Category Archives: Uncategorized

Scheduling Note

The usual Monday women’s hockey update will be along on Tuesday or Wednesday this week, as I’m waiting on the resolution of a couple of newsworthy items.  In the meantime, do check out the interview with Agidel Ufa and Russian national team forward Olga Sosina!

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Quotes and Views

So where do we stand today, after Tuesday’s IOC announcement that Russian athletes can compete at the 2018 Winter Olympics only under the neutral flag?  On Wednesday, Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin rejected the idea of a Russian boycott of the Games, although a final decision will be made by the athletes on December 12th.  In the meantime, we still await comment from the IIHF on the matter (beyond the quote included below), and we also do not yet have any official statement from the Russian Hockey Federation.  Nor do we know for sure what the KHL’s next move will be.

However, a number of people associated with Russian hockey have spoken up, and I have selected a few of the more representative and interesting quotes (I will probably add more as they come along).  Read on (and tomorrow, barring any thunderous news, we go back to talking about actual hockey)…

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Verdict (Updated)

The International Olympic Committee handed down its decision this afternoon on Russia’s participation in the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, following allegations of doping at the 2014 Games.  The verdict, briefly: Russian athletes may participate, but only under a neutral flag and anthem (the will be officially known as “Olympic Athletes from Russia”).

So what now?  And particularly, “what now” for the hockey side of things, which is after all the focus of this blog.  Well, we have far more questions than answers at the moment, all of them variations on the theme of “what happens now?” and here are a few of them (answers will be provided as I get them):

Will Russia participate in the Games at all?  That we may find out tomorrow. (h/t to Tomáš Vorčák  There will be considerable pressure to boycott the games entirely, so we will see which way things go.  If we don’t have get a definitive word tomorrow, then December 12th (next Tuesday) appears to be the day Russian Olympic Committee head Alexander Zhukov also mentioned the possibility that the Russian team could have its “neutral” status removed by the end of the Pyeongchang competition, and could close the Games under its own flag (see preceding link), which could serve as an inducement to attend — once again, we will see.

Update: Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday:

Without any doubt, we will not declare any blockade, we will not prevent our Olympians from taking part.”

Will the KHL release its players for the Games?  That will apparently be decided at a KHL Board of Directors meeting next week (h/t to Tomáš Vorčák).  If Russia does decide to take part in the Olympics under the neutral flag, there should, and I say “should,” be no problem here.  If, however, Russia decides on a boycott, things get more complicated.  With NHL players sitting these Games out, it is not just the Russian team that will be looking to the KHL for its top players.  Were the league to refuse to release its foreign players to their respective national teams (and the Russian State Duma recently proposed a law allowing them to do just that), it could cause some problems with the International Ice Hockey Federation.  Which brings us to…

How will the IIHF respond to today’s decision?  Almost alone among the individual international sports federations, the IIHF has been staunch and vociferous (and correct, in my opinion) in its opposition to any collective punishment, and in its support for Russian athletes’ right to attend the Games and to do so under their own flag (a number of national  hockey federations, have voiced similar support).  That battle has been only half won, after today’s IOC decision, and it will be very interesting to see what the IIHF has to say.  Update: it looks like we get an answer in the day or two:

Other questions as they occur to me, and answers as I get them

Present and Accounted For

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Hockey night at SKA St. Petersburg.  (Image Source)

As the KHL is on its annual November break for international play, and the league’s 2017-18 season is only just past its halfway point for most teams, this seems a useful juncture at which to take a peek at some attendance figures for the current campaign.  This is especially so this season, with the league’s new strategic plan underway and contraction looming for three clubs next spring; attendance is most certainly one of the criteria the KHL will be looking at when it comes time to determine the unlucky trio.  Read on, then…

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Where’d We Go?

On a bit of an unanticipated blog hiatus here, due to some computer issues, so unfortunately there will be no women’s hockey update this week.  However, God willing and the creek don’t rise, it should all be sorted out quite soon, and normal service can resume!

Back Amongst the Coaches

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Lokomotiv Yaroslavl Head Coach Alexei Kudashov (l.) shakes hands with his CSKA Moscow counterpart Dmitry Kvartalnov after Lokomotiv eliminated CSKA from last season’s playoffs. (Image Source)

At about this time last week, we took a look at the KHL’s first two coaching changes of 2017-18, and speculated mildly about where the third might occur.  The answer to that question has now arrived, and — spoiler alert — it involves none of the teams which I mentioned in that speculation!  Read on, for that story, and some other coaching news from the past day or so.

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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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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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Questions, Questions

Where we left off…

It’s here!  And by “it,” I of course mean the 2017-18 KHL season, the league’s tenth campaign, which begins on Monday when defending regular season champions CSKA Moscow visit the incumbent Gagarin Cup winners SKA St. Petersburg.  Read on, for a quick introduction (in question and answer format!) to the new season, and a handful of storylines to follow.

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Previewing More Previews

Apologies for the silence this week — family visiting and a bit of a brain break took priority.  However, we resume with the previews tomorrow (and yes, they will extend a little bit into the start of the season, but no matter).  Also other interesting things to come.