Author Archives: Patrick Conway

The Women’s Hockey League in 2018-19

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Agidel Ufa’s Polina Luchnikova (#87) camps out in front of Tornado Moscow Oblast goalie Nadezhda Alexandrova and Galina Skiba during Sunday’s opening game of the 2018-19 Women’s Hockey League season.  Luchnikova, making her Agidel debut, had a huge game, scoring twice to lead her team to a 3-2 victory.  (Image Source)

The Russian Women’s Hockey League began it’s 2018-19 season on Sunday, as defending champions Agidel Ufa hosted their arch-rivals, and last year’s beaten finalists, Tornado Moscow Oblast.  This season will be the fourth in the Women’s Hockey League is under the aegis of the KHL, and it will feature some changes from last season.  Most notably, with the Olympics out of the way, the 2018-19 regular season will expand from 24 games per team to 36.  It will be followed once again by a two-round playoff featuring the top four regular-season squads.  The lineup of teams?  That is unchanged from the seven who took part in 2017-18.  So read on, for a look at each of those clubs, their major off-season moves, and their prospects for the coming season.

 

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Ak Bars Kazan in 2018-19

Ak Bars Kazan, the team from the capital Tatarstan, became the KHL’s first three-time Gagarin Cup champions last season, and it was generally considered something of an upset; most people, myself included, expected the trophy to go to CSKA Moscow or SKA St. Petersburg.  But we must take our hats off to Ak Bars, who were 2017-18 champions entirely on merit.  They won the East Conference despite a slew of injuries throughout the season, and lost just three games in the four playoff rounds.  And they may just be primed for an encore — in an early-season crisis in goal can be overcome.  Read on…

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Мы будем помнить.

Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in 2018-19

Lokomotiv’s 2017-18 campaign was very much, in its final result, what we have come to expect from the well-run, reliable, Yaroslavl team.  A top-four place in the conference, a playoff round won — nothing wrong with that at all for a club that, while it (usually) falls short of giants like SKA and CSKA, can nonetheless claim an annual spot among the West’s better teams.  But change is in the wind, and youth will most definitely be served on the Lokomotiv team that takes the ice in 2018-19.  Read on…

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Silk Roads

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Where we left off in the VHL: Dynamo St. Petersburg players celebrate winning the Petrov Cup earlier this spring.  (Image Source)

The MHL, Russia’s top junior league, began 2018-19 play yesterday, and today it is the turn of the VHL, the country’s second-highest men’s professional circuit.  The VHL has undergone some re-branding, and its regular-season championship will now be known as the Silk Road Cup.  The playoff championship trophy remains the Petrov Cup, and it is currently in the possession of Dynamo St. Petersburg, who opened the season today with a rematch of the 2017-18 Final against their city rivals SKA-Neva.   Read on, for a quick primer.

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Junior Hockey Notes

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Krasnaya Armiya Moscow’s #99 Nikita O. Popugayev breaks through the MHK Dynamo Moscow defence (#95 Vladislav Kazamanov and #89 Dmitry Grishchenko) during Tuesday’s opening game of the 2018-19 MHL regular season.  (Image Source)

The 10th season of the MHL — the “Youth Hockey League, Russia’s highest men’s junior circuit — got underway today with Krasnaya Armiya Moscow defeating city rivals Dynamo 5-3.  Kranaya Armiya’s 19-year-old Yegor Filin, who tied for sixth in MHL points last season, was the big star of the day, scoring a goal and adding two assists in the victory.  Read on, for a few notes and thoughts on the 2018-19 MHL season!

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Traktor Chelyabinsk in 2018-19

It was an amazing story that Traktor wrote in 2017-18; they were the KHL’s best team down the stretch, nearly unbeatable for a time, and finished up in the Conference Final.  And along the post-season way they introduced us to one of the most exciting young talents in Russian hockey today.  But the coach (Anvar Gatiyatulin) and the goalie (Pavel Francouz) most responsible for last season’s successes are gone now — so what does 2018-19 hold in store?  Read on…

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Off to the Races

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How it all finished up last time…  (Image Source)

By this time tomorrow, the first game of the 2018-19 Kontinental Hockey League season will be in the books: 2017-18 regular-season champions SKA St. Petersburg travel to the capital of Tatarstan to take on Gagarin Cup holders Ak Bars Kazan at 5:00 pm local time on Saturday.  And with that, the 11th season of the KHL will be underway.  Read on, for a few brief thoughts.

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Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg in 2018-19

To appreciate the 2018-19 edition of Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg properly, you must understand just how bad this team used to be.  In the three seasons from 2010 to 2013, they played 160 KHL games, and won 26 of them in regulation (plus another 18 in OT or the shootout).  The nadir was 2012-13, when Avtomobilist, then teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, scrounged players from here, there, and everywhere and went 8-44 on the season.  Well, the club from the eastern slopes of the Ural Mountains is a long, long, loooooooong, way from those days now… read on!

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Women’s Hockey Update: August 28th, 2018

Agidel Ufa players and coaches receive their gold medals as 2017-18 Champions of Russia in a ceremony on Tuesday.

We have hockey games to talk about! Both Russian women’s national teams (Senior and Under-18) played their first tournaments of 2018-19 late last week, and, well, fortunes were mixed.  Read on, for full recaps of those tournaments, major transfer news from the Women’s Hockey League, a sneak preview of the teams that will take part in the amateur national championship, and some other notes!

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