Two goals in the first 48 seconds, Mozyakin joins the 300 club … and how Oleg Znarok introduced Pushkin to the KHL.
Sergei Mozyakin, the KHL’s record-breaking forward, returned to action after missing 12 games through injury. And, true to form, the master marksman immediately notched another career milestone. His goal for Metallurg Magnitogorsk took him to 300 KHL regular season goals, although on this occasion it couldn’t save his team from defeat at Vityaz.
The holiday period brings plenty of blockbuster movie sequels, but in the KHL it brings updates of new records. Not long after Lokomotiv Yaroslavl’s Alexander Yelesin scored the fastest goal in KHL action, the recent game between Admiral Vladivostok and Dinamo Riga delivered the quickest pair of goals. Within 48 seconds of the opening face-off, both teams found the net. Robert Sabolic fired Admiral in front, but Mikelis Redlihs quickly responded before Dinamo won it 3-1.
Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk has never finished on top of the Eastern Conference before – but this season it’s starting to look like a real possibility. Under the guidance of Andrei Nazarov, the team from Tatarstan has quietly impressed, and last week’s win against its more illustrious Tatar neighbor Ak Bars helped move the club level with the conference leader on 79 points. Could this be a Cinderella story to match the likes of MVD’s run to the Grand Final in 2010? Fans looking for omens might refer to the up-coming All-Star Game, where Nazarov has replaced Ak Bars’ Zinetula Bilyaletdinov as head coach of Team Kharlamov. Will he also go on to replace Bill as top dog in the East?
‘Pushkin is our everything’, according to lovers of Russian literature. But lovers of Russian hockey will be hoping that Oleg Znarok’s one-time Pushkin doesn’t come back to haunt the coach at the Olympics. Matt Ellison, one of the longest-serving imports in the KHL and currently playing for Metallurg Magnitogorsk, was part of Znarok’s triumphant MVD team – and the head coach was quick to spot a resemblance between the Canadian forward and the great Russian writer.
“Znarok started calling me Pushkin at MVD, because of my hair and my beard,” Ellison said in an exclusive interview with KHL.ru. “I’m happy with the nickname – Pushkin was a great man – but it’s rare now for people to use it. If somebody does shout ‘Pushkin’, I still turn my head, though.”
The build-up for the Astana’s Week of Hockey Stars continues, and last week saw the four captains of the four divisions announced. SKA’s Ilya Kovalchuk will lead for the Bobrov Division, Dmitry Kagarlitsky of Severstal heads the Tarasov Division line-up. In the East, Andrei Markov (Ak Bars) is the main man for Team Kharlamov, and Nigel Dawes (Barys) does the honors for Team Chernyshev.
The World Junior Championship gets underway in Buffalo on Tuesday, and, as usual, the KHL is well represented among the competing teams. It’s not just Russia that has drawn heavily on the league to create Valery Bragin’s roster for the championship; KHL players will also represent Belarus and Finland in the big tournament.
The most prominent name, of course, is Eeli Tolvanen. The Flying Finn has been in record-breaking form for Jokerit and is poised to be one of the stars of the championship. Belarus has called up Dinamo Minsk’s young forward Yegor Sharangovich, and also has a place for defenseman Vladislav Martynyuk, currently part of the youth set-up at Kunlun Red Star.
Russia U20 team revealed their roster for World Juniors in Buffalo.
Krylia Sovetov celebrated their 70th anniversary as they hosted one of the top teams of the Western Conference – JHC Spartak Moscow. Soviet Wings museum was opened in the first intermission. A flurry of trophies, retro jerseys and photos from club’s archive of notable players in Krylia Sovetov history were on display. Among them – Alexander Sidelnikov, Sergei Kapustin, Sergei Pryakhin and Krylia Sovetov president and Junior Hockey League managing director Alexei Morozov. In the second intermission fans were treated to a book presentation written by Leonid Reyzer – Krylia. The book is dedicated to legendary coaches of the Moscow club.
Team captains for Junior Hockey League Challenge Cup, which will take place on January 11th, 2018, have been revealed. The 9th annual game will be held in Astana, Kazakhstan as part of the 2018 All-Star Week festivities.
Team West will be captained at Barys-Arena by Krasnaya Armiya Moscow defenseman Vladimir Miroshnichenko, while Stalnye Lisy Magnitgorsk forward Yegor Korobkin will wear the C for Team East. Both players are Junior Hockey League veterans and have played over 100 games each. Miroshnichenko is a reigning Kharlamov Cup champion as a member of Krasnaya Armiya.
Team East will have Samat Daniyar (Snezhnye Barsy) and Ilya Morozov (Sibirskie Snaipery) as their alternate captains, while Miroshnichenko will be backed up by Evgeny Kalabushkin (SKA-1946) and Pavel Kruty (Kunlun Red Star Junior).