Author Archives: Patrick Conway

Amur Khabarovsk in 2018-19

It looked like yet another season on the outside for Amur Khabarovsk in 2017-18, when they collected just 12 of their first 42 possible points.  But the recovery was swift and total; by season’s end, Amur had not only made the post-season for the first time since 2011-12, they had uncovered an exciting young rising star of Russian hockey.  2017-18 also brought Amur their first-ever win in a KHL playoff game; they inflicted eventual champions Ak Bars Kazan’s only defeat prior to the Gagarin Cup Final.  Amur’s reward?  Well, the rising star left, along with their talismanic goalie and their very capable Head Coach.  Read on…

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Sibir Novosibirsk Oblast in 2018-19

Sibir were a very good team in the KHL’s East Conference just a few seasons ago, but the last couple of years have been hard ones on the banks of the Ob River.  In 2016-17, a bad run of injuries resulted in Sibir missing the playoffs, painfully, via the tie-breaker.  Summer of 2017 was witness to a money crisis at the club, with the ensuing exits of most of Sibir’s best players.  Nonetheless, following the astute hiring of Vladimir Yurzinov, Jr., as coach, the 2017-18 edition of the team launched a furious run towards the playoffs… and came up short again, by a single point on the last day of the regular season.  Heart-breaking stuff for the likeable little club from central Siberia — can they make it all right again in 2018-19?  Read on.

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HK Sochi in 2018-19

HK Sochi are a pesky bunch.  This is, after all, a team best-known for falling into occasional severe financial dire straits, as a result seldom ices a genuine star player at any position, and struggles badly to fill its home rink with spectators.  And yet, the Black Sea club has participated in the playoffs in three of the four seasons since its founding in 2014-15, and in 2015-16 they finished fourth overall in the league.  The post-season was achieved again in 2017-18, and for the first time HK Sochi won a game once there.  So what is in store this time around?  Read on…

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Spartak Moscow in 2018-19

Much like Severstal Cherepovets, whom we looked at last time, the famous red-and-whites of Spartak Moscow made a long-awaited return to the post-season in the 2017-18, earning a first playoff berth since 2010-11.  Making the playoffs again will be the first order of business in 2018-19, although Spartak will also be hoping, once there, to avoid the fate that befell them in the first round last season: swept in four straight by arch-rivals CSKA while being out-scored 11-1 for the series and out-shot by 17 per game.  Read on…

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Severstal Cherepovets in 2018-19

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Happy Severstal players celebrate making the playoffs on the last day of the 2017-18 season.  (Image Source)

The small northern city of Cherepovets was the setting for a real hockey Cinderella story in 2017-18, as local team Severstal made the playoffs for the first time five seasons, and in doing so likely saved at least their short-term future as a KHL club.  It really was a tremendous, and unexpected, achievement — and it meant that the league, which had been looking to contract by three teams this summer, will be smaller by only two in 2018-19.  On the other hand, it does mean that the KHL brass are still looking to exclude one club, and Severstal may well be heading into another season where they need to make the playoffs to survive in the top league.  Can they pull off another small miracle?  Read on…

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Avangard on the Move, Unwillingly

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The Balashikha Arena, temporary 2018-19 home of Avangard Omsk Oblast. (Image Source)

KHL hockey is returning to the city of Balashikha, just outside of Moscow, for the first time since HK MVD Moscow Oblast merged with Dynamo Moscow in 2010!  But it is not returning, sadly, for the reasons that anyone wanted.  Avangard Omsk Oblast today announced that they will at least begin the 2018-19 season at the 6000-seat Balashikha Arena, due to severe structural problems with their home arena in Omsk.  Read on for more details…

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Dynamo Moscow in 2018-19

Dynamo Moscow, first ever “puck hockey” champions of the USSR back in 1946-47, got their name in the history books again in 2017-18 — unfortunately, they did so by missing the playoffs.  That made Dynamo, champions most recently in 2012 and 2013, the first team to have both won the Gagarin Cup and missed the post-season in the KHL era.  Injuries, and a number of key departures during last summer’s financial turmoil at the club, played a distinct role in the season’s disappointment, which was only heightened by the fact that Dynamo missed the playoffs by just three points and on the last day of the regular season.  However, that is all in the past, and brighter days would seem to be ahead for the famous old blue-and-whites!  Read on…

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Barys Astana in 2018-19

The end of the 2017-18 season will have left a very bitter taste in the mouths of many Barys Astana fans.  The team from the capital of Kazakhstan was on top of the world — or at least on top of the KHL’s East Conference — at about the halfway point, while forward Linden Vey looked like he could win the scoring race and his line-mate Nigel Dawes was making a serious run at some league goal-scoring records.  But it all ended in tears.  Dawes got hurt, and Barys simply stopped winning hockey games amidst ominous talk of a toxic relationship between the players and the front office.  When all was said and done, Vey and a number of other key players were released to cut costs, Dawes’ assault on the record-books came to naught, and Barys, astonishingly, missed the playoffs by 14 points.  It was a sad finale to a season that had begun so well, not to mention one that featured Astana hosting the KHL’s all-star festivities for the first time.  So what hope for 2018-19?  Read on…

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Dinamo Minsk in 2018-19

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Dinamo Minsk players await the start of a 2017-18 game against Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg. (Image Source)

The team from the Belarusan capital had a rough start to 2017-18 — six straight losses and just one point gained — and never thereafter, bar a couple of brief spurts, looked like mustering a serious challenge for the post-season.  It wasn’t a dreadful performance (after those opening six games, anyway), just rather… forgettable.  But on the bright side, the team has some very interesting new arrivals this summer, particularly among the forwards.  Read on!

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Women’s Hockey Update: July 30th, 2018 (Updated)

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SKIF Nizhny Novgorod U18 goalie Varvara Bunkova with Georgy Kuznetsov of Dynamo Moscow (l.) and Andrei Tikhomirov of Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod after Saturday’s KHL pre-season game between Dynamo and Torpedo.  All of the proceeds from the game went to help with Bunkova’s physiotherapy following very complicated knee surgery.  (Image Source)

More player moves in the Women’s Hockey League since the last update, including a couple more big signings by SKIF Nizhny Novgorod!  Those are discussed below, as well as some new players in camp with defending champions Agidel Ufa, a benefit game for an injured young player, and some other matters as well.  Read on…

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