Ilya Kovalchuk has been in the news lately due to reports regarding his potential exit from the KHL and return to the NHL. Thanks to a Paul Bunyan-esque chop to the legs of Alexander Radulov, he’s grabbing headlines for another reason.
The slash came in the first game of the KHL’s Western Conference Final, which pits Kovalchuk’s SKA St. Petersburg against Radulov’s CSKA Moscow. With St. Petersburg down 3-0 and Radulov in control of the puck, Kovalchuk approached Radulov from behind and tagged his ankle with a violent chop. Read more
After three seasons with Finland’s Helsinki Jokerit — and only months since he broke the KHL’s single-season goal-scoring record — winger Steve Moses has announced he is leaving the KHL club, and he’s likely to be heading back to North America.
In a video posted on the Jokerit website, Moses thanked the organization and its fans for all the support he’s received over the past three seasons. In the interview, Moses talked about what his future may hold and mentioned that he has been thinking about returning to North America. Read more
Though there’s over two weeks remaining in the NHL regular-season schedule, it can’t end soon enough for the moribund Toronto Maple Leafs and their disappointed fans. The Leafs have slid to 27th overall, entering Thursday’s game against the Florida Panthers having won only six games since Jan. 1.
The National Post’s Michael Traikos reports attendance at the Air Canada Centre has declined to the lowest levels in the arena’s 16-year history. For the first time since 1972, Hockey Night in Canada booted the Leafs off a recent Saturday-night telecast.
Toronto fans are left wishing for the Leafs to win the 2015 NHL Draft lottery and the right to select future NHL superstar center Connor McDavid. Pundits, meanwhile, continue to speculate over which members of the current Leafs roster won’t be around when training camp opens in September. Read more
According to Finnish news site Iltalehti.fi, trusted sources have informed the news outlet that Ilya Kovalchuk could be back in the NHL by 2016-17. Kovalchuk has reportedly informed his KHL club, SKA St. Petersburg, of his wish to return to North America following next season.
However, in order to come back to the NHL in two seasons time, Kovalchuk would need to receive the green light from all 30 NHL teams because he voluntarily retired. If he wishes to come back to the league without needing league-wide approval, Kovalchuk would have to wait until 2018-19, when he would be 35. Read more
During the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs, there was this feeling that no matter what you shot at then-Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas, he was going to stop it. You can’t help but have that feeling about Anders Nilsson in the KHL.
For the second straight game, Nilsson made a stop that he had absolutely no business making, and this time it came little more than five minutes into the second period of a scoreless tie game. Oh, and if Nilsson’s Ak Bars Kazan won, they were heading to the Eastern Conference semi-final.
No amount of describing the save could do it as much justice as the look on Avangard Omsk winger Roman Berdnikov’s face after Nilsson robs what should have been a goal: Read more
On a list of iconic coaching moments — from Roger Neilson’s towel-waving to Patrick Roy’s glass-shoving — Raimo Summanen’s faux-bribe of the officials scores pretty darn high.
To put it lightly, Summanen, coach of the KHL’s Avangard Omsk, lost his cool after Ak Bars Kazan was awarded a goal on what he perceived to be clear goaltender interference. When you see the play, you’ll realize it’s not as cut and dry as Summanen believes it to be, but he chose to see things his way and lashed out at the referees.
A bit of a backstory on the goal might be necessary: it came in the fifth game of the second round series between Omsk and Kazan, and Kazan held a 3-1 series lead. So, for Summanen’s club, this was an elimination game and one goal could be the difference between life or death. Summanen’s antics — whether you agree with them or not — are hilarious, but we’re not so sure if they’ll get the referees on his side:
No top seed makes it through the playoffs unscathed, and that includes KHL Eastern Conference champion Ak Bars Kazan. However, Kazan goaltender Anders Nilsson might be the only reason they’re not tied after four games of their second round series.
In the fourth game of Kazan’s Eastern Conference semi-final matchup against Avangard Omsk, Nilsson made a stop on Omsk’s Felix Schutz that you wouldn’t even expect to see in a video game. Nilsson was down on his stomach and, without even pushing his body off the ice, reached up with his leg and his blocker to turn aside Schutz’s attempt at the open net: Read more
NHL fans may remember goaltender Alexander Salak from the time he spent with the Florida Panthers or Chicago Blackhawks. For KHL fans, Salak can now be remembered for the time he got kicked out of a playoff game for repeatedly punching crease-crashing winger Maxim Yakutsenya in the face.
Salak, who plays for Sibir Novosibirsk, got into the altercation with Mettalurg Magnitogorsk’s Yakutsenya less than halfway through the first period of the third game of the second round series between the two teams. After Yakutsenya fell into Salak’s crease, the netminder began to tee off on Yakutsenya’s face with his blocker. The two continued to tussle for almost half a minute before Sibir defenseman Vitali Menshikov pulled Yakutsenya off of Salak. You can watch the full wrestling match below: Read more