A Walk Through the KHL: November 29th, 2016
Time again to see what the KHL teams have been up to over the last week. There were a couple of bits of sad news this time, as well as the usual roster shufflings and some interesting statistical notes as well. First however, we will delve into what, exactly, is going on in the video above! Read on…
It was a strange scene: Salavat Yulaev Ufa goalie Andrei Gavrilov calmly taking a drink of water, seemingly unaware of the Dynamo Moscow 3-on-1 that was coming his way at some speed. The video was widely circulated through the hockey world, with fans wondering what had been going on. And it turns out that there was indeed a reasonable explanation.
A few seconds before events of the video, and after some very pretty passing, Salavat Yulaev’s Maxim Mayorov had fired a shot just up under the crossbar of the Dynamo goal. The puck was in; the Salavat Yulaev players knew it, and commenced with their celebrations. Seeing this, Gavrilov went for his now-famous drink of water, but nobody except the Dynamo players at first realized that the referee had not seen the puck cross the line, and had signaled “play on” (to be fair to the ref, the puck was in the net only just, and only very briefly). Dynamo seized the puck, the odd-man rush was on against the unsuspecting goalie, and so a Youtube moment was born.
Gavrilov, incidentally, is writing a very nice story this season. A career journeyman at 29, he has only twice played 20 KHL games in a season (2014-15 for HK Sochi and 2009-10 for Vityaz and Atlant). His resume includes quite a lot of time on KHL benches, a significant number of games in the second-tier VHL, and stops in the Belarusan and Polish leagues as well. In 2016-17, however, he has been one of the best ‘keepers in the KHL; through 15 games for Salavat Yulaev, his save percentage of .942 has him fourth-best in the entire league.
The situation in the Dynamo game did all get sorted out in the end, and even had Dynamo scored on that 3-on-1, it would not have counted. A quick video review once play was halted revealed that Mayorov’s shot had indeed entered the opposing net, and the Salavat Yulaevgoal, which would stand up as the winner in a 2-1 victory, was correctly awarded. You can see the full sequence of events here (as I mentioned, it was a lovely play that culminated in Mayorov’s goal).
To the rest of the league:
1 (-). Metallurg Magnitogorsk (25-11, 77 pts.): Sergei Mozyakin’s point streak now stands at 14 games, during which he has scored 13-13-26. His season line is now 36 gp, 28-26-54, and I remind you that Mozyakin is doing all this at the age of 35; he truly is a wonder!
2 (-). Avangard Omsk Oblast (23-13, 68 pts.): Avangard may have a couple of real gems coming through their youth system. Eighteen-year-old Artyom Manukyan (34 gp, 23-37-60) and 19-year-old Anton Kovalyov (34 gp, 26-32-58) are the top two in goals, assists, and points in the junior-age MHL this season.
3 (-). Ak Bars Kazan (27-11, 76 pts.): Intriguing young defenceman Ziyat Paigin, whose 2016-17 season has been derailed by injury, is back with farm team Bars Kazan at least for now to get him some extra playing time.
4 (-). Salavat Yulaev Ufa (20-16, 62 pts.): Salavat Yulaev have acquired veteran forward Denis Parshin (28 gp, 5-7-12 this season) from Avangard in return for monetary compensation. The 30-year-old was named team captain for his first game for Salavat Yulaev on Sunday, and duly scored their only goal in a 2-1 loss to Lokomotiv Yaroslavl.
5 (-). Traktor Chelyabinsk (19-17, 59 pts.): Who’s got the best goaltending tandem in the KHL? It might well be Traktor, with the duo of Pavel Francouz (14 gp, .958 sv% — best in the league) and Vasily Demchenko (25 gp, .938 sv% — good for eighth place).
6 (+1). Admiral Vladivostok (16-19, 52 pts.): Both head coach Alexander Andriyevsky and assistant Maxim Spiridonov missed Admiral’s recent road trip due to illness. Fredrik Stillman, another assistant, took the reigns, helped out by goalie coach Konstantin Vlasov and athletic director David Nemirovsky, and Admiral came home from the jaunt with a 2-1 record.
7 (-1). Kunlun Red Star Beijing (17-17, 51 pts.): More than halfway through their first KHL regular season, KRS have yet to get their first taste of overtime, let alone the dreaded shootout. The Chinese side is the only KHL team to have settled all its games in the standard 60 minutes.
8 (+1). Sibir Novosibirsk Oblast (16-21, 48 pts.): Back in a playoff spot they may be, but Sibir’s injury woes go on; the team will be without leading scorer Sergei Shumakov (36 gp, 15-18-33) for two to three weeks.
9 (-1). Barys Astana (16-17, 47 pts.): The Kazakh team this week welcomed back forward Dustin Boyd, who broke his arm during the pre-season. Some rust apparent perhaps, as Boyd is still without a point through three games, although the team has not yet reunited him with tradition linemates Nigel Dawes and Brandon Bochenski.
10 (+3). Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk (17-18, 47 pts.): Credit where it’s due: new coach Andrei Nazarov guided Neftekhimik to a five-game win streak over the last couple of weeks. However, his temper continues to get him in trouble, and he has now been suspended three games for verbal abuse of officials after being expelled from Saturday’s game against Sibir.
11 (-1). Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg (16-20, 46 pts.): Sad news today, as the team announced the death of 92-year-old former club administrator Vladimir Bok. Bok is credited with being the man who chose the name Avtomobilist for the team in 1967; it had previously played as Spartak.
12 (-). Lada Tolyatti (14-22, 41 pts.): It appears that the regional government of Samara Oblast will step in to help Lada with their wage arrears; 50 million rubles (about $1.03 million CAD) have been allocated , which will reportedly cover about half of the debt.
13 (+1). Amur Khabarovsk (13-23, 41 pts.): At least one point has come Amur’s way from each of their last four games, and from five of their last six, and the Far Easterners are not out of the playoff race by any means. Next on the menu, however, are visits from SKA and CSKA, so the task gets no easier.
14 (-3). Ugra Khanty-Mansiysk (14-22, 39 pts.): After his team went 0-3 last week on a homestand that included some winnable games, coach Andrei Sokolov did not hide his feelings: “I am ashamed to look people in the eyes” said the Ugra bench boss.
15 (-). Metallurg Novokuznetsk (7-29, 21 pts.): The team has cut ties with defenceman Andrei Pervyshin (20 gp, 3-3-6) and forward Mikhail Anisin (20 gp, 0-2-2) after the two were reportedly AWOL from practice a couple of days ago.
1 (-). SKA St. Petersburg (29-6, 87 pts.): SKA are already at +99 in goals for and against this season and thus well on course to demolish the KHL record of +109, set by CSKA in 2014-15.
2 (-). CSKA Moscow (25-12, 79 pts.): The team has confirmed that forwards Jan Muršak (21 gp, 5-11-16) and Stéphane Da Costa (17 gp, 5-6-11) will not return from injury until at least January — a heavy blow for CSKA as they try to keep pace with SKA.
3 (-). Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (22-14, 66 pts.): Neftekhimik’s Nazarov was not the only KHL coach getting himself in trouble on Saturday; Torpedo’s Pēteris Skudra was also kicked out of his team’s game against Dinamo Minsk, and has been suspended for a further two contests.
4 (-). Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (19-15, 58 pts.): Keep an eye on a couple of Lokomotiv’s young defencemen. Rushan Rafikov is 21, and Vladislav Gavrikov only just turned 22, but they are tied for second on the team at +7 (yes, plus-minus is a bad stat, but still).
5 (+1). Dinamo Minsk (20-15, 57 pts.): It was a week of departures: defenceman Konstantin Koltsov, who first represented his country in 19989-99 but did not play this season, has retired, while the team has released Canadian-born forward Charles Linglet (23 gp, 0-8-8 in 2016-17) and Czech defenceman Lukáš Krajíček (18 gp, 0-4-4).
6 (+3). Jokerit Helsinki (17-18, 56 pts.): A 6-3 record in November, including at least a point from eight of nine games, has eased Jokerit’s playoff worries for now.
7 (-2). HK Sochi (19-17, 54 pts.): The Black Sea club has cancelled the contract of journeyman defenceman Roman Derlyuk, who was without a point in 11 games this season.
8 (-). Dynamo Moscow (19-16, 53 pts.): Dynamo won the latest installment of the old rivalry with CSKA on Monday by a score of 3-2 — although they needed a shootout to do it, after giving up Valery Nichushkin’s tying goal with only five seconds left in the third.
9 (-2). Vityaz Moscow Oblast (18-17, 52 pts.): The Podolsk team came close to a famous result this week when they had mighty Metallurg Magnitogorsk on the ropes 4-2 with only 12 minutes to play (in Magnitogorsk, no less). It all ended in tears for Vityaz, though: three late goals by the Mozyakin line meant a 5-4 final score in Metallurg’s favour.
10 (+1). Spartak Moscow (15-19, 46 pts.): Spartak this week mourned the passing at age 88 of Mikhail Ivanov, who coached children (including a number who went on to play for the Soviet national team) at Spartak’s hockey school for more than 40 years beginning in 1964.
11 (+2). Medveščak Zagreb (15-21, 44 pts.): Per Quanthockey, Medveščak have the oldest roster in the KHL, and it’s not close. The average Medveščak player comes in at 29 years, seven months, which almost 15 months older than the average player at second-oldest Barys Astana.
12 (-). Slovan Bratislava (14-20, 42 pts.): Veteran scoring forward Jonathan Cheechoo (34 gp, 8-12-20) is without a point in five games, his longest such streak of the season. The sooner that little slump gets busted, the better for Slovan’s playoff hopes.
13 (-3). Severstal Cherepovets (12-22, 41 pts.): Details are still a bit sparse on this one, but Severstal have fired General Manager Dmitry Smirnov. We await word on potential replacements.
14 (-). Dinamo Riga (9-25, 29 pts.): Dinamo rolled out a series of anti-smoking activities during Saturday’s visit by Jokerit to the Arena Riga. “We hope to make hockey fans think a little bit about their health” said club technical director Armands Simsons.