Andrei Vasilevskiy is already among the best Russian netminders in the world, and it could be just a few short seasons before the Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender is the best option in goal for the Russian national team.
And while being a Russian star usually goes hand-in-hand with occasional reports about the consideration of a contract in the KHL, Vasilevskiy has gotten way ahead of those rumors to make sure no one thinks he could be headed back to Russia.
According to KHL reporter Aivis Kalnins, Vasilevskiy, 22, has said he would “much rather sit on a bench in the NHL than play in (the) KHL.” The Lightning puck stopper added that he didn’t care if contract offers were coming his way now or later, he’d be staying put in the NHL. Not that Lightning fans were worried about Vasilevskiy leaving, but it’s always good to get some reassurance from the team’s future starter. Read more
Forgive SKA St. Petersburg if the KHL power goes into a bit of a slump in September. That’s because the franchise will lose a handful of star players and its coach to the World Cup of Hockey. Yes, the KHL schedule is out for 2016-17 and there is no break for the NHL/NHLPA best-on-best tournament.
The KHL’s expansion into China has been confirmed, the new franchise’s name, Red Star Kunlun, has been established and the front office and roster are beginning to take shape with several signings and a few players inked to tryout deals.
Meanwhile, though, the other aspects of the franchise are still taking shape. The logo for the club was only recently unveiled, and now comes a first look at the threads Red Star will reportedly be donning when the team hits the ice for the 2016-17 campaign. They’re unlike anything else in the KHL and NHL, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The jerseys, which boast a color scheme of red, white and a deep yellow, have a unique feature along the bottom edge of the sweater. Instead of having piping or stripes like many of the other teams throughout the pro ranks, Red Star has instead gone with an image of the Great Wall of China along the base of their jerseys. On both the white and the red jerseys, the sketch-like image of the Great Wall spans the length of the uniform. Take a look: Read more
According to multiple reports, right winger Alexander Radulov has priced himself out of an NHL contract. The KHL star always had the fall-back option of staying in Russia, but now that seems to have hit a speed bump, too.
Red Star Kunlun is set to become the first Chinese team in a major professional league when they begin play in the KHL next season, but little is known about the club.
The roster, coaching staff and even the import rules are seemingly still in the stage of being worked out, and the same can be said for what the team will look like, aesthetically, when they take the ice. Though it may be one of the least important aspects of, you know, actually running a successful team, Red Star is starting to cut it close with the KHL campaign slated to begin in roughly two and a half months.
According to a leaked logo, though, Kunlun may have their logo and team colors in place, and if the reported emblem does happen to be the franchise’s actual mark, it could stand as one of the league’s best. Read more
The NHL has made it clear that Slava Voynov’s suspension from the league makes him unable to compete at the World Cup of Hockey, but the Russian Hockey Federation isn’t backing down and says the Russian defenseman should be allowed to play regardless of his suspension.
Vice president of the RHF, Roman Rotenberg, said that Russia does not plan on replacing Voynov ahead of the tournament and that the expectation is that the defenseman will be granted permission to play. According to Rotenberg, the Russian team’s lawyers have been informed and have “prepared an opinion on the situation.”
“There are a variety of use cases, such as with Dany Heatley…and Dennis Rodman in the NBA, when a person has already been punished, and then he was allowed to participate in sports competitions. Voynov has already paid the (price),” Rotenberg said, via AllSport.ru. “The situation with Dany Heatley was much worse. He had a Canadian passport (the incident occurred in the United States, and sanctions could be more severe) but (he was forgiven) and allowed to participate in the (2004) World Cup.” Read more
Here’s a name some will remember and one that some, namely Blue Jackets fans, will have tried to forget: Nikita Filatov.
Filatov, 26, last played in the NHL during the 2011-12 season as a member of the Ottawa Senators when he was a 21-year-old, but his time with the Senators, who acquired him for a third-round pick, was incredibly unsuccessful and largely forgettable.
Early in Filatov’s tenure with the Senators he was demoted to the AHL and spent the next two months of the campaign bouncing between the AHL and NHL before being granted a loan to the KHL’s CSKA Moscow by early December. After only nine games and less than half a season, the once highly touted prospect flamed out of Ottawa quickly.
Filatov hasn’t been back in the NHL or AHL since his time with the Senators, and in an interview with Sport-Express.ru’s Alexei Shevchenko, the former NHLer talked about his disappointing time in the NHL and said financial troubles played a part in him leaving North America. Though Filatov didn’t offer up numbers, he said he couldn’t repay his debts by playing in the AHL. Read more
In 2014-15, goaltender Andrey Makarov seemed to prove he could be an asset for the Buffalo Sabres. He played 39 games for the AHL’s Rochester Americans, turned in a 16-18-0 record and while his save percentage numbers may have been lacking, the 6-foot-2 netminder looked like he could be at the very least a future AHL starter.
If that’s to be the case, though, it’s going to start with Makarov proving his worth in the KHL. And when he comes back, it doesn’t sound as though he’s going to be playing with the Sabres. In an interview with Sport-Express.ru, Makarov seemed incredibly frustrated with his lack of playing time with the Americans this past season even though he was, statistically, the strongest goaltender Rochester had.
In 22 games during the 2015-16 campaign, Makarov, 23, posted a 9-9-2 record, one shutout, a 2.83 goals-against average and .916 save percentage. Neither Natahan Lieuwen or Linus Ullmark matched those numbers, with Ullmark having a bloated GAA above 3.00 and both of Makarov’s goaltending counterparts boasting SPs below .910. Read more