The Gagarin Cup finalists had a surprise for the assembled journalists: not just the presentation of Alexei Kovalev and Nikolai Zherdev, but also the capture of Branko Radivojevic from Spartak. The transfer went through at remarkable speed: talks began on Saturday, and already on Monday the forward signed the contract. Branko has featured in every KHL championship, and until now only wore the colors of the Red-and-Whites. He had a superb season in 2009-10, when he amassed 55 points from 56 games, but last season was his weakest from a statistical point of view: in 54 outings he scored a total of 7 goals and 23 assists. Radivojevic has a decent record in the play-offs – in 19 games over three seasons, he boasts 4 goals and 9 assists.
The khl.ru website has already announced that Dinamo Riga had signed AHL attacker and Calder Cup winner Robbie Earl. However, today came the news that the forward, despite having signed a contract, has refused to move to Latvia. It is not known what caused his change of mind, or how the Riga men will react to this development. Obviously, the club must start a new search for a forward, but with the season just one month away it will be far from easy to find a suitable player.
Forwards on top
Vityaz players have once again played a game against each other, this time in preparation for the friendly in Chekhov against Dynamo Moscow on the 12th of August. It seems to have been a lively encounter, judging by the score, 8-7 after overtime. The golden goal was struck by Nikita Dvurechensky, who grabbed a double, as did Artemy Panarin and Andrei Zabolotnev. Interestingly, Zabolotnev is a defenseman on trial with the team until the 4th of September. Daniil Markov contributed two assists.
Director vs. coach
The leadership and the coaching staff of Torpedo met with journalists today, after which the team conducted an open training session. During the press conference, new head coach Kari Jalonen said he has a dispute with Andrei Osipenko, the club’s general director, but only about which one can learn the other’s language the fastest. So far the director is in front, having learned to say, “Thank you, head coach,” in Finnish.
Two more years
Defensemen Mikhail Pashnin and Vyacheslav Buravchikov have extended their contracts with CSKA by two years. Pashnin was #1 pick in the first ever KHL Entry Draft. He has spent two seasons in the League, playing 88 games, scoring three goals, assisting on six, and has an efficiency rating of –10. Buravchikov only joined the Army Men toward the end of last season, having spent two and a half years in the colors of Ak Bars, with whom he twice won the Gagarin Cup. Last season the graduate of Krylya Sovetov’s academy played 17 games for CSKA, making three assists and earning a rating of –6. Vyacheslav’s best season was 2008-09: 62 games, 4 goals, 7 assists, and a +30.
Quote of the day
“I’m pleased that, in spite of the increase in workload in our pre-season training, for the entire game our players had the advantage in speed and physical fitness. I won’t single out any one player; all of them showed commitment and desire,” Traktor head coach Valery Belousov, on his team’s first friendly game in Switzerland.
Alexei Shevchenko, special to khl.ru