Canadiens’ Radulov out to prove he can play in NHL, chase Stanley Cup

Jared Clinton
Alexander Radulov (via Montreal Canadiens/NHL)

Alexander Radulov has spent the better part of the past decade as one of the KHL’s top stars and he’s heading back to the NHL this coming season having conquered the Russia-based league in just about every way possible. With that in mind, he has his sights set on one of the few major trophies he hasn’t won: the Stanley Cup.

Radulov, 30, met with media Monday for the first time as a member of the Montreal Canadiens, and the now-veteran winger said that the chance to chase the Stanley Cup is one of the major things that drew him to the Habs.

“It’s always a hockey town and they always want to go for a run and for a Cup,” Radulov said, via the Montreal Gazette’s Stu Cowan. “That’s the reason I chose Montreal because I want to play and I want to compete for a Cup. That’s the main thing.” Read more

Sobotka’s really coming back to the Blues this time, according to agent

Jared Clinton
Vladimir Sobotka (Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

St. Louis Blues fans have learned not to hold their breath when it comes to the reported return of center Vladimir Sobotka, but it appears he’s really, truly returning in time for the upcoming season.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford, GM Doug Armstrong said Sobotka’s agent has confirmed the 29-year-old will be coming back to the NHL for the 2016-17 campaign.

But as has been the case with this saga throughout the past off-season, into the regular season and on through this summer, the confirmation from Sobotka’s agent via Armstrong only comes after a report that Sobotka was considering a return to the KHL’s Avangard Omsk following a coaching change the club made. Read more

KHL’s Ryspayev given lifetime ban after attacks on opposition in pre-season game

Jared Clinton
Damir Ryspayev (via YouTube)

The KHL has handed a lifetime ban to Barys Astana’s Damir Ryspayev after the 21-year-old attacked three players during an absurd pre-season brawl against Red Star Kunlun.

Ryspayev’s monumental suspension comes after the league reviewed the incident, which involved him suckerpunching Red Star center Tomas Marcinko — a punch that saw Marcinko stretchered off the ice — and then skating directly at and jumping two other Kunlun players, one of which Ryspayev actually attacked twice during the brawl. After he had roughed up unwilling combatants from Red Star, Ryspayev attacked the Kunlun player bench before finally being wrangled and taken to the penalty box.

The KHL acted quickly by suspending Ryspayev for the entire pre-season, but continued to review the play even after the initial ban.

“It goes without saying that hockey is a contact sport,” said Gennady Timchenko, chairman of the KHL’s board of directors. “But above all, it is a fair contest in which rival players are guided by the rules of the game and spirit of sporting ethics. The league acts as a guarantor of these rules and laws, and cannot allow them to be systematically and grotesquely violated. It is utterly unacceptable to intentionally endanger the safety and fitness of opposing players. Every player’s professionalism is demonstrated by the ability to play a hard, uncompromising game while maintaining full respect for fellow sportsmen and their fans.” Read more

Watch KHL netminder make brilliant paddle save in pre-season game

Jared Clinton
Alexei Krasikov stops Sergei Mozyakin (via HC Sibir/YouTube)

The NHL off-season may feel interminable as August rolls on, but that doesn’t mean other leagues aren’t starting to kick into action. The KHL pre-season is well underway and the season is fast-approaching, but rookie netminder Alexei Krasikov looks like he’s already in mid-season form.

In a tune-up game against the defending Gagarin Cup champions, Metallurg Magnitogorsk, Krasikov made a spectacular stick save. It’s not as if the stop was on just anyone, either, as Krasikov turned aside Sergei Mozyakin, the league’s defending scoring champion, with the lunging stick stop.

After Mozyakin was spotted curling around the backside of the goal, he received a beautiful cross-ice pass at the side of the net, slowed the puck and pulled the trigger only to watch the 20-year-old Sibir Novosibirsk netminder thrust his paddle out and knock the puck safely to the corner. Take a look: Read more

Report: KHLer who suckerpunched opponents could be suspended one-third of season

Jared Clinton
(via YouTube)

Barys Astana forward Damir Ryspayev has already been sentenced to a full pre-season ban after his actions during an exhibition contest against Red Star Kunlun on Monday, but the KHL could come down hard on the 21-year-old and ban him from competition nearly half the season.

According to a report from Russia’s Championat.com, Ryspayev could be facing a 20-game suspension for his actions, which works out to exactly one-third of the 2016-17 campaign.

A 20-game ban wouldn’t be the first time Ryspayev has been suspended, but it would definitely mark the longest suspension of his KHL career. Previously he had received short suspensions and one five-game ban for punching a downed Michal Kempny. And if that incident caused the KHL to express “extreme concern,” it makes sense that Ryspayev’s actions during the tune-up contest against Kunlun would result in a serious suspension. Read more

Report: KHL player possibly facing criminal charges for attacks during pre-season game

Jared Clinton
Damir Ryspayev (via YouTube)

KHL forward Damir Ryspayev became infamous throughout the hockey world Monday for his actions which led to the cancellation of a pre-season game between Barys Astana and Red Star Kunlun. But Ryspayev may have bigger issues beyond the suspension he’s facing for attacking several Red Star players.

According to several reports, Kunlun GM Vladimir Krechin has taken the matter to police and is seeking to press charges against Ryspayev.

During the pre-season game Monday, Ryspayev suckerpunched Red Star’s Tomas Marcinko. The result was Marcinko being taken from the ice by a stretcher and sent to hospital where he was diagnosed with a concussion. Ryspayev also chased after and fought two more unwilling players before heading to the Kunlun bench and attempting to fight another player.

Ryspayev was subsequently suspended by the KHL until further notice, but Krechin told Russian news outlet TASS that Ryspayev’s actions should be further punished. Thus, the Red Star GM has taken the matter to authorities. Read more

Watch KHL goon suckerpunch three opponents, attack opposing bench in wild scene

Jared Clinton
(via YouTube)

Damir Ryspayev has played 23 career games in the KHL. Over that time, Ryspayev has yet to find the score sheet for anything other than heading to the penalty box, and the ridiculousness of Ryspayev’s playing style marred a pre-season tilt between Barys Astana and Red Star Kunlun on Monday.

The 21-year-old Ryspayev, who has racked up nearly 200 penalty minutes over his short professional career in Astana, turned the pre-season game between Barys and Red Star into a joke just three minutes into the first frame. After a faceoff in the Barys zone, Ryspayev tried to goad Kunlun’s Tomas Marcinko into a fight, and when Marcinko wouldn’t drop his gloves, Ryspayev decided to suckerpunch him in the jaw.

As if he hadn’t caused an ugly enough scene, Ryspayev kept throwing fists. He went from socking Marcinko to attacking two more unwilling combatants from Red Star — one of whom Ryspayev targeted twice — before turning his attention to the Kunlun bench, skating over and attempting to fight players who weren’t even on the ice. Read more

Watch KHL coaches fight between benches during pre-season game

Jared Clinton
(via HC Torpedo/Instagram)

The pre-season has many functions for a professional hockey team. For GMs, it’s a chance to make some final decisions about the roster for the coming season. For players, it’s one final tune up before the regular season begins. Even the training staff can get up to speed during the pre-season.

But for two KHL coaches, the pre-season offered a chance to get out frustrations by throwing punches at each other.

During a pre-season game between the KHL’s Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk and Torpedo Nizhy-Novgorod over the weekend, frustrations boiled over. The game, which was played as part of the Governor’s Cup tournament, saw Neftekhimik coach Evgeni Popikhin and Torpedo coach Peter Skudra come face to face between the benches during the second period. The coaches first exchanged some words, which led to them shoving each other, sparking some fisticuffs: Read more