First tournament under way
In Astana the first games of the President of Kazakhstan Cup have been played, and three KHL teams – Barys Astana, Amur Khabarovsk, and Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk – were involved. In the opening game, Yugra overcame the Amur 3-2 after a shootout, and later Barys enjoyed a resounding 5-1 victory over Kaztsinc-Torpedo. Two of the Astana team’s goals came from combative forward Joshua Gratton. Last season, in his Vityaz days, he earned the dubious distinction of being the KHL’s dirtiest player, having incurred 170 minutes of penalties in just 24 games. His scoring record at Vityaz could also have been better: just seven goals in 35 games over two seasons.
Second victory for Lev
Slovak club Lev emerged victorious after the team’s second exhibition game. This time Radim Rulik’s men defeated Vítkovice 3-1, and the scorers of two of the goals are no strangers to fans of the KHL. Slovak forward Ladislav Nagy spent several seasons with Severstal, and last season Tomas Netik played in the colors of CSKA. Another familiar face at Lev is Russia’s Rafael Akhmetov, and he played the entire game.
Sibir’s charitable program continued with a supporter’s day, to which the club invited the residents of a Novosibirk chidren’s home. The team presented the children with sports equipment, footballs, rollerblades, and also Sibir merchandise and toys.
KHL newcomers Lev announced the prices of season tickets for their forthcoming debut season. The cheapest will set supporters back €168, and the dearest €462. For an extra €100 the fans also get admittance to games in Slovakia’s Extraliga. The club leadership hopes to sell 3,000 season tickets to local residents, but 500 more are available via the internet.
Vityaz announced the signing of two new players. Joining the roster for next season will be defenseman Igor Golovkov and attacker Nikita Tochitsky. Golovkov spent last season in SKA’s ranks, but did not get an outing in the KHL, although he did make it onto the ice for the exhibition game against Carolina Hurricanes. Prior to that, Igor had two seasons with Dynamo Moscow, playing 43 games, scoring one goal, assisting on another but also collecting 52 minutes of penalties.
Nikita Tochitsky enjoyed a phenomenal season with SKA-1946, earning 75 points in 52 outings thanks to 19 goals and 56 assists, but Nikita has yet to play in the KHL.
We should add that both players arrived at Vityaz via an exchange: Tochitsky for the first round of the 2013 draft, and in place of Golovkov forward Alexander Shcherbina has returned to Saint Petersburg.
Change of opponent
Spartak announced that on the 11th of August the team’s first friendly in Russia under new coach Viktor Pachkalin will be against not Vityaz, but lower league side Diesel from Penza. The Penza men, incidentally, play again the following day against Atlant, for whom Alexei Kovalev might make his debut. The Atlant vs Diesel game will not be free admission; however, the price of a ticket - 50 rubles (under US$2) - should not bankrupt any fans.
The Kontinental Hockey League’s committee has finished its inspection of Avangard’s stadium, the Arena-Omsk. The men from the League confirmed that the playing surface is ready for top-level hockey, and are satisfied with the condition and infrastructure of the complex.
Quote of the day
“I didn’t get an offer from the NHL that would interest me, but the one from the KHL did. Besides, my career won’t last another 10 years, a bit less than that, and I want to win a major club trophy,” - Lokomotiv defenseman Ruslan Salei about his plans for the season.
Alexei Shevchenko, special to khl.ru