Category Archives: KHL

Salavat Yulaev Ufa in 2019-20

Ufa-Arena, home of Salavat Yulaev, on a winter’s evening. (Image Source)

Salavat Yulaev Ufa, the KHL’s representatives in the Republic of Bashkortostan, took a rather wandering path through 2018-19, but finished up in a good place. They started very well, came back to the pack to finish sixth in the East Conference, then got red-hot as the post-season commenced. By the time all was said and done, Salavat Yulaev had defeated Sergei Mozyakin and Metallurg Magnitogorsk, then had knocked off Conference top seed Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg, and they only fell to Avangard Omsk after six very hard-fought games in the Conference Final. Read on…

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HK Sochi in 2019-20

The Bolshoi Ice Dome, Sochi. (Image Source)

HK Sochi’s 2018-19 season can best be described, I think, as satisfactory. They’ve never been among the league’s big-budget outfits, but for the fourth time in five seasons the Black Sea outfit made the playoffs, and though the second round remains terra incognita, HK Sochi got to six games in the first round for first time ever. Nothing special, but a satisfactory-enough performance. Will 2019-20 see them take a step forward, or a backwards tumble? Read on…

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Spartak Moscow in 2019-20

Spartak Moscow’s current residence at the CSKA Arena (formerly the VTB Ice Palace), while they wait for construction of a new home in their traditional Sokolniki Park setting. (Image Source)

Since Spartak returned from the financial abyss in 2015, having missed the entire previous season, the famous red-and-whites have shown steady progress year-over-year. Two missed playoffs were followed by two post-season appearances, with the second of those more impressive than the first. Spartak were swept, brutally, by CSKA Moscow in the first round in 2018, but this spring they put a real scare into SKA St. Petersburg before succumbing in six games. And now, in as clear a signal as you would like that Spartak want to get up and play with the big clubs, they have hired Oleg Znarok as head coach. It’s going to be a fascinating season for the former Soviet champions — read on…

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Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod Oblast in 2019-20

Torpedo’s home at the Trade Union Sports Palace, also known as the KRK Nagorny. A new rink for Nizhny Novogorod is in the planning stages. (Image Source)

In the summer of 2018, Torpedo left behind both the West Conference and the coaching era of Pēteris Skudra, but the end result of the season was what we have come to expect from the famous old club: a playoff appearance, albeit a brief one. However, it was a close thing in the end, as a hideous second-half slide nearly dropped the Nizhny Novgorod side out of the playoff picture amid some dismal rumblings on the financial front (they did, to their credit, give second-seeded Barys a heck of a fight in the first post-season round). Torpedo, with now-sophomore head coach David Nemirovsky again behind the bench, find themselves back in the West this season, and the question is whether they can make it seven playoff appearances in a row. Read on…

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Vityaz Moscow Oblast in 2019-20

Vityaz Ice Palace, Podolsk. (Image Source)

You may know the Vityaz saga by now; once the laughing-stock of the KHL, the little club from the Moscow-hinterland city of Podolsk emerged from an evil past to become a respectable competitor in the lower reaches of the West Conference. 2018-19 saw a continuation of that pleasant process, as Vityaz made the KHL playoffs for the second time ever, and the second time in three years. However, both their playoff appearances have ended in first-round maulings by the eventual champions, and now Vityaz have ambitions for better than that. Read on…

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Dinamo Riga in 2019-20

Dinamo’s Arena Riga home. (Image Source)

While it ended in a fifth consecutive missed playoffs, the 2018-19 season must go down as a qualified success for Dinamo Riga; expectations were exceeded without any doubt. Lifted by the play of a young goalie, the scoring of an import defenceman, and a career season from a KHL-veteran forward, the league’s Latvian entry climbed seven places up the overall standings, and missed the playoffs in the West Conference by only a single point. However… all three of those key players will be elsewhere in 2019-20 — have Dinamo found adequate replacements? Read on…

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Traktor Chelyabinsk in 2019-20

The Valeri Belousov Traktor Ice Arena, Chelyabinsk. (Image Source)

Driven by the netminding of Pavel Francouz and the scoring of teenage sensations Vitali Kravtsov, Traktor Chelyabinsk made the East Conference Final in 2017-18, but 2018-19 proved a return to more humble farings. With solid netminding but a pop-fun offence, Traktor did nose into the playoffs, but were quickly swept away by Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg. Francouz had already left in summer of 2018, and now Kravtsov is gone as well. Have Traktor patched the roster holes and fixed the forward lines? Read on…

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Sibir Novosibirsk Oblast in 2019-20

LDS Sibir, Novosibirsk. (Image Source)

It has been a painful few seasons for the Sibir Novosibirsk faithful; the likeable team from central Siberia has missed the playoffs by one spot in each of the last three seasons… and by a total combined five points. All that while financial worries have swirled around the club. And last season was particularly painful, as Sibir opened with a run of 12 straight regulation losses. Though the ship was righted, and a strong finish to the season ensued, it was too late, and the Novosibirsk club missed out by four points. Can they finally get back to the post-season in 2019-20? Read on.

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Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk in 2019-20

LD Neftekhim Arena on a snowy night. (Image Source)

It was just two years ago that Neftekhimik, the little team from Tatarstan forever overshadowed by regional power Ak Bars Kazan, took a serious run at top spot in the East, but last season, after a very good start, little went right for them. The coach (Andrei Nazarov) was gone by Christmas, and a terrible stretch through the middle part of the season put paid to any thoughts of the post-season. To make matters worse, the team’s top scorers have all departed this off-season. Any hope for Neftekhimik in this coming campaign? Well, yes there is, if they can just find themselves a scorer. Read on…

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2019-20 KHL Team Previews Updates (Pinned Post)

Trying something here to deal with the phenomenon, very frequent, of KHL teams making player moves after I’ve written their season previews. Below the jump, you’ll find a list of such transactions, with a very few words about each. Read on!

Last update: August 14th (Dinamo Minsk, Sibir).

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