MHL players at the World Junior U-17 challenge

Team Russia that will compete in the World Junior U-17 challenge, held in Timmins, Ontario, from December 29th to January 4th, will present a number of players from the MHL. MHL players for will be goalie Andrei Makarov (Ladia Togliatti), defensemen Albert Yarullin, Anton Saveliev (both Bars Kazan), Alexei Vasilievsky (Tolpar Ufa), Vitaly Demakov (Belye Medvedi Chelyabinsk) and forwards Alexei Shamin (Loko Yaroslavl), Alexander Kuvaev (Russkie Vityazi Chekhov), Roman Konkov (Chaika Nizhny Novgorod), Andrei Sigarev (Ladia Togliatti) and Alexander Khokhlachev (MHK Spartak).

Full roster here: http://www.russianprospects.com/public/article.php?article_id=686

Alexander Khokhlachev on Hockey's Future!

I wrote an article for the popular Hockey's Future website about Alexander Khokhlachev. It contains quotes from the player.

You can read it here: http://www.hockeysfuture.com/articles/11716/beyond_tomorrow_alexander_khokhlachev/


MHL Future Stars: David Mnatsyan

After we talked with Samvel Mnatsyan, MHL Hockey is proud to introduce you his brother David, who currently plays for Avangard-93 and thus will be eligible to play in the MHL only next year. MHL Hockey thanks David for his time and his patience to take this interview.

Hi David. Tell our readers about yourself. Where were you born? Why did you choose hockey and not other kind of sports?

I'm David Mnatsyan, I'm 16 and I was born in Omsk. When I was 6 I went to my brother's training. More than everything I loved the passion and the emotions I could witness on ice. When I was a child I also liked football, but in my city that kind of sport isn't as developed as hockey. My city lives for Avangard Omsk.

I think that your dream is to become a hockey player, isn't it?

Yes, it is. Just like any other player I dream about playing in the world's best league, the NHL. And I hope to get that chance. That's my aim and I'm working for it.

How do you like to spend your free time?

I almost don't have any. That time is as valuable as gold. I like going to the movies or meeting friends. I also like a lot playing with the PS3. And there is the school too! It takes me a lot of time itself. I work hard to combine all this

What and where do you study?

I study in a sport class of a general education school. In that class go all my team mates. Our schedule is tied with out trainings and thanks to this we can go playing in other cities for away games.

Is there anything that you specifically work on during trainings?

I work a lot every day on shooting and skating. These are the most important components of a blue liner's game.

Do you pattern your game after a player in the NHL or in the KHL?

More than anyone I like Andrei Markov. I like how he plays back in the zone and how he joins the rush going forward.

How would you describe your personality?

I'm persistent, I believe in myself and I always want to win. If you have these quality you can do everything.

How many sticks did you use last season?

Around 10 to 12.

Favorite book?

I like Dan Brown's “Angels and Demons”.

Favourite dish?


Favorite NHL team?

New York Rangers.

Favorite KHL team?

Avangard Omsk

Stanley Cup or Olympic Gold?

Stanley Cup.

Last question: who's better, you or your brother?

My brother has got talent, I won't argue. But I don't think my qualities are worse than his. I'll work hard to fullfil my expectations and I'll work hard to become better than him.


MHL poster boy Alexander Avtsin scores his first KHL goal

In the 4-0 Dynamo Moscow's win over Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk, MHL poster boy Alexander Avtsin scored his first goal in the Kontinental Hockey League with an excellent top corner wrist shot.

It's possible to see his goal and read a little interview with him at RussianHockeyFans.com, clicking here.


Interview with Russia-92 head coach Mikhail Vasiliev

Former CSKA Moscow forward, Olympic champion Mikhail Vasiliev is Russia-92 head coach since this fall after some arisen problems with Kryuchkov's health. I recently had an interview with him, in which he talked about the performances of the team in the WJAC, about the 1992 years of birth top players and about the future of this selection. He talked about many MHL stars, especially about Alexei Marchenko, Sergei Barbashev and others. Full interview here.


MHL Future Stars: Valeri Nichushkin

MHL Hockey is proud to present Valeri Nichushkin. Average fans never heard his name, but trainers and experts are already familiar with the Chelyabinsk talent's surname.  

An impressive size compared with his age, good technique and a great sniper talent make him a great forward, even if still very young. The 14 years old will play this year with one year older boys in Traktor-94 team. It looks like he outgrew his co-aged, in all senses. MHL Hockey offers you a translation of Valeri's interview with Olesya Uslova.

- You are a true recordman. Tell us about your achievements.

- I've beaten the record for points scored in the Ural – Western Siberia region with 127, 87 goals and 40 assists.

- And who was the holder of the precedent record?

-It was set three years ago by Metallurg-92's Daniil Apalkov.

- They congratulated with you? Any special celebration?

- No, I've just reading something on some local newspaper. And all.

- How could you score so many goals?

- I don't know. I've tried playing my way. My team mates helped me too.

- How did you play in the precedent season?

- I've spent half year with Ak Bars Kazan, in that half season I scored 70 points.

- And which zone is harder to play in? Volga Region or Ural-Western Siberia?

- The Ural one is harder.

- Do you think you'll be able to beat your own record this year?

- I'll try. But this season the aim is to reach the national finals. I'll try to score as much as possible to help my team. My aim for this season is to become a better team player.

- Tell us how you arrived to hockey. Did your parents bring you?

- Yes, through some people they knew. They brought me to the Traktor school.

- And did you like hockey since the first day or did you have some troubles?

- I could skate well. Then all started to work and so I started liking it and then I've started playing seriously.

- Who was your first coach?

- Viktor Nikolaevich Vetshev. He left Traktor-95 only one year ago.

- Did you start playing as forward?

- Yes.

- And how old were you, when for the first time your sniper talent reached a noticeable status?

- I was 9 or 10, when I started playing in tournaments.

- And in those tournaments you were the top scorer?

- Sometimes I didn't break the top-three, but I always got some award. Almost in every tournament I got player of the match honors.

- And which prizes they usually presented?

- Cups. When I was a child usually caps or jerseys. Even sticks.

- Is this what drives you to score a lot?

- No, I don't think about that when I am on the ice. But there were games in which I was saying to myself “I have to score, score” and all I got is that I couldn't score at all.

- What's your record for most goals scored in one game?

- This year, eight. Earlier, I don't remember...more than ten I think.

- Which is the goal you remember the best?

- When I used to play for Ak Bars we participated to the Nicklas Lidstrom tournament, in Sweden. There I scored the game winning goal on the overtime, and we won the match and the tournament.

- How did you move to Ak Bars?

- They invited me. I came.

- Do you like how is it going with Traktor?

- Now all is good. I play with the team one year older than me. I'm satisfied about everything: the coach, the team mates...

- Will you play the whole season with Traktor-94?

- Yes.

- Is it more interesting to play with the 94 team?

- Yes, it's more intense.

- And for you the 95 is boring already?

- No, why? It's interesting there too. You get more chances, it's easier to score. With 94 it's more important to play as a team, playing individually is harder.

- Do you often try to win games alone?

- I used to do so. Now it depends on the game's moment. If I see a team mate open, I give him the puck, if he's not open then I try to do things by myself.

- Are you the team's tallest player?

- No, Alexei Filippov is taller than me. He's 190, I'm 189.

- Where does this come from? Parents?

- Maybe from my father, he's 190.

- Do you think you'll further grow?

- I think I'll grow taller, but the most important thing is to get some mass.

- Do you plan becoming a pro?

- I'm trying hard. It's my aim.

- Do you have a sport dream?

- To win the Gagarin Cup.

- With which team?

- Anyone.

- For example with Traktor?

- The important is to reach the first team within the next two years.

- Do you think about the NHL?

- No, not for now. I want to get something in Russia.

- Do you dream about the national team?

- Yes, I want to get this year already into the 94 national team. I'll try hard, maybe they'll call me.

- For example, you look the WC on the television and dream about being yourself a member of team Russia?

- Exactly. Any kid dreams about getting into the national team.

- Which are your favorite players?

- I like Alexander Ovechkin, his character and how he points the net. Sidney Crosby, he is an intelligent player, Jaromir Jagr, despite his age he's a great player. And I like many other players.

- Do you try to imitate them in something?

- Especially in shoot-outs. I often look them and then I try to replicate during the trainings.

- And who's the best shoot-out taker?

- Sidney Crosby, I like his technique a lot.

- Did you ever suffer from serious injuries?

- In Kazan I started getting some little trouble with knees. They almost decided to send me back to Chelyabinsk. Then I met Traktor's main doctor Vadim Chupa, he gave me some exercises to do and all was better.

- Have you been in many Russian cities?

- Yes, I've been to many of them. Usually during the season I spend more time traveling than at home.

- And have you been abroad too?

- In the Czech Republic, in Sweden. I liked a lot Sweden. It was a good trip, the tournament was great. It's beautiful down there. We went by bus to St. Petersburg, then to Finland and we got to Sweden after a further trip by boat, that lasted one night. That New year eve was really fun. The houses were beautiful and there wasn't trash on the streets.

- Aren't you scared not to be able to play into men hockey?

- Sometimes, but I try not to think about that. I train and give the hundred percent during games. And for now I never got any abatement.

- Do you have other activities outside of hockey? Any other passion?

- No, basically only hockey.

- Do you have a non-hockey dream?

- Not yet. I have to finish the school and get into the university.

- And what will you study there?

- I don't know, haven't thought yet. I absolutely need the highest education, hockey doesn't last forever.

Final note: After 10 games played, Valeri has 16 points in 10 games, with 11 goals. Of course he's his team's top scorer and among the league's top contributors.


October's best players under the lens

Resuming the first two months of MHL play, sports.ru wrote about the performances of its best actors – the prosecutors of Ivannikov's and Zavarzin's dinasty, the new gem of Magnitogorsk school and the Soldier admirer of Nicklas Lidstrom.

Vladimir Zavarzin

Team: Feniks Voskresensk

Age: 20

Role: Forward

Height: 6'3”

Weight: 220

The son of the popular Torpedo Yaroslavl forward Viktor Zavarzin, usually played with number 89 – the same of his birth year. He played in the junior systems of Dinamo, CSKA and Krylya Sovetov, and when he was 13 he moved from defense to attack, and was invited to play into a tournament by a team from Detroit. He spent two years there, but then he missed home too much and once got the passport he got back to Russia. His favorite players are Pavel Bure and Alexander Ovechkin (because of their hands' quickness and skating's speed) and he spends his free time surfing the internet, going to the movies or simply having a walk. Once he used to hit the ice for a game always with the right skate first, but now he stopped.

Nikita Tochitsky

Team: SKA-1946 St. Petersburg

Age: 18

Role: Forward

Height: 6'2”

Weight: 167

A graduate of St. Petersburg's hockey, son of SKA's GM Andrei Tochitsky, either being under the shadow of his dad or being him a kind of a hiding person because of his born during the year of the goat (according to Chinese calendar – ASR) avoided the attention of the press, conform to his zodiac sign. He grew a magnificent, lion-like head of hair, plays with the number 91 – the same as his year of birth. St. Petersburg's fans think that in spite his age and his not big size he might well be the leader of the local junior team. He is a disciplined player who rarely gets penalized and is able to constantly point the opponent crease and got the trust of his coach as shoot out taker.

Vladimir Repin

Team: CSKA-Krasnaya Armiya

Age: 20

Role: Defenseman

Height: 6'2”

Weight: 216

He started playing hockey at 9, starting to skate later than his co-aged in “Silver Sharks”. He was then invited in CSKA, where he was tried as d-man because of his height and size. He's an admirer of Denis Kulyash and Nicklas Lidstrom, but they aren't his idols, he wants to looks like himself only. He's always ready watching video of any kind of sport but chess and thinks that hockey is a sport for men, but doesn't hold any grudge against women hockey. His style of play is something similar to “get the puck off the opposition and give it to the nearest team mate”. He wants to become a successful player and a good man. He methodically studied shoot-outs in the last four years and now he's pretty good in this hockey fundamental.

Evgeny Ivannikov

Team: SKA-1946 St. Petesburg

Age: 18

Role: Goalkeeper

Height: 5'11”

Weight: 160

The son of the famous Soviet goalie Valeri Ivannikov first hit the ice on skates when he was only three and he wanted to become a netminder against his father's wishes. He spent most of his childhood with in-line skates and a stick, his first idol was his dad and now he sympathizes for Semen Varlamov, Evgeny Nabokov and Martin Brodeur. Before of his first chance in hockey he played football and basketball. Despite his famous name he wants to reach success by himself only and in order to get that one needs to individually work. He never played for the national team but he is ready to work hard to earn a call.

Ilya Bozhdaev

Team: SKA-1946 St. Petersburg

Age: 19

Role: Defenseman

Height: 6'2”

Weight: 190

He started playing hockey at 6 in Ufa, then he moved to St. Petersburg at 18. He is respectful towards the opponents, but plays very physically. Among the popular players he likes Darius Kasparaitis. He likes to watch many kind of sports on TV: football, basketball, boxing, MMA. His favorite basketball players are Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant. He likes a lot St. Petersburg, loves walking along the Nevsky Prospekt, the parks or simply watching at the bridges by night. He likes all sort of music, but more than everything he likes rock. His life dream is to become a good man and to help his parents; he'll try hard to learn from the best ones with the aim to overcome them.

Ildar Telyakov

Team: SKA-1946 St. Petersburg

Age: 18

Role: Defenseman

Height: 6'10”

Weight: 216

A graduate of St. Petersburg hockey school, his first trainer has been Valeri Tsalpanov. He has been brought to hockey by his parents when he was seven, before he was a tennis player and a swimmer. Once he gave a demonstration of hockey skills during a training with basketball players. Since then he never tried any kind of sport but hockey. He's a classic defenseman: he rarely joins the rush, because of his huge size he has some coordination problem. His idol is Zdeno Chara, he likes Sergei Zubov and Alexei Petrov's style and from the childhood his most uncomfortable opponents are Almaz from Cherepovets. He likes listening to jazz music and going to the cinema, where his favorite movies are war and horror ones. He likes theater too. His favorite celebrations are the New Year's day and his birthday.

Airat Ziazov

Team: Reaktor Nizhnekamsk

Age: 18

Role: Forward

Height: 5'10”

Weight: 215

He's a graduate of Nizhnekamsk hockey school and the author of the first hat trick by a Reaktor player in the MHL. His astrological sign is Aquarius, curiously enough the same as another one who had big success with reactors, the fisic Lev Landau. He's a follower of the principle: “don't have any idol” as he thinks that any man should remain himself. He plays for the fans, when there is a big crowd on the stands the emotions grew bigger. He gives credit to his team mates for his achievements and also thinks that the result of his team are more important than any individual statistic. He thinks Bars Kazan as the most dangerous opponents and regarding the MHL he said that the league should work over its attendance.

Stanislav Bocharov 

Team: Bars Kazan

Age: 18

Role: Forward

Height: 5'11”

Weight: 190

His parents – hockey fans – brought him to the hockey school when he was just five and he started playing in Khabarovsk with guys one year older than him and he had some trainings run by Alexander Mogilny. He played until he was 15 in the Amur youth system, then he moved to Kazan, and he played not only for Ak Bars, but also for Neftyanik Almetievsk. He tries hard creating his own style, but he likes Ilya Kovalchuk. He constantly plays for the junior national teams, was born on the same day as Pavel Datsyuk. He likes to do tricks while playing the puck and sometimes this hasn’t the best impact over the quality of its control. He is a very good shoot out taker and has in his achievements a hat-trick scored with the U18 national team. He tries to work on his speed and his shot’s accuracy. He tries hard to be a leader, has changed 15 sticks last season, likes the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean”, cooks at home and reads Paulo Coelho.

Sergei Tereschenko

Team: Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk

Age: 17

Role: Defenseman

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 167

A graduate of the Magnitogorsk hockey school, he has been introduced to hockey by his parents when he was five. At first he had hard times, but he never wanted to play any other kind of sport. He was the first player in the MHL history to score eight points in one week, in three matches. He always liked played as defenseman, but he plays a more offensive style like, for examples, Mike Green of the Washington Capitals. He makes everything possible not to miss a single home match of Metallurg Magnitogorsk, always follows his former team mates, is used to long transfers and likes the concept of the individual prizes in hockey. He thinks about the MHL’s Challenge Cup not like a show, but like a high-level match.

Dmitri Voloshin

Team: Stalnye Lisy

Age: 20

Role: Goalkeeper

Height: 5’10”

Weight: 175

He’s a graduated of the Magnitogorsk hockey school who regularly gets the call into the national team even if he didn’t play in the last WC as his spot has been taken by Alexander Pechursky and Vadim Zhelobnyuk. In the different age categories he faced such players like Evgeny Grachev, Nikita Filatov, Evgeny Dadonov and Pavel Kulikov and like others MHL players of the caliber of Vitaly Karamnov, Vasily Tokranov and Egor Averin he remained in Russia as he ended up undrafted. He got some experience playing in a number of international tournaments where he played also against North American teams. He has won the first “Spartakiade”. 


October best players!

As the regular season goes on, the MHL directorate named October's top players, once again conference-split like in September.
In the Western Conference, the best top goals and points scorer has been Feniks Voskresensk's Vladimir Zavarzin, with 10 goals and 11 points respectively. Nikita Tochitsky from SKA-1946 beaten him of one assist getting 12 and stripping him off the top assistman's crown. CSKA-Red Army's Vladimir Repin has been the top producer among defensemen, thanks to 12 points (4+8) in 15 matches. Ildar Telyakov and Ilya Bozhdaev from SKA-1946 top all the October's defensemen with +13 and the St.Petersburg's team trophy swap is completed by Evgeny Ivannikov, who got for the second straight month the goalie of the month honors.
In the Eastern Conference Airat Ziazov was both the top assistman and top points scorer, 18 points and 11 assists in 12 matches. In September Ziazov has been the top goalscorer with 10 markers, an award got this month by Bars' Stanislav Bocharov with 11 goals. Stalnye Lisy's Sergei Tereschenko has topGrassettoped all defensemen in the East with ten points (4+6) in as many matches. He topped other defensemen also in the +/- stat with an impressive +16. His team mate Dmitri Voloshin got best goalie honors with a 1.70 GAA.
Despite many MHL stars will play in the different international tournaments scheduled for November's first couple of weeks the league won't stop the games.


Challenge Cup coaches announced

The MHL will host the first Challenge Cup in St. Petersburg, Russia, on 2010 February 6th at the 5PM (Local time). The Challenge Cup will be a sort of All Stars Game and it will feature a match between Western and Eastern Conferences. 

Western team's coach will be Loko's head coach and 1992 Olympic Gold Medal Nikolai Borschevsky, while Eastern team's coach will be Tolpar Ufa's Alexander Semak. Every club will send at least one player to the gala match, that will be judged with the 4 referees system.

Any possible date for the rosters' unveilment hasn't been released.


Q&A with Samvel Mnatsyan

MHL Hockey is proud to present you Samvel Mnatsyan, Omskie Yastreby's defenseman with junior national team experience. The 20-years-old defensive defenseman scored this year so far two points in fourteen matches. In this interview David talked about MHL's first season, about his play with the Hawks and about his life.

Hello Samvel. Where were you born and when you started playing ice hockey?

I was born in Omsk, and when I was seven my parents subscribed me to the hockey program.

What was your first team?

Avangard Omsk, the team of my city.

Why you picked hockey instead of other popular sports, like football or basketball?

The son of my father’s friend used to play hockey and my dad decided to make me play too. In Omsk hockey is definitely the most popular sport.

Can you resume quickly your career?

I played in “D.YU.S.SH.” (Russian system’s sports school) Avangard until I was 17, I was the team’s captain and I was also called to the Russian U-18 national team. In the last three years I played for Avangard’s junior-farm team.

Can you describe a little your game?

I am a defensive defenseman who can play physically.

Is there anything you try to specifically train?

At the end of any training session I and one of my team mates work out with shoots and skating.

How do you join sports and studies?

I study by correspondence, I’m always busy with lesson during the free time!

What current NHL/KHL player you pattern your game after?

In the NHL I like Anton Volchenkov and Dion Phaneuf, in the KHL I like Daniil Markov’s style.

Who is the player from the main team who helped you more in your career?

Evgeny Kurbatov. I do extra-work with him every day.

This is the MHL’s first season. How would you judge it?

I think that this is a big step forward for Russian hockey’s development. Now there is an increased attention on our league from fans and press. There was a rise in the organization’s level, the league became closer to the overseas analogues.

How would you describe your personality?

Kind-hearted, purposeful, hard-working.

Best moment of the season?

There is still nothing in particular that I can be proud of, but I’m sure that the best is in front of me!

And the worse?

The knock-out bowl we got from Sibirskie Snaipery. (Omskie Yastreby lost 7-0 to them on September 29th - ASR)

How's your typical day during the season?

I get up, have the breakfast, then training (on and off the ice), some day sleep is compulsory…evening training then if I can I meet up with friends and go to the movies.

How many sticks did you use this year?

Around twenty.

What do you think about the performances of Russian national team?

Nowadays Russia has the strongest national team of the world, I believe that they can win the gold in Vancouver!

Favourite movie?

Dumb and dumber with Jim Carey.

Favourite book?

Harry Potter.

Favourite dish?

Fried chicken with spaghetti.

Favourite NHL team?

Colorado Avalanche

Favourite KHL team?

Avangard Omsk

And last but not the least, Stanley Cup or Olympic gold?

Stanley Cup!


September best players!

As the first month of the season is now history, the MHL directorate awarded September's first months, with awards given both to Western and Eastern Conference.

Western Conference's top scorer has been 20-years-old Stanislav Levin, thanks to an impressive 14 points in 10 games, with 6 goals, while the same stat top contributor among defensemen is so far MHL's face Alexei Marchenko (CSKA-Krasnaya Armiya), with eight points.

September's top goal scorer has been probably the player who looked better so far, Dynamo Moscow's Nikita Dvurechensky, with seven goals, while Alexander Aleshkin from Almaz Cherepovets resulted as best assistman with nine helpers.

Alexander Ataev from Dynamo and Spartak's Artem Zemchenok were the best +/- index with +9.

Goalkeeper Evgeny Ivannikov, who plays for SKA-1946, got the best goalie honors thanks to his impressive GAA of 1,14.

In the Eastern Conference, dynamic forward Daniil Kaskov from Avto dominated the offensive stats as he was the top scorer with 20 points and the best assistman with 16 helpers. Among defensemen, Tolpar's Artur Kutdusov topped all blueliners with 7 points.

Promising Airat Ziazov, from Reaktor Nizhnekamsk, scored more goals than anyone else, 10. +14 has been the best stat for the +/-, registered by Tolpar's Egor Kuptsov.

Last but not the least, Eastern Conference September's top goalie was Tolpar's Vladimir Sokhatsky, with a GAA of 1.20, despite the strong performances of Avto's Alexander Soloviev.


Prospects breakdown - MHL who's who (Part 2)

After we presented you the players to watch in Moscow and its nearby towns, we present now the rest of the Western Conference. A team that always produced lots of talent is Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. A prominent careers builder, the former railroad workers team always had lots of young players with itself. It's not a case that they are now on the top of Western Conference's standings. Nowadays' most interesting player is a versatile forward who isn't spending much time in the MHL as he's playing with the big boys in the KHL and just recently scored his first goal. We're talking about Daniil Sobchenko, an offensive player capable to play both center and winger who almost never represented Russia on the international stage because of conflicts with Vladimir Plyuschev. Sobchenko, who has his excellent passing game as main weapon, was thought to be one of the MHL stars, but he's going beyond the expectations, playing a regular role in the KHL. Another player meant to be one of the MHL top players is Anton Klementyev, who instead opted to sign an ELC with the New York Islanders. Sergei Ostapchuk, who spent last season in the QMJHL with Rouyn-Noranda, skated in only two games, getting an assist in both challenges. Also Ostapchuk already got his KHL experience. Maybe, coming the late stages, Loko will see these players more often, trying to catch the first-ever MHL title. For now, they are a team who plays a good team game without depending too much on one or two players. Top goalscorer Maxim Zyuzyakin is on good shape, he scored the GWG in the recent clash against MHK Dinamo and netted a total of 6 goals so far.

The third seed in the West is taken by SKA-1946. The St. Petersburg's team, who's coached by Italo-Canadian Ivano Zanatta, had the first-ever MHL shutout with its 1988-born goalie Nikita Starikov, who's having a convincing season so far even if he's still far from the KHL level. His colleague Evgeny Ivannikov is having a good season too. One of the most awaited players from me for this season was offensive defenseman Georgy Berdyukov, Georgy Berdyukov but he was quickly sent to SKA's High League affiliated to play against men. An interesting name is Magomed Gimbatov, and not only because he's the first KHL player from Dagestan. Grow up in St. Petersburg and earned his hockey experience both in this city and in Novokuznetsk, the dynamic winger has played only four games so far as he started the season with the main team, but he scored four points. The team's top scorer is surprisingly Yaroslav Gorbachenko, author of 11 points in ten games. The 20-years old is in a red hot strike as he scored six games in the last three games, but the whole team looks like being in great shape as they just asphalted Mytischie Atlanty 7-0 at home. Gorbachenko was also the shoot-out scorer in the SKA-1946's 1-0 win against Feniks Voskresensk in September 6th. The St. Petersburg team has also got one of the league's top assistmen in Nikita Tochitsky.

It's legit to expect some good things also from Almaz Cherepovets. The team has hosted a good number of younger players with big success, including Phoenix Coyotes' Viktor Tikhonov, Boston's draftee Yuri Alexandrov, Maxim Chudinov and others. In the start of the year two-way defenseman Bogdan Kiselevich was with Almaz, but he has been called up in the KHL and never sent back to the junior team. Another really interesting player is center Sergei Chvanov. Back in April he was team Russia's captain in the U18 WJC in the USA (where Russia lost the final match to the hosts), but curiously he's not Almaz's captain, a role taken by forward Anton Tikhonov. Chvanov isn't having too much of success, he scored a double in the very first match, then he scored again in the following match and then he disappeared from the scoresheet, but he's also went to the KHL route and thus isn't having too many chances in both leagues. There is another player worth mentioning: the homonym of Metallurg Novokuznetsk defenseman, Washington Capitals draftee Dmitri Orlov. The talented winger plays first line hockey and has rewarded his team with eight points in as many matches, with five goals so far. Despite his undeniable talent he needs to find some consistency as he doesn’t manage to score on a regular basis as he tends getting many points in one game just to be silent for the next couple of contests.
Chaika from Nizhny Novgorod isn’t having a good season so far and in their lineup they don’t feature any real star. They are now third-last in the Western Conference standings, just ahead of Feniks Voskresensk and Mytischie Atlanty.


Alexander Soloviev - best MHL goalie so far

Avto's Alexander Soloviev is the hottest goalie in the MHL, despite in the league play some potential stars like Alexander Pechursky or Igor Bobkov. In the nine matches he played he had seven wins, three shut outs and...one goal! Yes, because in a game against Novokuznetskie Medvedi, with the empty net, defenseman Anton Rekhtin touched the puck backwards, but without purpose he fired up a true tragicomic situation with the puck hitting the back of his own net. Not to mention the shock of the crowd when the speaker announced that the goal scorer was the away team's goalie, as the last opponent to touch the puck. "Yeah it was nice to be a 'goal scorer', but getting the third shut out of the season was even better" - he declared hours later to the popular Russian hockey portal allhockey.ru. Soloviev is thus the best goalie of this MHL start, and Avto has to thank especially him for the very good results so far. They are now the second seed on the Eastern Conference with 20 points, the same as Tolpar, which has played two games less. Tolpar Ufa, though, did defeat them in their encounter as today scored three goals to Soloviev in Ekaterinburg, while Avto scored only two. The home team was up 2-0 after the first horn, but a strong third period by the MHL leaders was too much for them and Soloviev didn't stop the shots coming from Hamko and Kutdusov, who got a double. Tolpar played without the league's second top scorer, Maxim Frolov. In the only five matches he played, he scored twelve points, not a bad stats at all. The first overall MHL scorer is Reaktor's Airat Ziazov, with 14 points in 6 matches.


Alexander Avtsin scores a double, Alexander Khokhlachev gets the GWG, young stars are growing up.

Moscow stars Alexander Avtsin and Alexander Khokhlachev started gaining momentum lately and they showed in the last gamedays. In the match between Feniks Voskresensk and MHK Dinamo, won by Dinamo 5-1, Montreal Canadiens' prospect scored a double. Thanks to this strong perfomance now Alexander has three goals in five matches, with an assist too) and he gained a call up for the KHL match between his Dinamo and CSKA Moscow of September 22nd, in which he played his first KHL shifts, only three though. But this is good anyway for him, as he could taste some play against the pros and so on. Plus, he's gaining confidence as he's started producing in the MHL, and getting on the scoresheet is always for a forward, no matter the league he's playing in. His line made up of him, Vitaly Karamnov and Nikita Dvurechensky is one of the hottest in the league and it doesn't look like it's going to change soon as they are gaining chemistry too.

Still in Moscow, but on the Spartak side, another young player started making a name for himself. 16-years old Alexander Khokhlachev scored the GWG in the recent MHK Spartak win against a stacked Atlant Mytischi. Being him heavily underaged, he's 5 years younger than the MHL oldest players, it's hard for him to get quality ice time, but he isn't wasting it. Even if he scored only two points so far (he picked up an assist in his very first match) he's improving and his goal in the match played on September 20th is confirming that. In Moscow many hope that Spartak senior team's head coach Milos Riga will give him a chance with the first team like the last season he did with another blue chip prospect, Kirill Kabanov.


MHL missed stars: Alexander Burmistrov

1992-born Alexander Burmistrov was thought to be a MHL star this season, but he missed the chance to play for Bars as he instead moved to Barrie to play with the Colts in the Ontario Hockey League. In this translated interview originally by Andrei Osadchenko of allhockey.ru Burmistrov talked about Ak Bars' conditions to release him to play for Barrie and shared his first impressions about the OHL.

Moving to a different team isn't an easy deal. Moving overseas is even tougher. But the young forward Alexander Burmistrov, who spent last season playing for Ak Bars' second team in Russian third tier league, seems to be fitting well in Canada and feels that moving to the OHL was the right thing.

You moved to Barrie around a month ago. I guess you managed to see the whole city.

Almost everything, yes. It's a beautiful city. Right in the middle there is a big lake. I've liked everything so far.

Would it be correct to call it a hockey city?

Yes. You can say that everyone is a hockey fan.

People recognize you while on streets?

No, not yet. (smiles)

Do you have at home something from your club?

I've hanged the jersey they gifted me on draft day. And also one of those little jerseys, with my surname as well.

Won't you talk about the pluses and minuses of this city?

(pauses) Well I still don't know that. I like a lot the arena. Here it's still warm and it's good. (smiles)

Aren't you worried by the winters? They say that the winters are cold in Canada...

No. I don't know, I think winters are colder in Russia. (smiles)

How do you spend your free time?

I go to the downtown, or to the movies, I surf the web...nothing special.

Which movie you watches as last?

The third part of “Final Destination”, on 3D format. I've liked it. I've watched the whole series.

Was it the first time you watched a movie in English?

Yes, but it was alright. I've understood everything. (smiles)

Do you live in a family?

Yes. I live with a nice family in a big house. By the way, this family is fairly rich. My mom arrived just now and she'll be here until September 19th.

How many other guys live in this family?

The goalkeeper of my team also lives here.

Do they stably feed you?

Yes, as soon as we want to eat, we just have to tell them and they'll cook. They eat a little bit of everything, but I'm always asking for meat.

You've already spent some trainings with your new team. What can you tell us about it?

Here I like everything. Good team, good players. We understand each other. I mix up with everyone, and everyone treats me well. In a match I've been roughed up and because of that a brawl started.

If it's not a secret, under which conditions Ak Bars let you go? Kirill Kabanov found some troubles in a similar situation...

I should play here one season, improve...and then I should get back and play for Ak Bars.

In the very first match you played with the Colts, you scored against Guelph. You couldn't have any better or you could have done more?

It's good that I've scored in my very first match, but still I could have scored more. The score was 9-4 and I think it represented what was happening on the ice. We were better than them. Then we lost again 7-2 at Sudbury, and then we won against Owen Sound Attack 5-3. This team was rather good.

In Guelph this year will play two other Russians: Evgeny Molotilov and Vadim Guskov. Did you manage to meet them?

I knew Molotilov, I've talked to him before and after the match, while I don't know the other guy. By the way, here in Barrie arrived yet another Russian – Denis Gladkov from CSKA. But they said him, that he'll play for them only starting from the next season. Not in this one.

Many talk about the differences between the methods in Russian and Canadian training. What can you tel us about that?

In the first place, here the trainings are run at higher speed. Secondly, in Russia you have two or even three sessions a day, here only one, but you're going to be tired at the end. You get out from the trainings without forces, get home and go sleeping.

Having spent some time in the OHL, how can you compare the level of the league with the Russian first division (the third tier league in which he used to play, now substituted by the MHL - ASR)?

I think that the First league was better than today's MHL, because there you had to play against men, not only juniors. If we compare these leagues with the OHL, then the OHL is better. Once again, there is a lot of speed in here.

You moved to Canada right after the Russian junior national team tour in the USA. Can you compare these two countries?

I don't know. But the city in which we played, Lake Placid, yes, I didn't like it at all. And it looked like there wasn't too much other than the arena. More like a resort city. Barrie is definitely better.

If we talk about the mini series against team USA, Russian junior national team didn't get great results. What was the main reason of this debacle in your opinion?

The refs didn't let us play. In the last play they pretty much condemned us to lose. The referees were good only in the third match, which we won. And even in there they were biased against us.

The refereeing was the same as in the finals of the last U18 WJC?

Yes. Maybe it was even worse.

The Americans were too good or it was all referees' fault?

No, it wasn't all refs' fault. We are guilty too since we lost. Team USA is very good, but we aren't any worse.

What did national junior team head coach Vladimir Plyuschev think about your leave? Will he keep on counting on you for the national team?

I've talked with him, all is good and we will be in contact. He trusts me and I want to help the team winning the WJC.

In next November, the national junior team will play one game in your new team's arena. Do you think you'll play as guest in front of your home fans?

I think I'll play. After all the coach has to watch me before the WJC. It's the only time they can do that. And only two matches: in Barrie and in Windsor.


I had an interview at OHL Prospects

Today I've had an interview with the popular OHL blog "OHL Prospects". The blog is run by Brock Otten, one of the most acknoweledged OHL bloggers out there. In the interview me and Brock talked about the 2010 Russian players in the Ontario Hockey League (who will be Alexander Burmistrov, Stefan Stepanov, Roman Berdnikov, Ramis Sadikov, Ivan Telegin, Valeri Knyazev, maybe Anton Klementyev, Vadim Guskov and Viktor Perezhogin).

The whole interview can be read here. Thanks again to Brock for the chance!


Prospects breakdown - MHL who's who (Part 1)

Following the request of our reader Jake in my latest entry, I've decided to write down some breakdown about the players to watch. Known and less known.

Let's start from the most known one, Alexander Avtsin, who plays for MHK Dinamo Moscow. The Montreal Canadiens draftee is one of the league's start, despite ending scoreless in the first MHL match he played, against Red Army. He didn't participate to the second match as he was a call-up for Dinamo's main team in a preseasonal match, confirming that he's one of the first junior players considered for a callup in a very stacked KHL team. The quick power forward, who has been often compared to Alexander Ovechkin, might play a key role in his team, but he needs to start producing after his not good first game. But well, it was only one game.

In his same team some other interesting players get good ice time. Nikita Dvurechensky is among them. Described as "a skilled winger with an excellent touch around the net and interesting finishing abilities" in an April Hockey's Future article I wrote myself, Dvurechensky already showed his stuff in the MHL start as he scored two goals and one assist in the first game, staying off the score-sheet in the second. Ranked highly enough for the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, #12 among Russians in the Russian Prospects' rankings, he ended up undrafted, most likely because of the notorious problems in movements from Russia to America.

Another interesting player from MHK Dinamo is the former OHL player Vitaly Karamnov. The center, who has been in Edmonton's radar in 2007, is a playmaking center gifted with good technique and skating, who has been misteriously not drafted. Pavel Zotov, 1991-born center, is more solid and probably strongest on the faceoff dots, but is still raw and despite being a regular in Russia-91 he has been overlooked during the rankings time and consequently for the draft.

Let's remain in Moscow. CSKA-Krasnaya Armiya showcases in its lineup one of the "MHL faces", offensive defenseman Alexei Marchenko. A typical Russian defenseman, Marchenko (the stress in his surname is in the first syllab) is an average sized defenseman who might have to work on his body, but that is able to do exciting rushes end-to-end with the puck on the blade. And he can finish them too as he did in the second game of the season against MHK Dinamo, where he scored a double. He likes to play with some edge and is fairly aggressive without exaggerating, like sometimes junior players do when they want to show some aggressivity. He has definitely KHL potential, but I think that he might be considered for the 2010 NHL draft as he can develop into a NHL level powerplay quarterback.

League's topscorer, right winger Nikita Gusev is so far Krasnaya-Armiya's best player. He still has to demonstrate that he can do it throughout the whole season, but his speed, play without the puck and nose for the net are interesting features that might give him a spot in the U18 national team. CSKA's goalie Pavel Suchkov, 2011 eligible as he's a late 1992-born, is having a good start, looking better than his colleague Anton Todykov. But well, there is a reason if Suchkov is a national team player and Todykov not. Good things are expected also from small winger Sergei Barbashev, whose skill level is surely noticeable, but it had a bit of hard time in the MHL start, indicating that he needs to bulk up and mature as a player. Curiously enough, 1993-born Nikita Kucherov had an excellent start with three goals in the first two matches, way better than many of the highly touted players we talked about.

Our trip around Moscow isn't over yet as in Spartak Moscow other players worthy a mention keep on growing up in the prolific talent factory. The dynamic duo formed by 18-year old Artem Voronin and 17-years old Alexander Gogolev might be yet another offensive weapon that can cause havoc in any opposition, while the future star Alexander Khokhlachev, 1993 born, has started growing and already scored his first MHL point with an assist in MHK Spartak's win against Chaika Nizhny Novgorod. Among the three players is of course Khokhlachev the most promising one, he has everything that a forward needs, being able to count on an excellent shot, a very good technique, great skating and even a good size considering his age.

The Moscow territory counts other four teams: Atlant (Mytischi), Sherif (Balashikha), Feniks (Voskresensk), Russkie Vityazi (Chekhov) and MHK Krylya Sovetov. Atlant might have the most complete and experienced first line, if their head coach Vladimir Kucherenko will decide to ice together Pavel Chernov, Anton Lazarev and Oleg Yashin. All the three players have KHL and national junior team experience, and being the three all different kind of hockey player they might fit very well together. Pavel Chernov is a very good playmaking center with a good physical play despite a relative small size. Anton Lazarev is a quick forward with smooth skating and above average finishing abilities, Oleg Yashin is a talented winger who can put it in the back of the net if he gets the right pass. Sherif Balashikha and Feniks Voskresensk have less interesting teams, who will most likely struggle throughout the whole season, while MHK Krylya Sovetov and Russkie Vityazi has much more interesting players, especially the latter. Krylya Sovetov's 1992-born forward Ignat Zemchenko is one of the players to watch, together with his team mates Artur Ganzvind and Dmitri Gromov. Russkie Vityazi instead can count on a very good trio made up of Artemy Panarin, Petr Kopytsov and Georgi Belousov. Their team started very well the season and after three matches they top the Western Conference with six points.

For this issue it's all. The second part will follow soon with the rest of the top MHL talent.


MHL starts: MHK Dinamo skates past Red Army

In the first-ever MHL match, played on September 4th in Moscow, MHK Dinamo downed CSKA-Krasnaya Armiya with a 6-2 score. Everyone was probably waiting for Alexander Avtsin to get the goals for Dinamo, but instead Nikita Dvurechensky, highly ranked player for the 2009 drafted, has been the game's top player scoring two goals, one assist and having many other chances throughout the game. In the first ten minutes of the match Dinamo had almost no chance to get past the central red line, but after a couple of powerplays for the Red Army the white and blues exploited a couple of good chances on counterattacks, in both cases putting the puck high glove side, first with Roman Vasiliev, then with Nikita Dvurechensky. "It was pleasant to score the first-ever MHL hockey, of course. I trained such kind of shoots with Afanasenkov" - declared Vasiliev to the popular Russian hockey network www.allhockey.ru

After allowing the second goal, CSKA coach Andrei Parfenov replaced Anton Todykov with the U18 national team goalie Pavel Suchkov, who looked more confortable, at least at the start. In the second period the music changed as Dinamo's quick counterattacks have been better contained by the Red Army, who managed first to cut down opponents' lead after a beautiful two-on-one play inspired by Nikita Gusev finalized by Nikita Kucherov, then with Gusev, tapping in a rebound left by Dinamo goalie Sharychenkov after a shot by Kucherov again.

But in the third period the more experienced Dinamo players taken the game away scoring four goals. The eventual game winner has been scored by Nikita Dvurechensky, who crashed the net puck on the blade to put the puck past Suchkov from close range. A bunch of minutes later Dinamo scored other two goals in a 25-second range with Kombachev and Biryukov, the second on an assist by former WHL player Vitaly Karamnov. At the 57'30" Dinamo player Kuzmin made it 6-2 with a shorthanded goal.

"It was a good game. We had good nerves and we won thanks to a good display by our forwards" - declared MHK Dinamo's coach Anatoli Antipov.

Scouting notes

Dinamo players

Alexander Avtsin: served as first line left wing with Zotov and Kuzmin...despite having some chances, was rather quite...probably he felt the pressure...good when his team has the puck, has to learn what to do when the other team has the possession...got two penalties, one of them for revenge...can crash the net, but has to work on his finishing...not a bad performance, but either not the best one...

Vitaly Zotov: a solid center good in the face-off dots...can work on his play but is pretty all-around thanks to his good fundamentals...may be a tad more creative...

Nikita Dvurechensky: the game's MVP...scored two goals and assisted on another...good use of the size both along the boards and open ice...very good stickhandling and nose for the net...looks like a mature player, deserves a chance with Dinamo's main team...

CSKA-Krasnaya Armiya

Alexei Marchenko: a very interesting offensive defenseman with good playmaking abilities who can serve as powerplay quarterback...good hand-eye coordination...very good puck handling, especially while going end to end with the puck on the blade...plays confidently, with some edge in the corners...has to bulk up...

Marat Urakcheev: iced as first line right winger has played surprisingly well even if not consistently...displayed a very good stickhandling...despite being not a top player managed to hold his spot on the team's first unit...

Sergei Barbashev: played not up to the expectations...has been quite uneffective throughout the whole game...served as second line left winger with Roman Lyubimov and center Artem Maslov...


CSKA – Krasnaya Armiya – MHK Dinamo 2:6 (0:2, 2:0, 0:4)
0:1 Vasiliev (Kombachev) 11:11 0:2 Dvurechensky (Khamidulin) 14:48 1:2 Kucherov (Gusev) 34:28 2:2 Gusev (Kucherov, Noskov) 39:58 PP 2:3 Dvurechensky 41:40 2:4 Biryukov (Karamnov, Kuzmin) 47:06 2:5 Kombachev (Dvurechensky) 47:06 2:6 Kuzmin (Burets) 57:30 SH


MHL Stars: Alexei Marchenko

17-years old defenseman, Red Army hot prospect talks about what’s important for youngsters and about what’s needed to do in order to have them remain in Russia and not bolting for the NHL. Translated interview from www.championat.ru

I’m a bit tired as there was movement, tension. But it was pleasant to work that way. It was the first time and everything is new – said Alexei Marchenko. It was pleasant to be shown in the league’s photo-session. But it brings responsibilities…

Which ones?

Well, once you are selected as “league’s face” you have to show that you deserve it. There will be many things around you. And you have to work harder on you to become successful.

Did you ever had such an attention on you from the press? You had more interviews today than in your whole life…

(laughs) You said that! But I think that it’s possible to get used to it. I really want that journalists will write and talk more about us. And that they will show us more. That would be interesting, otherwise it looks that you’re playing for yourself only.

Do you expect a lot of changes from the creation of the MHL?

Of course. There will be more attention on young players on the press, television, internet. That’s the most important thing, I guess, as people will know more about us and our style. Earlier only the experts know about youngster tournaments, or not? Well, also our parents. And that’s pretty much all. Almost no one knew us a part ourselves. But now the MHL will help the usual hockey fans to know more about us, about the generation of players that will soon represent Russia on the international stage. I guess that this will be interesting for the people. And it’s a big plus. And the league will interact well with the KHL as all the players will be seen more.

And the attention is for you young players the most important thing, isn’t it?

Yes! I really want to play and exhibit in front of many spectators. Usually in the junior leagues there are like 300 persons. Wow, what is that?!?! Who knows who won the junior leagues last year? I think not much people knows that. But everyone will know who’ll win the Kharlamov Cup. I think that any player wants to be recognized by the fans. We do play for the fans, and not for ourselves.

Do you like the Cup’s denomination? Kharlamov Cup?

It’s a very good denomination. And it’s correct. I’m glad about it. Kharlamov will be appreciated in 50 years, in 100 years, even in 150. His name will never die. He will be remembered. He was a great player, known in all over the world. The cup will be named after him and that’s right. To be the first conqueror of the cup would be honourable.

Do you expect that the junior hockey organization would raise after the creation of the MHL?

Yes, it should. But don’t know how. At CSKA it was all good even earlier. I can’t say anything bad about the organization. And if it will be even better, then it would be great.

Which aims did you set up for the upcoming season?

To win the first MHL title. The first Kharlamov Cup. And only that! I also would like to play a couple of games for the main team. It would be good to play some matches.

When you estimate to be permanently called to the first team?

I don’t know. When it will turn out. I’ll work and try hard. All depend on I’ll play in the MHL. Of course I want to be there as soon as possible. I think that it’s getting more real now. It’s possible to get to the first team only if you play well in the junior league and if you prove to be one of the best players of your age group. And then if the coach sees you, you’ll get in. You only have to work.

In your opinion, there will be many changes in CSKA with Vyacheslav Bykov leaving and Sergei Nemchinov coming? How this will influence the future of the CSKA young players and yours in particular?

The team is really young, and as I’ve understood, they will trust youngsters a lot. I’ve never worked under Nemchinov, but he was the national junior team’s coach and he grabbed the third place at the WJC. That’s a good result. They almost won against Canada. The results say that he’s a good coach with youngsters. And if in CSKA there will be more youngsters that will be a plus for me and for the other guys. It’s our chance.

Any youngster dreams about the NHL. You too?

I’m still under contract with CSKA and I see my future only with this team. I still have a lot to work and to play to grow to a higher level. I’ll think about that only if I’ll reach that level. In the meantime I want to play for CSKA, I’ll try hard to get to the first team. But of course thinking about the NHL doesn’t hurt. (smiles)

How do you think, is it really possible that Russian young players will stop dreaming about the NHL and understand that there is a great opportunity for them to play in Russia?

All depends on the KHL. The NHL, thanks to his enormous history and such, it’s a lot popular. There are a lot of spectators and the media reports about everything. If in the KHL it will be the same, then what’s the point of going there? It’s a matter of organization.

And what can you say after KHL’s inaugural season?

You could have seen the improvements from the old Superliga straight away, it became considerably better. Even the matches became more interesting. Some NHL players arrived. Jaromir Jagr. Now Sergei Fedorov. Anyone would play with such players. Of course nothing can immediately change. But I really want to play in the KHL after this season. We'll see how it will be in a few years. To speak the truth, why go to the NHL, if it's possible to play in the KHL at the same level? You know, many guys just want to play where the stands are filled and that's the reason they look to America. Because here they wouldn't need anything special. But that's the past. Now there is the MHL, the KHL. Players want to come here from the NHL. Let them not be the younger ones. But it's not the end of the game. And Jiri Hudler arrived to Dinamo, he's 25. It's remarkable, that a player on his peak opted not for the NHL, but for the KHL.


- Alexei Marchenko was born in Moscow in January 2nd, 1992
- He's 6'0”, 163 lbs
- A graduate of the Spartak junior system, he moved to CSKA when the team folded three years ago.
- He's a regular of Russia-92 national team and he just participated to the last Ivan Hlinka Memorial, where he posted one goal and three points in four games.
- A right stick offensive defenseman, can play on both sides and is very versatile.
- He was featured in the first MHL photo-session and in the Moscow ads.

MHL releases the list of the 16 years old players cleared to play

MHL just released the list of the 16 years old players who have been cleared to play in the following season. As said earlier, the league is open to any player from 17 to 21, with the possibility for the 16 years old only after the permission of the parents and the success of a very accurate medical test. The list is the following:

Nikita Kucherov (Krasnaya-Armiya), Alexander Serdyukov (Russkie Vityazi), Roman Konkov, Stepan Vyrin (both - Chaika), Oleg Misyul (Loko), Alexander Khokhlachev (MHK Spartak), Andrei Makarov, Andrey Sigarev, Danil Metlyuk and Andrei Tarasov (all - Ladia).


New logos and uniform released

Logos and uniforms keep on being released while we are getting close to the MHL start, scheduled for September 4th. The first team to present something new in the recent weeks has been Tolpar, Salavat Yulaev's junior team. 

Around a week ago they unveiled their logo, a good effort if you're going to ask me:

After Tolpar, Sibir Novosibirsk's affiliate Sibirskie Snaypery unveiled something interesting: their jersey

And today the last display: Feniks Voskresensk's logo and jerseys. Good effort once again!


MHL ads in Moscow

While the Kabanov case goes on MHL hockey presents you some pics I shoot myself in Moscow, featuring the MHL ads on the city's streets.

Spartak's Alexander Khokhlachev:

Red Army's Alexei Marchenko:

And last but not the least, Montreal Canadien's and Dinamo's Alexander Avtsin:


The Ivan Telegin's case

Ivan Telegin, one of the most 1992 born talented players, is reporting to the OHL. But he did it in an unusual way...

To better explain, here follows a translation of an article by Kirill Petrov appeared a couple of weeks ago on the popular Russian portal allhockey.ru

Allhockey.ru's analyst tried to clarify the situation created around Metallurg Novokuznetsk's center Ivan Telegin, who recently bought out his contract with his team in order to pursue a North American career.

In all his latest interviews, being them to Russian or Canadian press, you could see that he appeared offended by his alma mater club which, in the player's opinion, is guilty to not see in him such a talent like forward Maxim Kitsyn or blue liner Dmitri Orlov, national junior team's players who debucted for Metallurg Novokuznetsk during the last season.

Telegin, differently from another national team player from Metallurg, goalkeeper Sergei Kostenko, won't be back in Novokuznetsk. He's awaiting his chance in North America.

However, it's certainly known that in case of his depart to America the national junior team Vladimir Kryuchkov won't call him. In spite of that, he's now practicing in the team's first line with Kirill Kabanov (and Stanislav Galiev - ASR).

"I've discussed with Ivan, I've asked him to remain in Novokuznetsk, where he would now get as much ice time as possible" - said Metallurg Nk's GM Valeri Rozhikin. "But the guy choose a different development way. He decided to leave overseas."

Team's head coach Dmitri Parkhomenko, who got appointed this summer after the team decided to fire Soviet legend Boris Mikhailov, is dissatisfied too. But he never tried to obstacle Telegin’s plans and during this offseason Ivan took part to [Metallurg Nk’s MHL team] Kuznetskie Medvedi’s training camp for a week and even to an ice session with the main team.

"It's his life, his career...I can only give the guy some advices, but it's of course up to him only – added Parkhomenko.

Metallurg Nk's head coach patiently awaited for the club's graduate to change idea and remain with the club for a further couple of seasons, like defenseman Dmitri Orlov did even if he was drafted in the late july by the Caps with the 55th overall pick.

But starting from middle March, when Metallurg Nk came back from Magnitogorsk as gold medal winners in the Russian Championship for juniors 1991-92 born, Telegin practically hadn't train with the team. At first the player suffered from a shoulder problem, then he had some rocky time at school. Differently from most of his gold medal team mates, who will carry on their education in the [Novokuznetsk’s university] VUZ, Telegin is yet to take a decision. North America had already been promised to the player. For Ivan himself the depart for the Canadian junior leagues is a chance to get picked up in the 2010 NHL entry draft, but as far as now it's evident that Telegin still can't shadow the likes of Kirill Kabanov, Vladimir Tarasenko and Evgeny Kuznetsov.

But Telegin gets his own track. According to allhockey.ru inside information, the sum for breaking his contract was 800,000 rubles, around $25,000. It's interesting that a 17 years old guy from Russia tried to get a foreign agent, while his Russian agent (Sergei Paremuzov – the same as Sergei Shirokov, ASR) was interested in having him stay at home.

But even without Telegin, “Kuznya” won't sink. Playmaking center Sergei Simonov might already crack not only Metallurg Nk's lineup, but he might also get in the roster of Kryuchkov's under 18 national team. Telegin's departure opens a door also to other champion team mates like defenseman Zakhar Arzamastsev and Ivan Strebkov.

The same Telegin won't sink without Metallurg Nk. The guy is now going to repeat Alexander Radulov's path, trying to break the NHL after consolidating in the junior leagues. Will he be successful? Or will he give up? We'll know only with time...


MHL gets two new teams

After a meeting in Moscow with MHL director Dmitri Efimov, some decisions have been taken, the most important one is regarding the teams playing in the league. Two new teams have been admitted to the league, even though differently.

MHK Krylya Sovetov, who will play in Setun (Moscow), will start playing in the MHL directly in September 4th, when the league will start. They and Feniks Voskresensk will be the only teams without a KHL counterpart.

The second team instead will eventually enter in the MHL only if they will win (or get the first seeds, that's not yet announced) in the qualification tournament that will be played on 2010 February/March. The team is Amur Khabarovsk's junior team.

Unfortunately, some details haven't been announced yet, exactly like the format of the qualification tournament for the 2010/11 season.

Dmitri Efimov in the end of the press conference also announced that in the next season the league will probably host more teams and that, possibly, the MHL will feature also foreign teams.


Kirill Kabanov: going to Canada would be the best option

After Kirill Kabanov has been announced to Salavat Yulaev Ufa many rumors arisen. At first it looked like his new head coach Vyacheslav Bykov would have offered him not less than 10 minutes of ice play, quite impressive considering how stacked the team is. But then further rumors has been spread, especially about him reporting to Moncton, the team which drafted him on the latest CHL Import Draft with the seventh overall pick. In this interview by Andrei Osadchenko and translated by Alessandro Seren Rosso Kabanov confirmed the latter...

Did you recieve any other offer, a part the one from Salavat?

Yes, from Atlant, Metallurg Mg and Lokomotiv. I don't know, maybe Spartak asked too much money for the transfer.

Would you agree to play in the MHL for Salavat's farm team?

The contract they offered me was one-way, without the possibility to play in the junior league.

Recently in the press they wrote about a possible move to Moncton of the QMJHL. Is this realistic?

I think that as far as now it's the best option.

Did the Wildcats talk with you?

Yes. Now we go to Slovakia (for the Ivan Hlinka Tournament - note), where my agent is awaiting me with the contract. I've signed the transfer card. I'll wait for KHL decision, where they will send me and if nothing works out I'll go to Moncton. The fact is that should I go to Salavat or remain with Spartak, then I'll be locked in Russia 'til I'll be 28. I'll have a professional contract until I'll be 22, then I can only play for Salavat or being traded to another KHL team. As far as now, this is what I think it's written in the league's rulebook.

Many experts give you high ratings for the next NHL draft. Would you like to play in the NHL?

Yeah. Well, I would not want this, but, as i've told u already, they taught us that, when we played in the children hockey.
They taught us, that the NHL is everything. Life, money, glory it's the top of hockey's world... Now Russia is going on the correct way. They advise the youngsters not to go there and they made everything to prevent it. I was bred up in a different way. I was trained who prepared Ovechkin and Kovalchuk, who now play in the NHL. I don't know, maybe nowadays youngsters grown thinking that the KHL is everything. I even saw a commercial with a kid saying "KHL is my future". It's possible that this is why they grow up like that, and it's correct. It's good to remain in Russia, but now I have another aim. This is my childhood dream. League's and Russia's ambitions play no role here. I'm a patriot. I'm always ready to play for my country, but this is my childhood dream and I want to fulfill it.

Many guys of your generation used to cheer for Detroit and wanted to play exactly in that team. It's correct to believe that it's the same for you?

I'll say you this. I'm from a northern country, it snows during winter and the summer isn't too warm. This is why I'd like to play in a southern team. For example, Los Angeles. Or in Las Vegas, if they'll create a team there. (laughs) Why not? It's great! Receive your salary and lose it right here at once! (laughs)

What do you know about the Moncton Wildcats?

I know that Moncton is a holiday city. And there is a rich, ambitious team. They picked up many players and they are doing everything to win the Memorial Cup. The team belongs to the Irwing family. They have an oil company in Canada. The team is very good and could compete with KHL teams. They have a 7000 seats arena and a lot of fans.

What do you know about the QMJHL?

I'm not that familiar with Quebec. More with Ontario, I had many offers from there.

On what will depend your decision about where to play the next season?

Probably It will depend on what actions Salavat will do - how and in what order they will sign a contract with me. Whether it will be the same contract I had with Spartak or not.
With Spartak I had a 3+2 contract. That means up to 2010 plus other two years should I carry on my KHL career. Thus now I'm on a 1+2 contract as it was a 5 years deal. If Salavat will offer me a 1+2 contract, then I will sign thus I can increase my raiting. If Salavat won't offer me such a contract, then probably I'll go to Canada. But in principle, I would already play there because I want to play in that league, and I'm ready for that. At least, I think so!