A Step Back?

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Alevtina Shtaryova watches as a Russian scoring chance is foiled by Germany’s Jennifer Harß during quarterfinal action on Tuesday. (Image Source)

Russia’s run at the 2017 Women’s World Championship in Michigan came to an end today, without a medal and a day earlier than was hoped-for.  What happened, and what can we take away from what must be considered a disappointing tournament?  Read on…

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To the Quarterfinals at the Women’s Worlds

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Team Russia captain Olga Sosina in action today against Canada. (Image Source)

Hockey can be an insular, insulating, and insulated thing — and sometimes that is no bad thing — but events away from the rink do intrude on occasion, and so it was today.  It was, without doubt, a heavy-hearted group of Russian players that took the ice, black armbands prominent on their sweaters, to face Team Canada in their third Group A match at the 2017 Women’s World Championship in Michigan.  And I would like to take this opportunity to pass on my own condolences, thoughts, and prayers to the victims and their friends and families, and to the city of St. Petersburg, after the terrorist attack on the city’s metro earlier today.

Read on, for a recap of Team Russia’s group stage games at the Women’s Worlds.

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A Short, Pre-Worlds, Women’s Hockey Update

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Team Russia at the 2017 Women’s Worlds.  (Image Source)

Here we are, literally on the eve of the 2017 IIHF Women’s World Championship!  And it will be a full tournament, the US team having sorted out its differences with USA Hockey and come away with a much more equitable deal than they had in place previously.  As for Team Russia, we took a look at their roster right here the other day, and I would invite to check out other previews of the squad here and here.  And read on, for some brief news of how the team’s preparations have gone since then, and an interesting Women’s Hockey League note!

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The 2017 Gagarin Cup Final

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Sergei Mozyakin and Ilya Kovalchuk will meet in the Gagarin Cup Final, starting April 8th!  (Image Source)

We have a Final!  Metallurg Magnitogorsk wrapped up a four-game East Conference Final sweep of Ak Bars Kazan earlier today with a 4-1 victory.  Sergei Mozyakin celebrated his 36th birthday in some style, contributing two assists and then a goal to the victory.  The goal was his 54th of this season, surpassing the previous single-season record of 53 set by CSKA Moscow forward Veniamin Alexandrov in 1962-63 (in fairness to the old Red Army man, we should point out that Alexandrov scored his in 38 games, while Mozyakin took 72 to break the record).

Metallurg will be looking to win their third Gagarin Cup in four seasons, but the opposition will be tough.  SKA St. Petersburg, themselves the 2015 champions, swept the West Conference Final against Lokomotiv Yaroslavl despite losing Pavel Datsyuk and goalie Mikko Koskinen to injury.  Two of the games required overtime, one of those after SKA tied it in the last 10 seconds of the third, so it was not a routine sweep, but a sweep it was nonetheless.  Much credit to young netminder Igor Shestyorkin, who stepped in for his injured colleague Koskinen early in Game 3, and stopped 65 of 66 shots the rest of the way.

Due to the brevity of the Conference Finals, we now have a bit of a break before the Final commences.  Game 1, in Magnitogorsk, will be played on April 8th.  Sometime before then, we will have a full preview of the series here at the blog.  However, as a preview of the preview: given the way these two teams play the game, there ought to be some spectacular hockey coming our way in early April!

Playoff Updates!

In which the puck goes from the Metallurg Magnitogorsk goal-line to the back of the Ak Bars Kazan net in three seconds, courtesy of Mister Lee and Mister Moyzakin.

The KHL’s Conference Finals are now well underway, and producing some interesting storylines to follow!  Read on, as we take a quick look at those, and get you caught up on playoff happenings in a number of other leagues as well.

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Russia at the 2017 Women’s Worlds

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Forward Yekaterina Smolentseva, the last holdover from Russia’s first-ever Women’s Worlds team in 1997, at last week’s training camp for the 2017 tournament (and she did indeed make the final roster).  (Image Source)

The Russian national team’s final roster for the 2017 IIHF Women’s World Championship has been named!  In fact the team has departed from its training camp in Novogorsk, and is now in Plymouth, Michigan, going through final preparations for the tournament, which begins on Friday.  Read on, as we take a look at the players selected, and speculate a bit about how head coach Alexei Chistyakov may deploy them when the time comes.

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KHL 2016-17 Conference Finals Preview

Here we are with only four teams still standing in the KHL’s Gagarin Cup Playoffs!  The Conference Finals get underway on Thursday (West Conference) and Friday (East), so read on for a bit a preview and some predictions.

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The Women’s Hockey League: A 2016-17 Recap

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Olga Sosina and Anna Shokhina captained the East and West teams, respectively, at the Women’s Hockey League’s first-ever All-Star Game in January.  (Image Source)

Time for a look back at 2016-17 in Russia’s Women’s Hockey League!  If you have been following along here, you know by now who the champions were, but read on for a team-by-team look at how the season went.  And there will also be some general comments on the campaign as well.

 

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A Few News Notes

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SKA St. Petersburg players salute the crowd after eliminating Dynamo Moscow. (Image Source)

After a slow blogging week due to general business, this will be a “getting caught up on the KHL story” sort of post.  Read on, for the last four teams standing in the hunt for the Gagarin Cup, the passing of a legend among Russian hockey journalists, and some early news about what the KHL will look like in 2017-18.

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Guest Post: The Future of Youth Hockey in Russia

First day of training for children at KHL club Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg’s hockey school.

I am very happy to welcome again Tomáš Vorčák, from whom we heard recently on the subject of the KHL and the European Champions Cup tournament.  This time, Mr. Vorčák is looking into plans for revitalization of Russia’s national programs for hockey development at the youth level; it is interesting stuff, so read on!

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