Players of Interest Update: Oct. 13th, 2016
Time to check in again with our six players whom we’re watching especially closely this season! Our young goalie (see video above) is writing one of the 2016-17 season’s most enthralling stories, while for the rest, fortunes are varied indeed. Read on!
- G Igor Shestyorkin (SKA St. Petersburg)
- Season to date (KHL): 16 gp, .940 sv%, 1.57 GAA, 5 SO.
- This week (KHL): 3 gp, .952 sv%, 1.01 GAA, 1 SO.
All good things must come to an end; when Dinamo Minsk’s Nikita Ustinenko sniped past Shestyorkin in the second period of Monday’s game, it capped off a remarkable 272:08 and four complete games during which SKA’s young netminder had not allowed a single goal (the KHL record, incidentally was set last season by Lokomotiv’s Alexei Murygin, at just over 300 minutes). The streak did set a new club record, however, and continued Shestyorkin’s remarkable emergence as an elite goalie. His response to the end of the shutout run? “I’m glad this streak is over,” said Shestyorkin, and he proceeded to stop 40 of 43 shots over SKA’s next two games. The St. Petersburg giants have now won four in a row, and nine of ten; the one loss in that stretch was also the only game in which Shestyorkin was on the bench. A nice story being written on the shores of the Gulf of Finland, but we should perhaps spare a thought for poor Mikko Koskinen, who returned from the World Cup of Hockey to discover that he is at least for now a backup goalie.
An interesting statistical oddity: in all three of this week’s games, Shestyorkin made exactly 20 saves.
- D Kirill Koltsov (Traktor Chelyabinsk)
- Season to date (KHL): 19 gp, 6-1-7, Even, 4 PiM, 50 SoG, 19:16 ToI/Gm.
- This week (KHL): 3 gp, 0-0-0, -4, 2 PiM, 5 SoG, 19:08 ToI/Gm.
An ugly, ugly line across the board for Koltsov this week, and it was made worse by the fact that Traktor dropped all three games and have now dropped to 12th in the hyper-competitive East Conference. The Chelyabinskers have lost five in a row and seven of eight, during which time Koltsov has recorded but a single goal. All is not lost; the 33-year-old is still tied for the league lead in goals by defencemen, and Traktor are only seven points out of fourth place in the Conference with games in hand on some of the teams above them. However, both team and player need to sort out the current malaise as quickly as they can.
- D Adam Polášek (Sibir Novosibirsk Oblast)
- Season to date (KHL): 20 gp, 2-12-14, +6, 12 PiM, 36 SoG, 20:52 ToI/Gm.
- This week (KHL): 3 gp, 1-0-1, Even, 4 PiM, 4 SoG, 20:03 ToI/Gm.
A rare goal, and even rarer lack of assists, this week for the playmaking Polášek, and it was a bit of a case of quality over quantity. Polášek’s marker tied things for Sibir against lowly Metallurg Novokuznetsk in the waning minutes of Saturday’s game, and the Novosibirsk side went on to win in overtime. This was a tough week for Sibir, who were lacking leading scorer Maxim Shalunov due to suspension, but they came through it relatively well (five points out of a possible nine during Shalunov’s absence). As for Polášek, he’s putting together a nice first season in the KHL, as he currently sits fifth in the league in points by defencemen, and tied for eighth among all players in assists.
- F Anatoly Golyshev (Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg)
- Season to date (KHL): 17 gp, 3-6-9, -1, 6 PiM, 41 SoG, 17:00 ToI/Gm.
- Season to date (VHL): 4 gp, 1-0-1, Even, 0 PiM, 10 SoG, 17:05 ToI/Gm.
- This week (KHL): 2 gp, 1-0-1, Even, 2 PiM, 5 SoG, 18:28 ToI/Gm.
Another week and another goal for Golyshev, his second marker in five games since being recalled from the VHL. That’s a bit more like it from a player who scored 25 last season, but there’s a fly in the ointment as well: Golyshev’s goal was the only one Avtomobilist scored this week, and they gave up 11 in losing two games in row. It must be admitted that the opposition — Metallurg Magnitogorsk and Salavat Yulaev Ufa — are the sort that can score in bunches, but that’s still not a good week’s work for the Yekaterinburg side, who find themselves in 13th place (out of 15 teams) in the East. Back on the bright side, however, the fact that Golyshev managed to stay even in plus-minus while his team was being outscored by ten suggests that he at least is not the problem.
- F Linus Omark (Salavat Yulaev Ufa)
- Season to date (KHL): 20 gp, 4-18-22, +2, 8 PiM, 60 SoG, 18:27 ToI/Gm.
- This week (KHL): 3 gp, 0-1-1, -1, 6 PiM, 7 SoG, 16:54 ToI/Gm.
A bit of a scare for Omark this week, as he was injured in the second period of Salavat Yulaev’s game against Ugra Khanty-Mansiysk on Tuesday and did not return. Whatever it was turned out not to be too serious; Omark was back in the lineup on Thursday and played more than 20 minutes against Avtomobilist. However, the fact that he went pointless and -1 in a 5-1 victory does hint that he might not have been 100%. While are certainly far from declaring a crisis, as Salavat Yulaev won two of three this week and Omark is still leading the league in assists, we need to keep an eye on his health in the coming days.
- F Sakari Salminen (Jokerit Helsinki)
- Season to date (KHL): 19 gp, 2-12-14, +3, 10 PiM, 38 SoG, 17:45 ToI/Gm.
- This week (KHL): 3 gp, 0-1-1, -4, 2 PiM, 7 SoG, 16:49 ToI/Gm.
First, the good news: Salminen’s assist (he is tied for eighth in the KHL in that category) came as part of a 6-3 Jokerit victory over mighty CSKA, in Moscow no less. And… that was about the only good news. Jokerit lost their other two games this week, and still sit, shockingly, outside the playoff picture in the West Conference. As for Salminen himself, well, that -4 over the last three games stands out, and not in a good way. His week may not have been as dire as Koltsov’s, but it was miles from good, and his team has now lost seven of its last nine. I don’t think Salminen is the problem, but we must admit that he did not help much this week either.