Salavat strengthens strike force
Salavat Yulaev Ufa, now the proud holders of the Gagarin Cup, made a purchase which should sooth their fans’ pain over the departure of Patrick Thoresen. The club has signed Maxim Sushinsky, whose scoring statistic currently stands at a little under a point per game. The 37-year-old attacker was recently released by SKA, who want to tackle the problem of an ageing roster. Various rumors had Maxim heading for five different clubs, of which Metallurg Magnitogorsk and Atlant were considered the favorites, but Sushinsky has elected to spend the season in the Bashkortostan capital. The player himself has confirmed the move, and will sign a contract during the week.

From the Urals to the Alps
Metallurg Magnitogorsk's players have a new venue for their pre-season get-together – Switzerland, where they will stay until the 8th of August. The men from the Urals will be training in the Alpine ski resort of Villars-Sur-Ollon, and have brought all their new players on the trip. They will have regular training sessions on the ice, although no friendly matches have been scheduled.

On the eve of departure the club unveiled its retro uniform, which the players will don for preseason tournaments in Magnitogorsk, Chelyabinsk and Ufa. It is a replica of the uniform the team wore back in 1992, at the first Romazan Memorial Tournament.

Minsk capture Lalande
Vityaz goaltender Kevin Lalande will not be extending his contract with the Chekhov club but he will remain in the KHL. The custodian has signed a contract with Dinamo Minsk, where he will be fighting Andrei Mezin for a place between the pipes. Last season Kevin enjoyed 45 outings in the regular season – the third highest total in the League – and twice kept the opposition off the scoreboard, although he did allow an average of 2.96 goals per game. He posted a save percentage 90.3, helping his team to victory on ten occasions.

Before leaving North America for a career in the KHL, Kevin had never set foot on another continent – not even as a tourist.

Nikolai Zherdev seems likely to start the new season at Atlant, re-uniting with his old team after its return from pre-season training in Switzerland. The player’s agent has been exploring options in North America, but no offers arrived and it is the Moscow Region club which holds the rights to the 26-year-old forward.

Nikolai wore the Atlant colors for the 2009-2010 season, playing 52 games in the regular championship, scoring 13 goals and making 26 assists.

Riga means business
The Riga men’s ingenuity and business acumen never ceases to amaze as the club tries every trick in the book to attract more supporters and earn more money. The fans clearly have no objection, and are happy to help the team and feel a part of the club. Dinamo’s latest plan is to stage an open training session and sell tickets to spectators. The admission price will not cause much hardship – a mere 1-2 Lats (about 2-4$).

Foreign Legionnaire
Darsy Verot will play no more for Vityaz but wishes to stay in Russia, and his agent is currently talking to several KHL clubs. So far, in three seasons playing in the KHL the Canadian forward has amassed 711 minutes of penalties in 82 games.

Quote of the day
"We didn’t choose Josh so that he would fight. We need a strong forward. Our team is not the biggest physically, and we need a player who will bring tough and physical play to the opponent’s goal," Barys president Nurlan Orazbaev talks about new signing Joshua Gratton.

It would be wise to translate his president’s word to Gratton correctly. Last season at Vityaz the Canadian was handed 170 minutes of penalties in just 24 games.

Alexei Shevchenko, special to

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