Andy Potts Andy Potts
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St. Petersburg was the focal point for the latest big event of the season – and the Winter Classic between SKA and CSKA was a huge hit on and off the ice. Elsewhere, Nigel Dawes keeps scoring and Sergei Shumakov made an instant impact.

Number of the week – 67,770

That’s the new record crowd for a KHL game. The numbers that turned up at the Gazprom Arena for Saturday’s showdown between SKA and CSKA smashed the old number out of the park – 50,000 more than last season’s Winter Classic in Helsinki between Jokerit and SKA. It wasn’t just a KHL record: this is the biggest attendance ever recorded for a club hockey game in Europe and, fittingly, it also marked the 72nd anniversary of the first ever official games in the Soviet Championship back in 1946. Support like this reinforces our aim to show that hockey is Russia’s top sport.

Record breakers. SKA vs. CSKA. December 22

Hoodoo of the week – Nikitin over Vorobyov

Saturday’s game was not only special because of the crowd, nor the takeover of a soccer stadium for the event. It was also another huge clash in the Western Conference and the latest instalment of the Army Club rivalry. For SKA head coach Ilya Vorobyov, it was also a chance to finally get one over on CSKA chief Igor Nikitin. The pair had made four times before as head coach and Nikitin had won all of them – three this season against SKA and once early last term against Metallurg. Saturday’s game went the same way, with Nikitin’s men easing to a 4-1 victory and cementing their place at the top of the KHL table.

Vorobyov never defeated Nikitin. Now he has 70,000 fans to the rescue


Decade of the week – the 1990s

The end of the year is traditionally a time to reflect and review. For Spartak, it’s become time for a traditional retro-game, harking back to earlier epoch’s in the Muscovites’ history. This year’s match-up with HC Sochi set the calendar for the 1990s in honor of the club’s Spengler Cup success in 1990. The Red-and-Whites turned orange for the occasion, wearing a recreation of the uniform they took to Davos for the international competition; selfies were swapped for Polaroids and fans rummaged in their closets to unearth some fashion gems from their youth. 90s fever did not just strike Spartak, though.

Retro clash for Spartak, fightback win for Jokerit. December 22 round-up

90-е годы. Разгул бешеного капитализма в России. Финансовые пирамиды с Лёней Голубковым, Ельцин пьёт и поёт, «чёрный вторник» и «полный дефолт» - все привычные ориентиры были в мгновение ока потеряны и растоптаны. Но русский народ по-прежнему хорохорится: «После такого экспириенса как никогда чувствуешь челлендж!» Выживают сильнейшие. За одного битого двух небитых дают или хотя бы половину старой зарплаты. Малиновый пиджак стал атрибутом успешного человека, позволявшим ему отличаться от серой массы людей. Супергламурные ангорские свитера и джинсы, псевдокожаные и вареные куртки, треники Adidas (типа), футболки и куртки Montana (типа), бесформенные пуховики на синтепоне, резиновые кроссовки, лосины, дольчики и многое другое… Период становления моды в России и бывших странах СССР, период безвкусицы в одежде, стиля диско, рока, панк-рока, рэпа, транса…и многих культур, густо населивших страну. ⠀ Самая смутная эпоха в истории новой России, которая никого не может оставить равнодушным. Мы отмотали время назад. Ищите в наших социальных сетях убойные фотографии хоккеистов «Спартака» перед #ретроматч’ем 22 декабря. ⠀ Такими вы их никогда не видели! ⠀ Продажа билетов на ретро-матч уже заканчивается на сайте ⠀ Не опоздайте к отъезду спартаковской машины времени.

Публикация от ХК Спартак | HC Spartak Moscow (@spartak_hc) 21 Дек 2018 в 2:34 PST

Traktor also revisited the immediate post-Soviet era in a promo clip for this week’s game against Barys, scheduled for the club’s 71st anniversary on December 28.

Streak of the week – Nigel Dawes

The Avtomobilist forward continues to sweep all before him, extending his productive run to eight games with the opening goal in Sunday’s 3-2 victory over Traktor. Dawes has 13 (7+6) points on his current run, giving him a total of 53 (22+31) for the season and keeping him out in front in the race to top the scoring chart.

Dawes makes it eight in a row, Koshechkin claims 300th win. December 23 round-up

Streakbuster of the week – Vityaz Moscow Region

When CSKA arrived in Podolsk to face Vityaz last Tuesday, it brought an 18-game winning streak that propelled it to the top of the table. Vityaz, scrapping hard for a playoff place, was not expected to threaten the Army Men. But the outcome was very different: goalie Alexander Samonov stood on his head, making 37 saves to record his first career shut-out as goals from Alexander Semin and Alexei Makeyev handed the host a shock win. Two days later, in Petersburg, SKA also found itself on the end of an unwanted surprise. Swedish forward Linus Videll potted a hat-trick as Dinamo Riga snapped its losing run with an overtime triumph.

Vityaz stuns the league leader. December 18 round-up

Debut of the week – Sergei Shumakov

The Hawks of Avangard swooped to secure the services of forward Sergei Shumakov after he returned home from a spell in North America – and reaped instant rewards. The former Sibir and CSKA man had a profitable debut, collecting a goal and an assist in his team’s 7-3 win over Severstal on Dec. 20. Avangard secured the rights to Shumakov after he left the AHL’s Hershey Bears, buying out the remainder of the player’s contract with CSKA.

Riga stuns SKA, Jokerit thumps CSKA. December 20 round-up

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Avangard (Omsk) Avangard (Omsk)
Avtomobilist (Ekaterinburg) Avtomobilist (Ekaterinburg)
Vityaz (Moscow Region) Vityaz (Moscow Region)
Dinamo (Riga) Dinamo (Riga)
Severstal (Cherepovets) Severstal (Cherepovets)
SKA (Saint Petersburg) SKA (Saint Petersburg)
HC Sochi (Sochi) HC Sochi (Sochi)
Spartak (Moscow) Spartak (Moscow)
Traktor (Chelyabinsk) Traktor (Chelyabinsk)
CSKA (Moscow) CSKA (Moscow)
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