Mark Hartigan is playing with Dinamo Riga of the KHL this season. (Photo by Normunds Brics/Jansons Media.)
Welcome back to Riga. It has been quite the journey this past month, but I will not bore you with that. I was thinking it might be a good idea to inform you of some other players around the Kontinental League.
Let’s start with Alexander Radulov. Even though I have not played against him yet, I have heard he has been a dominant force for his team and of course has been the scoring machine we all know him to be. Let’s hope we can keep him off the scoresheet when we play him in a couple of weeks.
Next is Alexei Yashin. He is a lot bigger than I thought he was. Yashin can control the game if he wants with his speed and hockey smarts. It is apparent all the years as the captain in New York have made him a natural leader for his team. Oh yeah, we could not keep him off the scoresheet when we played him, and we lost.
On to Ray Emery. His team, Atlant Mystichi, is in first place, so that says a lot about him. It is hard for me to talk about him because I do not follow goalies as I do players. I do know he is playing very well and his team is looking like a strong championship contender.
I should also tell you a little bit about my teammate, Marcel Hossa. ‘Hoss’ has played really well for our team. Many times he has single-handedly kept us in the game with great penalty-killing and his natural scoring touch. It has been a pleasure to be able to call him a teammate and a friend.
Now for the man we all know, Mr. Jaromir Jagr – as dominating now as he was in the NHL for 17 seasons. He is above and beyond the best player I have played against in this league. I believe many players and fans get stuck watching him all the time and let me tell you, it is not a good thing if you are supposed to be covering his winger. Jagr is scoring beautiful goals and making unreal passes; at least this is what he did to our team. He truly has helped the KHL become a premier hockey league.
Heading into November, my team, Dinamo Riga, has a fairly slow schedule, only playing seven games this month – three on the road and four at home. December looks almost the same with just eight games. The reason for the small number of games is the league has breaks for national teams to practice and get themselves organized. As for me, it allows me to spend more time with my family and explore other beautiful European countries.
For the readers who have not been able or just were never interested in seeing a KHL game, I recommend getting to your closest KHL arena or Internet connection to check out some fast skating, great passing, nice goal scoring, sick saves and, if you are lucky, you may get to see a fight as well. I am sure you will not be disappointed.
Hope to see you at our next match (that’s what we call it here).
Mark Hartigan won the past two Stanley Cups with Anaheim and Detroit and has also played for Atlanta and Columbus in his NHL career. He is beginning his first season in the KHL with Dinamo Riga and will be blogging to THN.com throughout the season.