Category Archives: Uncategorized

Quick Note

Regular blogging will resume here this weekend, with lots to talk about in both men’s and women’s hockey in Russia!  Until then, you may ponder the fact that a team in this, 2018-19, KHL season has begun by winning their first 16 games… and that that team is Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg (see photo above).

Jokerit Helsinki in 2018-19

2017-18 featured a blistering start for Jokerit, and although they faded down the stretch, the team from Finland’s capital finished up in the league’s top five for the third time in its four KHL seasons.  And though Jokerit failed to get past the second round of the playoffs, they did give eventual finalists CSKA Moscow a pretty good fight before succumbing.  That second-half stumble raised some eyebrows, but overall the results must be deemed satisfactory.  Oh, and Jokerit also introduced a jaw-dropping young forward to the hockey world along the way!  So what’s in store for this season, and can Jokerit make a real run for the Gagarin Cup?  Read on…

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Мы будем помнить.

Salavat Yulaev Ufa in 2018-19

Salavat Yulaev Ufa always seem to enter the season with a solidly-stocked roster full of skilled and entertaining players, set at least to contend to add a second Gagarin Cup to the one they picked up in 2010-11.  But something always seems to go wrong.  Last season, an astute-looking coaching hire in experienced Finn Erkka Westerlund did not work out as planned at all (an early bad sign was the falling-out between team captain Denis Kulyash and the coach, which led to Kulyash’s departure), among other things.  In the end, Salavat Yulaev won the Chernyshev Division, and got two rounds into the playoffs — but that was only thanks to a tremendous late run (and a weak division), and they nearly missed the post-season altogether.  Will the team from the capital of Bashkortostan break through in 2018-19, or is more disappointment in store?  Read on…

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To the Last Eight in the MHL

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Reaktor Nizhnekamsk’s Bulat Shafigullin (in blue) works against the Stalny Lisy Magnitogorsk defence during the first round of the MHL playoffs.  Shafigullin would be a key figure in a huge upset!  (Image Source)

A week or so ago we looked at the then-impending first round of the playoffs in the MHL — Russia’s top-tier men’s junior league.  Well, that round is now complete, as the series were all best-of-five, and we have the pairings for the last eight.  Read on, for a quick recap of the opening series with some discussion of key performers, and of course a look at those upcoming match-ups in the second round.

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Please Stand By

Due to some WiFi issues, the update of Wednesday’s Olympic hockey action will need to wait until tomorrow.  If the wires are not too crossed still, we will discuss the Russian men’s 6-1 quarterfinal victory over Norway, and the women’s 3-2 loss to Finland in the bronze medal game.  Apologies for the delay!

Update!  Home internet issues are now resolved, and we will be back with a post tomorrow, before the gold medal game of the men’s tournament between Russia and Germany(!).  Sunday will wrap up the Olympic tournaments, both of them, and next week will involve updates on the domestic women’s hockey activity during the break for the Games, and a look ahead to the KHL playoffs.

Olympic Update: February 15th, 2018

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Russian captain Olga Sosina is watched closely by Tanja Niskanen of Finland during their Group A game on Friday.  (Image Source)

The group stage is now finished for the Russian women’s national team at these 2018 Olympics, and they are likely glad to see the back of it.  The Russian side came into today’s game against Finland with a record of 0-2, forgivable since the opposition had been the two North American giants.  Of greater concern was the fact that the team had been shut out in both matches.  Well, the Russian players did finally get on the board against the Finns, but the final result must again go down as a disappointment.  Read on…

 

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Women’s Hockey Update: February 7th, 2018

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Forward Anna Shokhina lights a candle in the Transfiguration Cathedral in Khabarovsk, shortly before she and the rest of the Russian women’s national team departed for the Olympics in South Korea.  (Image Source)

The opening of the Olympic women’s hockey tournament is just a few days away now, and the Russian team itself has arrived at the athletes’ village and is settling into the Games routine.  Read on, therefore, for a quick update on their doings (with more to come later this week), plus some news from the domestic Russian women’s hockey scene!

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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!

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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