A Walk Through the KHL: Dec. 5th, 2016
Here we are with another week’s worth of news tidbits from around the KHL, including what became of the water bottle in the now-famous clip we discussed last week! So read on for that story, a (possibly) returning KHL star, and some other bits and pieces like that…
Before we jump into the team-by-team news, the FHR announced today the preliminary roster for the upcoming Channel One Cup, the Russian-hosted second leg of the Euro Hockey Tour. For the first stage of the EHT, the Karjala Cup in Finland last month, Russia sent a young, “experimental” team, with a number of players there just to let coaches get a look at them. Not for the home tournament, however; back into the national team lineup come names like Ilya Kovalchuk, Pavel Datsyuk, Sergei Mozyakin, and others of that ilk. The goaltending has a youthful look to it, with Admiral Vladivostok’s Igor Bobkov the oldest of the netminders at 25 (SKA St. Petersburg’s Igor Shestyorkin and CSKA Moscow’s Ilya Sorokin are the other two), all three goalies are there clearly on merit. The tournament runs from the December 15th to 18th, and you can see the full preliminary Russian roster here.
The Russian roster for the World Juniors later in December is also taking shape. We will have more on that here once the final lineup is announced.
On to the KHL:
1 (-). SKA St. Petersburg (32-6, 96 pts.): No surprise here: 12 players from the club will join SKA head coach Oleg Znarok on Team Russia at the Channel One Cup. They are: goalie Igor Shestyorkin, d-men Yegor Yakovlev, Anton Belov, and Maxim Chudinov, and forwards Ilya Kovalchuk, Pavel Datsyuk, Sergei Plotnikov, Nikita Gusev, Vadim Shipachyov, Yevgeny Dadonov, Alexander Barabanov and Sergei Shirokov.
2 (-). CSKA Moscow (28-12, 88 pts.): Reports are that forward Geoff Platt, who signed for Sweden’s Växjö Lakers in the off-season, is working on a return to CSKA. A good move for the Moscow side if it happens: Platt scored 27 goals for CSKA in 67 games last season.
3 (-). Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (23-15, 69 pts.): Torpedo have released veteran goalie Ivan Kasutin (10 gp, 3.51 GAA, .865 sv%) and signed the similarly long-serving Mikhail Biryukov (16 gp, 3.83 GAA, .908 sv%) from Metallurg Novokuznetsk to replace him.
4 (-). Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (22-15, 67 pts.): A broken leg will keep promising 20-year-old forward Yegor Korshkov (35 gp, 6-12-18) out of action until the end of January. Lokomotiv have, however, signed Czech d-man Jakub Nakládal, who was cut loose by the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes in November.
5 (+3). Dynamo Moscow (22-16, 62 pts.): Who’s hot? Goalie Alexander Yeryomenko, for one. The 36-year-old veteran has given only three goals in his last four games, all victories for Dynamo, and has a .975 sv% over that span.
6 (-). Jokerit Helsinki (19-18, 60 pts.): Jokerit are walking the line lately; their last six games have been settled by a single goal, and four of those have required extra time. The Finnish club, however, is 5-1 over that stretch.
7 (-2). Dinamo Minsk (20-17, 58 pts.): Dinamo desperately need improvement in goal; they remain the only club in the KHL with a team save percentage below .900 (it’s .895).
8 (+1). Vityaz Moscow Oblast (20-18, 58 pts.): Miro Aaltonen, the 23-year-old Finnish forward whom Vityaz acquired this off-season, is turning out to be one of the best signings of the summer. With a line of 37 gp, 14-13-27, he leads Vityaz in goals and is second on the club in points.
9 (-2). HK Sochi (20-18, 57 pts.): Ukrainian-born forward Pavel Padakin, whose signing by HK Sochi this summer attracted some controversy, is finding his way the KHL albeit a bit slowly. Playing 12:03 per game, he has scored 4-4-8 in 31 games, which is actually not bad for a 22-year-old rookie.
10 (-). Spartak Moscow (15-21, 46 pts.): Spartak have unveiled the retro-style uniforms they will wear for the club’s 70th anniversary celebration on December 22nd. Pictures in the linked article; the uniforms are based upon those worn by the team in the late 1940s, as in the photo above.
11 (-). Medveščak Zagreb (15-23, 44 pts.): Rumour has it that Swiss club HC Fribourg-Gottéron is interested in Medveščak’s top scorer, Colby Genoway (37 gp, 6-14-20).
13 (-). Severstal Cherepovets (12-25, 41 pts.): A month ago, it appeared that Severstal would make a serious charge at a playoff spot. But a ten-game losing skid, and just two points from a possible 30, have put an end to those thoughts, at least for now.
14 (-). Dinamo Riga (10-27, 31 pts.): Due to an arena scheduling conflict, Dinamo “hosted” the first-ever KHL game in Estonia last week, in front of 5677 fans at the Tondiraba Arena in Tallinn. They made it memorable, too; Miks Indrašis scored twice and Jānis Kalniņš made 47 saves to secure a 4-3 shootout win over defending champs Metallurg Magnitogorsk.
1 (-). Metallurg Magnitogorsk (26-12, 81 pts.): The ever-young Sergei Mozyakin’s point streak now stands at 16 games; he has scored 15-15-30 since last being held off the scoresheet on October 19th.
2 (-). Avangard Omsk Oblast (25-13, 74 pts.): Alexander Perezhogin passed Maxim Sushinsky on Sunday to become the top goal-scorer in Avangard’s history. Perezhogin’s 172 goals for the club have come in 539 games; he scored his first for Avangard back in 2001-02.
3 (-). Ak Bars Kazan (28-12, 79 pts.): Ak Bars have signed forward Denis Khlystov until the end of the season. The 27-year-old started 2016-17 with Ugra, for whom he scored 5-2-7 in 31 games.
4 (-). Salavat Yulaev Ufa (22-17, 68 pts.): The water bottle that starred in the now-infamous clip of goalie Andrei Gavrilov was sold at a charity auction last week to fund construction of a playground for disabled children. I could not discover how much the bottle fetched, but the entire auction brought in 555,000 rubles (about $11500 CAD).
5 (-). Traktor Chelyabinsk (20-18, 63 pts.): Traktor’s junior side, Belye Medvedi Chelyabinsk, are currently atop the MHL standings with a record of 27-9 (78 pts.).
6 (-). Admiral Vladivostok (17-21, 55 pts.): Bobkov’s selection to the national team, his first such call-up, is certainly deserved; through 22 games, he has the KHL’s second-best save percentage at .947.
7 (-). Kunlun Red Star Beijing (18-19, 54 pts.): Finnish defenceman Tuukka Mäntylä will get an unwanted holiday as a result of a savage hit to the head of Severstal’s Alexander Avtsin on Saturday. The hit somehow went unpunished by the referee, but the KHL’s disciplinary folks have now suspended Mäntylä for three games and fined him.
8 (+2). Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk (19-18, 52 pts.): Andrei Nazarov is a notorious figure in KHL circles, but I think we need to give him some credit; Neftekhimik are 8-4 since he took over in late October, and have reinserted themselves right back into the playoff race.
9 (-1). Sibir Novosibirsk Oblast (17-22, 51 pts.): The club has announced that the injury to Sergei Shumakov (36 gp, 15-18-33), mentioned here last time, will keep him out of action for two to three weeks.
10 (-1). Barys Astana (16-20, 47 pts.): Former NHL forward Martin St. Pierre (30, 10-13-23) will reportedly become a naturalized Kazakh citizen, in order to play for the country’s national team.
11 (-). Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg (16-23, 46 pts.): A miserable season continues for Anatoly Golyshev (31 gp, 4-6-10), who is now out indefinitely with a hand injury.
12 (-). Lada Tolyatti (15-23, 45 pts.): Some hopeful signs at Lada in the past week; the team snapped a seven-game losing skid and have now taken at least a point from three straight games. The playoff line is not so very far away…
13 (-). Amur Khabarovsk (14-25, 44 pts.): Amur have traded 21-year-old defenceman Artyom Zub (34 gp, 2-7-9), who recently made his Russian national team debut, to SKA for financial compensation.
14 (-). Ugra Khanty-Mansiysk (15-24, 42 pts.): Assistant coach Anatoly Chistyakov, who had been with Ugra for a little over a year, has left the club by mutual consent of the parties.
15 (-). Metallurg Novokuznetsk (10-29, 29 pts.): A remarkable four wins in a row for the KHL’s bottom-dwellers! Much credit to 22-year-old goalie Andrei Kareyev, who has stopped 155 of 164 shots over that span (a .945 sv%).
That’s it for this edition — thank you for reading!