The Army Men win and lose
Petersburg’s Army Men have played the second friendly game of their preseason training trip in the Czech Republic. In the first, they beat Hradec Kralove 2-0 thanks to strikes from Maxim Afinogenov and Dmitry Vorobyev, but on Monday evening they suffered a surprise 1-3 defeat to HC Kometa of Brno. The coaches fielded a mixed line-up, with Tony Martensson getting the only goal. It is worth mentioning that Jakub Stepanek was between the pipes for the first period, when all three of the Czechs’ goals were scored, after which Dmitry Shikin took over for the next two periods.

Change in personnel
SKA has canceled its contract with Vladimir Yurzinov Jr. Last season the coach worked with Ivan Zanatta and then Vaclav Sykora, and for a time back in spring took over the coaching duties when the team was knocked out of the play-offs. The previous time Yurzinov was in sole charge was in 2009 as boss of Severstal, but he was sacked in January. He was also head coach of Torpedo, and guided them from the Premier League to the Super League. The list of former employers on Vladimir’s resume also includes four teams in Finland, plus Lokomotiv, Khimki, and Sibir.

Home alone
Atlant’s new signing Alexei Kovalev (pictured) will miss the team’s preseason training in Switzerland. The Moscow Region club has always favored veterans, to the extent that Oleg Petrov will not start work with the team until after the start of the regular season, so he can conserve his strength for the rest of the campaign. As for Kovalev, he has a multitude of domestic issues to sort out following his return to Russia.

Meanwhile, over in Switzerland, the rest of the Atlant squad are gearing up for the first friendly game of the tour. Their opponents, Zurich, are no strangers to current Atlant head coach Bengt-Åke Gustafsson, who spent a year with the Swiss outfit.

On the move
Avtomobilist have captured the services of forward Alexander Drozdetsky. Alexander, one of the most prolific scorers in Russian hockey, hardly featured last season – managing a mere 6 appearances for Neftekhimik. He has played in the KHL for two more teams, Spartak and Severstal, with his best season to date being 2008-09 when he scored 13 goals for the Red-and-whites. The Yekaterinburg new boy’s career best was back in 2003-04, when he struck 16 goals in the colors of Ask Bars.

No vacancies
Dinamo Minsk has finally put together its coaching staff. After the first stage of preseason training, Marek Sykora approved the signing of physical training coaches Brandon Bowie and Alexander Makritsky, so now all coaching vacancies have been filled. An interesting fact about Bowie, who had recently been helping out at Anaheim, is that the Californian specialist has never played hockey, admitting that he never had the chance.

New uniform, old colors
Neftekhimik has changed the design of their uniform for the coming season, but the new sweaters will be in the traditional blue and white. Meanwhile, the team has returned from its first training trip abroad. Head coach Alexander Smirnov noted said the team managed to put all his plans into action and he was pleased with their efforts. They will continue training at home in Nizhnekamsk until the 14th of August, when they head off to a tournament in Chelyabinsk.

Alexei Shevchenko, special to

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