Friday, September 17, 2010

Early Returns from the KHL

As NHL camps open this weekend, the Kontinental League in Russia is already in full regular season mode. Here are some first week numbers of some of the bigger names that are plying their trade in Mother Russia.

Evgeni Nabokov, the ex-Shark has 2 wins and 2 losses for St.Petersburg SKA with a 2.95 GAA. Teammates Maxim Afinogenov and Alexei Yashin each have 1 goal and 3 helpers over five games. Mattias Weinhandl is tied for league scoring honours with 3 goals, 5 assists.

Magnitogorsk Metallurg boasts the KHL's goal leader in Denis Platonov who has 8 markers and zero assists in 5 games. He equalled the KHL record with four goals in one game this past Monday. Platanov was a 3rd round choice of Nashville in 2001 but his North American career spanned all of three games with AHL's Milwaukee Admirals in 2003/04. The 28 year old is in his ninth year of the Russian top league with his career high in goals being 17 in 53 games four seasons ago. Teammates on Magnitogorsk, Sergei and Fedor Fedorov have had an interesting start to their seasons. Neither of them have registered a point over five games and Sergei has 14 PIMs while Fedor has 25. One may think the brothers collected all these penalties in one melee together, but no. Sergei got all 14 minutes in one game that included a 10 minute misconduct, while during his second shift of last Saturday's game versus Chelyabinsk Fedor got tossed for a five minute kicking infraction that also carried a 20 minute game misconduct. It would seem the Fedorov boys are taking out their scoring frustations in the wrong manner.

Over in Omsk Avangard Jaromir Jagr has lured his Olympic buddy little Roman Cervenka to play with him, each has 2 goals in 3 games to start the year. With Dinamo Riga, 38 year old Sandis Ozolinsh has 5 assists in 4 games in a solid start to the season. Alex Radulov has come out gang-busters with a goal and 5 assists in 3 games for Ufa Salavat.

Perhaps the biggest new name in Russia this season is Dominik Hasek with Moscow Saprtak. The 45 year old Dominator may have finally hit the wall as he sits with a 1 and 4 record and a very non-dominating 3.62 GAA and .860 Save Pct.

Prior to their win Friday, Moscow Red Army had endured their worst start ever with three straight losses. The streak was broken with a brilliant 47 save shutout by ex-New York Ranger, Steve Valiquette.

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