Magnitka's winning beginning; Admiral blockades Barys. August 12 preseason round-up14 August 2017, 15:00
Only one outfit emerged from last week boasting a 100% record. Dinamo Minsk played all three games on their own ice and got the better of Torpedo, Dynamo Moscow and Severstal, even though all three opponents put up a spirited resistance. The Belarus team is currently enjoying its best ever season in the League. For the first time the roster seems settled, and the atmosphere in the club remains calm, even after the unluckiest of defeats. The Minsk side is riding high at the top of the Tarasov Division, three points ahead of Atlant, although the Mytishchi men have four games in hand. Another reason for Minsk’s surge has surely been thei mpressive play of their goalies.
Two teams tasted defeat three times. Dynamo Moscow still managed to earn a point, by taking the game in Poprad to a shootout, but it is still a far from spectacular run of results. Oleg Znarok remains as calm as ever, dismissing any talk of a crisis, and advising journalists to refrain from inflaming the situation. Certainly nothing too disastrous has happened if we compare results with last year, when the team suffered an 11-game losing streak, but the club leadership is unlikely to be satisfied.
The week’s other three-time loser, Avtomobilist, cannot use the excuse that they were up against the strongest opponents. The men from the Urals went down to Vityaz, Spartak and Barys.
Barys forward Dustin Boyd celebrated a hat-trick against Vityaz to add to his double against Avtomobilist. His mini-avalanche of goals has made him the team’s top scorer with 12 goals for the season, although on points he is still behind Brandon Bochenski.
And it is Bochenski and his captain, Kevin Dallman, who share the laurels as the most prolific assistants of the week, with both supplying the decisive passes for five goals. It is worth mentioning the Kazakhstan men’s turnaround in fortunes since the departure of Andrei Khomutov, which has seen them rise to fourth in the Eastern Conference standings, and despite still having a negative goal difference (-5) more typical of a struggling side.
Rastislav Stana of CSKA kept his goal intact in the Moscow derby against Dynamo, but was soon picking the puck out of the net in his next game. That unbeaten 60 minutes was still the longest shutout series of the week, while Atlant’s Konstantin Barulin allowed just two goals in two games, giving him the week’s best average.
Ak Bars has added Swedish attacker Niclas Bergfors to the ranks. The forward started the season across the ocean, at Nashville, where he played 11 games and collected 2 (1+1) points. Neftekhimik, meanwhile, has enlisted the services of Karlovy Vary defenseman David Nosek.
The major player swap of the week has to be the deal struck between SKA and Avangard. The Petersburg club has sent to Omsk young defenseman Yury Alexandrov and received in return Andrei Pervyshin. Curiously, both players have a haul of two points for the new season, whereas Pervyshin has23 outings for the season, and Alexandrov only 11.
Yet another coach was shown the door last week, as Spartak decided Viktor Pachkalin had failed to live up to expectations. It is interesting that his successor has yet to be named. The club promises that this will be decided by midweek, and until then Frantisek Hossa remains in charge.
Alexei Shevchenko, special to khl.ru