Author Archives: Patrick Conway

Women’s Hockey Update: September 18, 2017

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Dynamo St. Petersburg forward Yekaterina Smolina on the attack versus Tornado Moscow Oblast this past weekend.  (Image Source)

The 2017-18 Women’s Hockey league season got underway on Saturday, as champions Tornado Moscow Oblast hosted defending bronze-medalists Dynamo St. Petersburg in a pair of games in Dmitrov, and the results were… well, they were quite fascinating, actually. Read on, for a full recap of the weekend’s action, for some international hockey, and for looks at the 2017-18 possibilities of the four Women’s Hockey League teams that finished off the podium last season!

 

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CSKA Moscow in 2017-18

CSKA Moscow’s first season in some time without the services of Alexander Radulov actually went pretty well — up to a point.  CSKA gave up the fewest goals in the KHL, at just 110 in 60 games, and pipped SKA St. Petersburg to win a second straight regular season championship.  But the playoffs were a different story: Lokomotiv Yaroslavl pulled off a stunning upset by ousting CSKA in the second round, and the folks in the front office took notice.  Coach Dmitry Kvartalnov paid for the early exit with his job, to be replaced by Igor Nikitin, and the playing roster has seen some significant upheaval as well.  Read on…

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SKA St. Petersburg in 2017-18

After a dismal, by their standards, outing in 2015-16, mighty SKA St. Petersburg found stability and more under new coach Oleg Znarok in 2016-17.  SKA were simply breathtaking last season; they broke KHL records for regular season goals (249) and goal difference (+135), and though they somehow contrived to finish second in the regular season, it did not matter in the end.  The team from old Leningrad was beaten only twice in four playoff rounds, and took home their second Gagarin Cup in three years with consummate ease.  So what has the KHL’s richest team got in mind for an encore?  Read on…

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Metallurg Magnitogorsk in 2017-18

My goodness, the 2016-17 season of Mr. Sergei Valeryevich Mozyakin!  At 35 years old, Metallurg’s captain Mozyakin took a battleaxe to the KHL’s record books, breaking the single-season marks for goals and points, and — most impressively — becoming the all-time top goalscorer in the history of Soviet and Russian domestic hockey.  His stat line for the regular season read 48-37-85, in 60 games; it was wonderful to watch happen, most especially as Mozyakin plays a beautiful, cerebral, kind of hockey.  Oh, and Metallurg, for the third time in four years, made the Gagarin Cup Final, although this time they came away empty-handed against SKA St. Petersburg.

However, the 2017 off-season has not been a kind one to Metallurg — read on…

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Women’s Hockey Update: September 11th, 2017

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Agidel Ufa celebrate winning the 2017 Euro Women’s Hockey Challenge in August.  (Image Source)

By this time next week, we will have Women’s Hockey League regular season games to talk about!  And in preparation for that, this post will take a preview-ish sort of look at last season’s top three teams in the league: Tornado Moscow Oblast, Agidel Ufa, and Dynamo St. Petersburg.  We also have a little bit of international news, so read on!

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Dynamo Moscow in 2017-18

What an off-season it was for Dynamo Moscow, and not in a good way!  There is not nearly enough room here for a complete re-cap, but I refer you to this post and this one as well.  Long story short: due to upheaval at the club’s management level, Dynamo Moscow have actually folded and been replaced by a new “on paper” organization, although most people will not see much difference.  As part of the process, all of Dynamo’s players were declared free agents, and although many of them re-signed with the club, significant figures took the opportunity to depart.  And their championship-winning farm team in the VHL, Dynamo Balashikha, was disbanded (Dynamo now have a VHL affiliation agreement with HK Buran Voronezh).  So what now?  Read on…

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Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in 2017-18

On Friday, we looked at the edition of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl that arose from the tragedy of the 2011 plane crash, and now we turn our attentions to the 2017-18 version.  Lokomotiv did slip back a little bit last season, but only from second in the league to fifth — still very good in other words.  And then they pulled off the biggest upset of the playoffs, shocking regular-season champions CSKA Moscow in six games in the second round, before falling to eventual Gagarin Cup winners SKA St. Petersburg in the semifinals.  An excellent year, all-in-all — what have they got in store for this season?  Read on…

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Reborn: Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in the VHL, 2011-12

We will remember…

KHL arenas were dark on Thursday, as always on September 7th, in observance of the anniversary of the 2011 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl air disaster.  The crash of Yak-Service flight 9633, carrying the team to Minsk to face Dinamo in their opening game of the 2011-12 KHL season, killed all 26 players on board, all 11 members of Lokomotiv’s coaching and training staff, and seven out of eight members of the flight crew.

Players: Vitaly Anikeyenko, Mikhail Balandin, Alexander Galimov, Gennady Churilov, Pavol Demitra, Robert Dietrich, Marat Kalimulin, Alexander Kalyanin, Andrei Kiryuhin, Nikita Klyukin, Stefan Liv, Jan Marek, Sergei Ostapchuk, Karel Rachůnek, Ruslan Salei, Maxim Shuvalov, Kārlis Skrastiņš, Pavel Snurnytsin, Daniil Sobchenko, Ivan Tkachenko, Pavel Trakhanov, Yury Urychev, Josef Vašíček, Alexander Vasyunov, Alexander Vyukhin, Artem Yarchuk.

Coaches: Alexander Karpovtsev, Igor Korolyov, Nikolai Krivonosov, Brad McCrimmon.

Staff: Yury Bakhvalov, Alexander Belyaev, Evgeny Kunnov, Vyacheslav Kuznetsov, Vladimir Piskunov, Evgeny Sidorov. Andrei Zimin.

Airplane crew: Nadezhda Maksumova, Vladimir Matyushkin, Elena Sarmatova, Elena Shalina, Andrei Solomentsev, Igor Zhevelov, Sergei Zhuravlev.

The memory of the disaster remains a very painful one, for the hockey fans of Yaroslavl especially but also throughout the hockey world, as witness the large numbers of tributes and remembrances that appear every year at this time.  But there is another story to be told here, because Lokomotiv came back.  Although it would be a full year before the team, rebuilt basically from scratch, next appeared in a KHL game, the club’s junior side continued to play in the MHL, and midway through that 2011-12 season Lokomotiv iced a professional hockey side once again.  Read on, for the story Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in the VHL.

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Avangard Omsk Oblast in 2017-18

The 2016-17 campaign appeared to be highly successful one for Avangard Omsk Oblast, their best, in fact, in several years.  But topping the division, finishing second in the East, and visiting the second round of the playoffs did not save experienced coach Fyodor Kanareykin from being dismissed at season’s end.  Here Avangard caught a bit of a break, as another coach with a very solid resume became available when Sibir said “good-bye” to Andrei Skabelka.  The 46-year-old Belarusan has promptly snapped up by the Omsk side, and now takes over a team that has traditionally been one of the strongest in the land.  So what else did Avangard get up to this summer?  Read on…

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Women’s Hockey Update: September 4th, 2017

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Statue in Astana, Kazakhstan, of Tomiris (or Tomyris), the sixth-century B.C. queen of the Massagetae, who dwelt in what is now Central Asia.  According to legend, Queen Tomiris defeated and killed the Persian emperor Cyrus the Great in battle.  And this week’s update features some interesting news about the women’s hockey team that now bears her name!  (Image Source)

We are just 12 days away from the opening of the 2017-18 Women’s Hockey League season; the full schedule was released a couple of weeks ago.  The new campaign opens on September 16th, when defending champions Tornado Moscow Oblast host Dynamo St. Petersburg; the latter team finished third in 2016-17, and very definitely has some title aspirations this time around.

The seven teams in the league will play 24 regular-season games this time, down — due primarily to the Olympics — from the 36 of last season.  However, 2017-18 will also see the first-ever playoffs in the Women’s Hockey League!  The top four teams will make the post-season and contest the championship, with that all starting in early April of 2018.

Read on, for some other news and notes from the last month or so in Russian women’s hockey!

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