The KHL Playoff Races

Sibir Novosibirsk (in blue) and Traktor Chelyabinsk are in a tight race for one of the last playoff spots in the KHL’s East Conference. (Image Source)

It was a wild, wild, finish to the 2017-18 KHL regular season, as six playoff spots remained up for grabs with just a couple of games to go for each team (I wrote about it here). Compared to that, 2018-19 seems sedate indeed; teams have four to six games left each, and there are only four playoff places (two in each Conference) unsecured. However, that does not mean that things are boring, not at all! There are a couple of good races still to be decided, so read on, as we set the stage for the end of the 2018-19 regular season.

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Women’s Hockey Update: February 6th, 2019

Agidel Ufa (in white) and Dynamo St. Petersburg have both booked their tickets to the Women’s Hockey League’s post-season. But what of the rest of the league? (Image Source)

The 2018-19 Russian Women’s Hockey league regular season is heading into its final game, to be played in the middle and later parts of this month. And while a couple of teams have clinched their spots in the final four, there are still some places up for grabs. Read on, as we run down the league’s playoff races — and there’s some international news and an update from the amateur game as well!

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VHL Storylines

SKA-Neva St. Petersburg, your current VHL standings leaders, prepare for a December game against league newcomers HK Tambov. Left to right: Kirill Petkov, Daniil Ogirchuk, Vladislav Kurbatov, Ivan Volodin, Alexei Kruchinin, and Artyom Zemchyonok. (Image Source)

One level below the KHL lies the VHL (the Vysshaya Khokkeinaya Liga, usually translated as “Supreme Hockey League”), which includes the top professional farm teams of the KHL clubs; this is the Russian equivalent, more-or-less, of the North American AHL. And how has the VHL’s 2018-19 season been rolling along? Well, read on, for some of the stories that the league has generated this season, and for some players whose names may ring a bell with North American fans (and please note that all stats and standings notes are up to date through February 2nd).

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End of the Tunnel

Joy for the SK Sverdlovsk Oblast players after Sunday’s result (Photo by Darya Sukhorukova, Source)

They did it! Since this blog began, we have been mentioning the long losing streak of SK Sverdlovsk Oblast in the Women’s Hockey League — a drought that stretched back to the early days of the 2013-14 season, when the team played as Spartak-Merkury Yekaterinburg. Well, the streak is no longer; SKSO downed SKIF Nizhny Novgorod 2-1 on Sunday, and for added difficulty they did it on the road. Read on for more!

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Into the Home Stretch

Dynamo Moscow inaugurated their new 11,000-seat VTB Arena in Petrovsky Park in early January, but that wasn’t the only reason for celebration for the famous old club. (Image Source)

The KHL’s All-Star Week festivities are over and done with for 2018-19, and as usual a good time was had by all. Whether it was Dinamo Riga defenceman Mathew Maione showing off his musical chops, Agidel Ufa forward Nicol Čupková dancing with fellow-Slovakian Július Hudáček of Spartak Moscow, or Ak Bars Kazan coach (and former Soviet national team blueliner) Zinetula Bilyaletdinov doffing his suit jacket to try a penalty shot, both the skills competition and the mini-tournament itself produced some fun moments. But now we get back to business; each KHL team has played at least 47 games, so the third quarter of the league’s 2018-19 season is completely in the books. Read on, as we take a look at what happened — who impressed and who disappointed — in that third quarter, as the campaign heads towards the playoffs.

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Recapping the U18 Women’s Worlds

Russian goalie Darya Gredzen, a major story at this year’s U18 Women’s Worlds, turns away Canada’s Maggie MacEachern during the tournament semifinal. (Image Source)

We’re back, and there is much to catch up on! Let us start with the U18 Women’s World Championship, which wrapped up in Obihiro, Japan, this past weekend. As the 2018 tournament had done, this one saw Team Russia play some excellent hockey at times, and produce some encouraging results, but come away empty-handed at the end. Read on, for a quick recap of Russia’s tournament, and some thoughts.

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Blog Note

I know I owe you some blog posts on various topics. However, lack of time, and an upcoming bit of travel have been interfering with things, so we’re on a bit of hiatus at the moment. I’ll return middle of next week, and there will be posts, I promise!

Team Russia at the 2019 U18 Women’s Worlds

(Image Source)

It was a year ago, almost exactly, that the Russian women’s U18 team recorded the most famous victory in the program’s history, a 3-2 win over Canada in the opening game of the first ever Russian-hosted women’s world championship. That tournament would end in disappointment and a fourth-place finish, but it was a sure sign of progress nonetheless. So what can the team manage for an encore, when the 2019 U18 Women’s Worlds opens tomorrow in Obihiro, Japan? Well, read on for a look at the roster, and some thoughts.

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So Far, So Good

Team Russia prepares to face Czechia in their second World Juniors game. (Image Source)

Happy New Year to all! The 2019 World Juniors tournament, taking place in British Columbia this time, is through its round-robin stage and the knockout games get rolling this evening. How has it gone for Team Russia? Well, the post title contains a clue as to the answer to that question; read on, as we take a look at their four first-round games, and think some overall thoughts about their tournament to this point.

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Team Russia at the 2019 World Juniors (Updated)

Coach Valery Bragin goes over some tactics with his young charges prior to Team Russia’s first game on Thursday. (Image Source)

The 2019 World Juniors are upon us! The tournament, hosted this winter in the Canadian cities of Vancouver and Victoria, opens this evening, so definitely time to cast the eye over Team Russia’s roster and prospects for the event. The Russian lineup currently includes 25 players, 21 of whom are “for sure” for the tournament (23 is the maximum roster size, so Russia is keeping a couple of slots open in case of injury). Read on, as we take a look at those 25 players!

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