Five-star CSKA
CSKA began their series of exhibition games with a victory over Latvian club Liepājas Metalurgs. The Army Men struck five goals to the Latvians’ two. Denis Parshin scored a double, and there was a goal apiece from Ilya Zubov, Yury Butsaev and Alexander Guskov. Next to face Julius Supler’s men is the head coach’s former club, Dinamo Riga, and on the 16th of August the Army Men return to Moscow.

Five-star Spartak
Spartak have played their first home game of the preseason, a friendly against lower league club Diesel. Owing to the Moscow traffic jams the Penza men arrived late, so the teams played two half-hour periods without stopping the clock. The Red-and-Whites triumphed 5-3, thanks to two goals from Marcel Hossa and one each from Oleg Piganovich, Alexander Denezhkin and Mikhail Zhukov. On Monday the Muscovites set off for a tournament in Nizhny Novgorod, during which head coach Viktor Pachkalin has promised that he will decide on the best combinations for his lines.

Team leader
Vityaz have chosen the man to lead the team through the coming KHL championship. Daniil Markov has been named captain, and Alexei Troshchinsky and Artemy Panarin alternative captains. Incidentally, three of the Moscow Region club’s foreign signings, goaltender Dalton plus the forwards, Tarnasky and Brennan, arrived in Moscow.

End of the road
35-year-old forward Nils Ekman has decided to end his playing career. The Swede spent two seasons in the KHL and wore the colors of SKA, having previously played a season for Khimik of Moscow Region. Nils played 86 games for the Petersburg team and picked up 62 points, thanks to 21 goals and 41 assists. He will not look back too fondly on the play-offs: he had three outings for SKA in the 2009-10 season, and did not score a single point.

Injury list
Salavat Yulaev is the latest club to be hit by injury. The reigning Gagarin Cup holders will be without the services of Oleg Saprykin for two weeks, after the forward damaged his ankle while training in Finland.

On the 16th of August a full-strength Atlant roster will visit the Obidimskaya boarding school for orphans in Tula Region, where the children will have the chance to get to know and be photographed with the players. Before that - this Friday to be precise - the Mytishchi men will play a friendly game, their first in Russia of the preseason. The opposition will be Diesel, and if the traffic is kind, then maybe the Penza men will get to play a complete game against a KHL team.

New goalie
The KHL’s newest club, Lev of Poprad, signed 21-year-old goaltender Petr Gruska on a one-year contract. Since 2004 he has been playing in Czech youth hockey for Karlovy Vary, for whom last season the goalie allowed an average of 2.65 goals per game.

Foreign legion
Spartak have announced the signing of Canadian defenseman Andre Benoit. Last season Benoit played only 8 games for the Ottawa Senators, but he has had 96 outings in the AHL for the Senators’ farm club. His account stands at14 goals and 59 assists. Surprisingly, Viktor Pachkalin has not even seen Andre in action; instead, he relied completely on the advice of his scouts. The player will join up with his new team at the end of August, and his first tournament will be the Mayor’s Cup in Moscow.

Quote of the day
“I can’t wait for the start of the season. For me the KHL is, in essence, a whole new league. I want to experience it for myself, rate the level of the hockey, and see how it’s changed. It’s six years since I was last in Russia, and back then I even managed to spend some time in Omsk,” Avangard forward Alexander Frolov.

Alexei Shevchenko, special to

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