Krikunov’s helpers
Vladimir Krikunov (on the right of photo) has selected the personnel to help him through the coming campaign, as Mikhail Sarmatin and Vasily Tikhonov join the Ak Bars coaching staff. For Tikhonov it is already his third team in the KHL. He had a two-year stint working in Omsk, and before that helped out at Severstal, albeit on a voluntary basis. Sarmatin finished his playing career in 2009, having played 43 games for Amur. However, he spent most of his playing days in Kazan and it was to Ak Bars he returned after ending his career. Last year the forward helped out the “White Leopards” in the Youth League.

Novokuznetsk vs. Novokuznetsk
Novokuznetsk Metallurg players have played a game against each other, which will not – of course – count as one of the permitted preseason exhibition games. Nevertheless, after the game the coaches need to choose the players who will not be required for the preseason training camp in Switzerland. The changes to the roster will be announced tomorrow, and all we can tell you at present is that six goals were scored. The “Reds” were led by Sergei Berdnikov while the “Whites” were captained by Arkady Andreyev, and between the pipes stood, respectively, Sergei Kostenko and Alexander Lazushin. The Reds emerged victorious, winning 5-1, thanks to goals from Kagarlitsky, Fisenko, Turukin, Mordvinov and Nazarov, while Kuklev replied for the Whites.

Yearning for hockey
Amur also staged a game between its own players at a training session, and hardly had the Khabarovsk men announced their intention to sell tickets for the game when supporters flooded the club’s switchboard, demanding to know when they would go on sale. All 400 tickets were snapped up in just an hour and a half, and although the admission price was nominal – a mere 100 rubles (under $4) – it shows how much they miss the game in the Far East. The game will take place this Saturday. News on the same theme, but from the west: in just two weeks, Dinamo Minsk fans have already bought a thousand season tickets.

Reitz hangs up his skates
A surprising piece of news has appeared on Sibir’s official Facebook page. Erik Reitz, former defenseman for the Novosibirsk team, has ended his playing career and become a fireman. Getting used to a life after hockey is considered to be very tough, and while some succeed in politics, business, or real estate, these are few and far between. It seems Reitz has surprised everyone. The American spent just one season at Sibir, the 2009-2010 campaign, and in 38 outings he collected 146 minutes of penalties, losing one of his fights to Nikolai Stasenko of Amur. Reitz’s account stands at just a single goal, but it was scored against no ordinary opponent – the victims were Salavat Yulaev.

New coach
Avangard’s new goalkeeping coach will be the Finn, Jari Kaarela, and he will work with the club during the preseason training in Finland. Kaarela is well aware of the demands of Russian hockey, having spent last season with Lokomotiv. The specialist also has experience of working with the national team at the Olympics and the world championship.

Training trip
Atlant has announced which players will be traveling for preseason training. There are no real surprises, although one man staying in Mytishchi is Kazakhstan defenseman Maxim Semenov – officially, due to injury. Among those handed a chance to establish themselves in the starting line-up will be youngsters like Ilya Andryukhov, Ilya Fedin and Anton Lazarev.

Rumors
Alexei Kovalev may be about to sign a contract with Atlant. If one of the most respected of Russian forwards does in fact move to Mytishchi, it will raise the stock of the Gagarin Cup finalists considerably. It is possible there will soon be some official comment or clarification, but while no contract has been signed one has to say it is still in the realms of fantasy. However, even fantasies sometimes become reality.

Process of elimination
After a week of preseason training, Avtomobilist head coach Ilya Byakin has turned down five players, of whom the best-known are Anton Glovatsky (Traktor, Metallurg Magnitogorsk and Atlant) and Ilya Solarev (Barys).

Quote of the day
"I would have been happy to stay at Severstal, but the club leadership changed. In came people with their own vision, their own politics. In light of these events half the Severstal team has left. In my view, these people’s approach was not serious," Avangard’s new signing Kirill Lyamin on on why he left Severstal.

Alexei Shevchenko, special to khl.ru

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