- D Adam Polášek (Sibir Novosibirsk Oblast)
- Season to date (KHL): 8 gp, 0-5-5, +5, 4 PiM, 12 SoG, 20:05 ToI/Gm.
- This week (KHL): 3 gp, 0-0-0, +3, 4 PiM, 6 SoG, 19:28 ToI/Gm.
Sometimes the boxcar numbers don’t tell the whole tale; there was nary a point to be found for Polášek this week, even though Sibir went 3-0 (one win via shootout) and scored 13 goals in the process. However, he can hardly be accused of not contributing, as he went +3 and doubled his shots for the season. Sibir face the Latvian Dinamo in Riga on Saturday, and we will see if Polášek can return to the scoresheet then.
- F Anatoly Golyshev (Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg)
- Season to date (KHL): 9 gp, 1-4-5, -1, 4 PiM, 25 SoG, 16:25 ToI/Gm.
- This week (KHL): 2 gp, 0-0-0, Even, 4 PiM, 11 SoG, 16:49 ToI/Gm.
Nor should we be too concerned about Golyshev, despite the scoring zeroes he posted this week. For one thing, 11 shots without result over two games suggests that bad luck was part of the equation; if he keeps that up, the goals will come and very soon. For another, Golyshev’s bad shooting fortunes did not hurt his team; Avtomobilist swept both ends of a home-and-home set against Barys this week, with one of those wins coming via the shootout. The Yekaterinburgians are now 6-3 on the season, and among the leaders in the East Conference. However, they face a tough task next as they look to keep the good start going (and as Golyshev looks to get un-snake-bitten); mighty CSKA roll into town on Friday, with SKA St. Petersburg to follow on Monday.
- F Linus Omark (Salavat Yulaev Ufa)
- Season to date (KHL): 9 gp, 1-6-7, -1, 2 PiM, 28 SoG, 17:47 ToI/Gm.
- This week (KHL): 2 gp, 1-1-2, Even, 2 PiM, 8 SoG, 18:42 ToI/Gm.
The drought is over! After 16 games without a goal, going back to last season’s playoffs, the little Swede broke through on Wednesday against Admiral with his first tally of the season (Omark subsequently admitted that he had felt the pressure of his long slump). The breakthrough could not have come at a better time, as Salavat Yulaev went on to defeat Admiral Vladivostok 4-2 to break a four-game losing streak and record only their third victory in nine attempts this season. The big question, of course, is whether the reversal of fortunes, for both player and team, has any durability, or whether this is merely a false dawn. We will start to find out on Saturday, when Salavat Yulaev visit Traktor.
- F Sakari Salminen (Jokerit Helsinki)
- Season to date (KHL): 6 gp, 0-4-4, +2, 6 PiM, 7 SoG, 16:50 ToI/Gm.
- This week (KHL): 1 gp, 0-1-1, Even, 2 PiM, 1 SoG, 21:43 ToI/Gm.
Salminen missed the first of Jokerit’s two games this week (a 3-1 loss to Metallurg Magnitogorsk on Saturday), but was back front and centre for the team’s visit to Riga on Tuesday. He posted a season-high in ice time (21:43), and his assist tied the game at one apiece with less than ten minutes to play in the third period; Jokerit would score twice more in those final minutes and win it 3-1. On the down side (and recognizing that this week’s sample size of one game is a problem), he should probably be shooting a bit more. The next thing to discover is whether he keeps getting the big ice-time, and our first opportunity for such research will come on Saturday when Jokerit finally make their 2016-17 home debut against Avangard Omsk.