How Will The KHL Get Through Russia’s Economic Crisis?

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Sochi’s Olympic boss Dmitry Chernyshenko will face the hardest challenge in the KHL’s history in his first year as president. (Photo: Sergey Kuznetsov / RIA Novosti)

Russia’s financial crisis is in full throttle as the ruble fell below 65 to one dollar (as opposed to 33 one year ago), while Russia’s main export, oil, has fallen below 60 dollars per barrel for the first time since May 2009.

The changes in the economy will affect Russian hockey.

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Photo: Championat.com

A few years ago, Polish-born forward Wojtek Wolski came to the Washington Capitals as a reclamation project. Instead of becoming a permanent member in the team’s top six, he became a permanent denizen of Adam Oates’s doghouse and left for the KHL. Since then, he has had some success with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod.

And by success I mean setting insane records. Today Wolski set the KHL record for the fastest hat trick ever. He did it pretty fast.

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Mike Keenan Nearly Assaults KHL Referees (Video)

Photo: KHL Photo Agency

Mike Keenan is not an easy guy to deal with; everybody knows that.

During his 20-year-long NHL career, Iron Mike got into more than a few personal conflicts. Yet the Washington Capitals reportedly interviewed Keenan for the head coaching gig two years ago, and his name has been floated again this year.

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If only all Gagarin Cup Finals were this good.

In game three,  the underdog Lev Prague, the first non-Russian team to make it this deep,  led 2-1 against powerhouse Metallurg Magnitogorsk, coached by Mike Keenan, late in the third period in front of home crowd of 16,435 spectators, the all-time KHL attendance record. That crowd got quite a show.

With the faceoff near the Lev blue line, Magnitka pulled the goalie for an extra attacker. They won the draw and set up in the offensive zone. A shot by KHL star Sergei Mozyakin was blocked, but the puck hopped right to the stick of an ex-Grand Rapids Griffin Francis Pare who put it past Lev’s Petri Vehanen. Tie game.

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Photo: @Kuzya92

Evgeny Kuznetsov‘s Traktor Chelyabinsk was eliminated from playoff contention a few hours before their game against Ak Bars on Tuesday. It was still a big game for Kuznetsov, who has been treating it as if it would be his last in Chelyabinsk.

This post contains everything we know so far. We’ll be updating throughout the day.

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Early on Tuesday morning, Admiral, the eighth best team in the KHL’s Eastern Conference, defeated Amur 4-1. Admiral has now qualified for the KHL Playoffs. This also means that Evgeny Kuznetsov‘s Traktor Chelyabinsk, who was the Eastern Conference Champions last season, will miss the playoffs entirely for the first time since 2010-11.

Despite high hopes for this season, Traktor couldn’t quite get it together. Kuznetsov, the hometown star and offensive leader, suffered a shoulder injury that required shoulder surgery on September 6th, just a few games into the season. A few months later, Kuznetsov suffered a freak knee injury that also required surgery.

Traktor will now participate in the Nadezhda Cup, the KHL’s “loser” tournament for teams that don’t make the postseason.

It remains to be seen what Kuznetsov will do next.

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Photo: HCTraktor.ru

Now that Washington Capitals prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov has made it clear he’s coming to DC, the only question left is when. If his KHL team, Traktor Chelyabinsk, makes the playoffs, his journey to North America will be delayed.

On Friday morning, the picture became more clear as Traktor Chelyabinsk defeated Vityaz Chekhov, 3-2, two days after falling to defending champion Dynamo 5-3. Kuznetsov continued some great play, recording a “secondary” assist on (former Capital) Jan Bulis‘ first period goal. He also recorded two shots on goal and lost all three of his face-offs in 20:55 of ice time — most among any Traktor forward.

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Photo credit: KHL

Washington Capitals prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov was traveling to see doctors this morning to get his leg injury evaluated, but he did receive some good news while on the way. Kuznetsov, along with three others (including former Capital Jakub Klepis), were named to the KHL All-Star game.

This is the fourth consecutive season Kuznetsov has been named an All Star. The game will be held in Bratislava (the capital of Slovakia) on January 11, 2014.

The KHL first announced the news this morning on their Facebook page. Igor Kleyner has your translation.

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Mark French Wins First Game As KHL Coach

Former Hershey Bears coach Mark French won his first KHL game. Medvescak Zagreb blew out star-studded CSKA Moscow (managed by former Capital Sergey Fedorov) in a score of 7-1.

It was also the Croatian club’s first game in the KHL. Before this season, Medvescak played in the Austrian EBEL league.

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Kuzya is definitely taking this seriously. (Photo credit: HCTraktor.org)

Traktor Chelyabinsk’s KHL training camp started a few days ago. Sadly, Russian players have waved goodbye to their summers full of vodka-flavored borscht and two-a-day video game sessions. Traktor players are now working out together and doing off-ice team-led drills in downtown Chelyabinsk.

Washington Capitals prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov was there for his final KHL training camp on Tuesday, and thanks to a robust 44-picture photo gallery from HCTraktor.org, we can document the grueling session on the stationary bike, the jumping of rope until he couldn’t jump no mo’, the lifting of impossible weights, and the kicking of legs up and down furiously at some hurdle thing.

Tuesday’s session was led by some old guy with a mullet. Embrace the summer content.

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