Vasily Koshechkin’s illustrious career reached a new landmark this week. The veteran Metallurg goalie recorded his 90th shut-out in the KHL, and his 115th in all Russian hockey. Koshechkin, 39, completed his latest achievement to help his team win at Barys. It’s a record likely to stand for a long time. Alexander Yeryomenko is second on the list with 63 shut-outs, but he retired at the end of last season. Ilya Sorokin had 60 before he moved to the NHL, and the closest currently active KHL goalie is Avangard’s Stanislav Galimov with 43.
The fan poll is over, the journalists have had their say and 28 players are booked to play at the All-Star Weekend in Chelyabinsk in December. This year will see many first-timers at the show, reflecting the rise of young talent in this season’s KHL. The likes of SKA’s promising D-man Alexander Nikishin, exciting Vityaz goalie Maxim Dorozhko and Dynamo Moscow forward Dmitry Rashevsky are among the youngsters ready to take their bow. Meanwhile, Alexander Radulov is back for the seventh time, making him by far the most experienced player in this year’s event. Andrei Altybarmakyan has a unique distinction. In 2017, he was the first player to go to the All-Star Game via a call-up from the Junior Hockey League’s showcase. Now he’s the first of the trailblazing youngsters to win a direct ticket to the KHL All-Star spectacular.
After an inconsistent start to the season, CSKA has found its game. The defending champion takes a seven-game winning streak into Monday’s encounter with Traktor. Improved defensive play is making the difference for Sergei Fedorov’s team, which has allowed just seven goals in that run. Notable results include a 3-1 derby success at Dynamo, and a 4-1 victory over Eastern Conference leader Avtomobilist. Beating Kunlun Red Star 5-1 avenged two losses against the Dragons.
Igor Larionov’s first season as a head coach in the KHL has not changed his calm, composed demeanor. And, according to his players, it’s the same behind the scenes – even when things are going badly. Young defenseman Bogdan Konyushkov admitted this was something of a surprise. “We played Spartak. We blew a 3-0 lead and lost 3-4,” Konyushkov told KHL.ru. “But there was no dressing down, nothing was flying around the locker room. Instead, he intelligently explained that we just couldn’t play like that. If we want to finish up the table, that kind of game isn’t good enough. There was a kind of dissonance, that he could convey that kind of message without screaming and yelling.”
Goalie Andrew Hammond terminated his contract with Traktor after playing just two games for the club. The 35-year-old Canadian joined after the start of the season but was unable to establish himself as first choice ahead of Ilya Proskuryakov. In his two games, he allowed seven goals and finished on the losing side both times. Traktor took Sochi’s Alexei Melnichuk on loan to cover Hammond’s departure. Sochi, meanwhile, acquired former SKA goalie Mikhail Berdin from Manitoba Moose of the AHL.
Jan Drozg signed a one-year deal with Amur. The 23-year-old Slovenian international spent last season in the AHL. He played 38 games, dividing his time between Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Grand Rapids Griffins. Drozg had 11 (4+7) points in those games. He also represented Slovenia in Olympic qualification.
In the Women’s Hockey League, last year’s beaten finalist Tornado Dmitrov moved up to second in the standings after wins over KRS Shenzhen and 7.62. Anna Shokhina, the league’s top scorer last season, played a starring role with 9 (2+7) points in four games as Tornado blew away two of this season’s struggling teams. However, Biryusa Krasnoyarsk remains out in front in the standings and 15-year-old forward Viktoria Burdukova announced her status as one of the league’s brightest prospects with three goals in three games.