Players of Interest Update: Nov. 3rd, 2016
Extended highlights of today’s encounter between Finland and Russia in Helsinki.
The 2016 Karjala Cup tournament, the first leg of this season’s Euro Hockey Tour, got underway today in Finland and the Czech Republic. In Plzen, the Czechs got four points from Metallurg Magnitogorsk’s Jan Kovář to defeat Sweden 6-3. In Helsinki, meanwhile, Finland and Russia, the latter with a very young and somewhat “experimental” lineup, were tied at 1-1 late on. However, four Russian goals in the final ten minutes, including two in the last sixty seconds, resulted in a 5-1 scoreline in favour of the visitors. Several of our players of particular interest were in action for their respective countries today, and one them made some significant noise in the Russia-Finland game. Read on!
- G Igor Shestyorkin (SKA St. Petersburg)
- Season to date (KHL): 18 gp, .943 sv%, 1.46 GAA, 6 SO.
- This week (International): Did not play.
Nothing really to report here on Shestyorkin himself. SKA have not played since our last update, and young Igor was the back-up to Ilya Sorokin for Russia’s Karjala Cup opener today. However, we might take note of one event that occurred in that game: Finnish goalie Mikko Koskinen was withdrawn early in the second period due to injury. Koskinen, of course, is Shestyorkin’s partner in the SKA goaltending ranks, and early reports indicate that he will miss at least the rest of the Karjala Cup. If he is out for a long period, it could mean a lot of playing time for Shestyorkin when the KHL resumes action next week.
- D Kirill Koltsov (Traktor Chelyabinsk)
- Season to date (KHL): 26 gp, 8-3-11, +4, 4 PiM, 67 SoG, 18:55 ToI/Gm.
- This week (KHL): 2 gp, 0-0-0, Even, 0 PiM, 5 SoG, 18:45 ToI/Gm.
Koltsov, alone among our six players, was not called to his national team this week, and he was held pointless in Traktor’s last two games before the break. No matter: the Chelyabinsk team enters the week off on a real high, winners of five straight games, and have ascended all the way to fifth in the very competitive East Conference.
- D Adam Polášek (Sibir Novosibirsk Oblast)
- Season to date (KHL): 27 gp, 2-15-17, +2, 20 PiM, 46 SoG, 21:02 ToI/Gm.
- This week (KHL): 2 gp, 0-1-1, -2, 2 PiM, 5 SoG, 22:36 ToI/Gm.
- This week (International): 1 gp, 0-1-1, o PiM.
Polášek donated an assist to his club’s cause this week (to no avail: injury-ravaged Sibir limp into the KHL break on a three-game losing skid), and then joined the Czech national team that faced Sweden in Karjala Cup action today. He was a contributor there, too, assisting on a Jakub Jeřábek goal just 29 seconds into the eventual victory over Sweden. As the season began, we saw Polášek basically as a playmaking defenceman, and he has in no way disappointed either for club or (small sample size notwithstanding) for country.
- F Anatoly Golyshev (Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg)
- Season to date (KHL): 24 gp, 3-6-9, -1, 6 PiM, 69 SoG, 17:34 ToI/Gm.
- Season to date (VHL): 4 gp, 1-0-1, Even, 0 PiM, 10 SoG, 17:05 ToI/Gm.
- This week (KHL): 1 gp, 0-0-0, -1, 0 PiM, 2 SoG, 18:30 ToI/Gm.
- This week (International): 1 gp, 2-0-2, +3, o PiM, 2 SoG
It has been a terrible season for Golyshev, scoring-wise, at the KHL level (his brief demotion to the VHL did not go white-hot for him either). However, based on his sterling work last season, he remained on the Russian national team’s radar and was summoned to this week’s tournament. And it was very much the 2015-16 edition of Anatoly Golyshev that we saw today. He was placed on a line with the CSKA Moscow duo of Valery Nichushkin and Andrei Svetlakov, and the three youngsters accounted for Team Russia’s first three goals against Finland, with Golyshev himself scoring the first and third of those. If he can keep up that sort of production for the next two games of the tournament, it may put something of a spring in his step when he returns to Avtomobilist next week.
One thing that will be waiting for Golyshev in Yekaterinburg will be a new coach, and one of the big storylines as we follow this player through the rest of the season will be the effect of Vladimir Krikunov’s arrival. Krikunov, who was a big part of Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk’s unlikely run to the playoffs last season, replaced Andrei Razin behind the bench at Avtomobilist this past weekend.
- F Linus Omark (Salavat Yulaev Ufa)
- Season to date (KHL): 27 gp, 6-21-27, Even, 14 PiM, 77 SoG, 18:30 ToI/Gm.
- This week (KHL): 2 gp, 2-1-3, +5, 0 PiM, 8 SoG, 19:27 ToI/Gm.
Sweden’s Omark was indeed invited to join the Tre Kroner at the Karjala Cup, but declined in order to spend some time with his newborn daughter, which is reasonable enough. In any case, his last two games before the break saw the 29-year-old go out with a bit of a bang: not only are the two goals and three points impressive, but the +5 looks very nice as well, and Salavat Yulaev won both games. Here’s hoping he can keep that production up when he returns from fatherhood duties next week.
- F Sakari Salminen (Jokerit Helsinki)
- Season to date (KHL): 25 gp, 3-13-16, +1, 10 PiM, 46 SoG, 16:58 ToI/Gm.
- This week (KHL): 2 gp, 0-0-0, -3, 0 PiM, 4 SoG, 14:45 ToI/Gm.
- This week (International): 1 gp, 0-1-1, -1, o PiM, 2 SoG.
Mr. Salminen will not look back on this as a top-notch week in terms of team results, as it featured a pair of regulation losses for Jokerit followed by the Finnish national team’s up-ending by Russia today. In the latter encounter, Salminen at least got his name on the scoresheet with an assist on Miro Aaltonen’s second-period equalizer. This is turning into a season of discontent of Jokerit, who lie once again outside the playoff spots in the KHL’s West Conference — albeit barely (they are in ninth, three points back of eighth) and with plenty of time to make things right.
The Karjala Cup continues on Saturday, when Russia faces the Omark-less Sweden and Finland comes up against the Czech Republic.