Mark Hartigan of Dynamo Riga has 12 goals and 24 points through 41 KHL games. (Photo by Normunds Brics/Jansons Media)
Happy New Year and welcome back to the Kontinental League. It is getting down to that time of year where some teams have no room for mistakes if they want to make the playoffs.
To be honest, we are one of those teams (Dinamo Riga, if you had forgotten). We are sitting in the 14th spot with 60 points right now and only 16 teams make the playoffs. The 17th and 18th place teams currently have 54 points, so this just shows you how close it is.
Like many hockey leagues around the world, I am sure everything will come down to the last regular season game to solidify who will make the playoffs.
Teams that will make the playoffs are first place Ufa (Alexander Radulov’s team), second place Atlant (Ray Emery’s team) and fourth place Yaroslavl (Alexei Yashin’s team). These squads have played very well all year round and believe me, they will be hard to knock out.
Just recently, the KHL had an All-Star Game in Moscow. It featured Team Yashin vs. Team Jagr.
Yashin’s team was made up of Russian players and Jagr’s was made up of import players. The neat thing about this game is that it was hosted outside at the famous Red Square. As I heard, it was very, very cold.
My teammate Marcel Hossa was picked to play and he did not disappoint. He scored three goals, including the game-winner in a 7-6 win for Team Jagr.
Other than a quick update on the KHL, there is not a whole lot to mention, except that the league here is really heating up. The games are getting faster and players are playing with a lot more urgency, knowing they have to do whatever it takes to make the playoffs.
I would love to hear some feedback from readers of what you would like to know about the KHL or the players who are over here. (Send your questions to email@example.com)
I will be sure to inform you the best I can. And remember to stick to those New Year’s resolutions. Ciao!
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.