Caps prospect Ilya Samsonov has been dominating the KHL this season.
The 19-year-old goaltender is undefeated, tallying wins in 9 of his first 15 appearances. The 2015 first-found pick also has a .937 save percentage and a 1.97 goals against average.
Monday night, Samsonov posted his first shutout of the season against Dynamo Moscow, making 35 saves. His most difficult stop came with 11 seconds remaining in the game.
After he was put on waivers by the Montreal Canadiens in December, former Capitals forward Alex Semin flew home to Russia and completed the 2015-16 season with Metallurg Magnitogorsk. Semin scored five goals and nine assists in 20 regular season games. In the playoffs, Semin did even better, notching seven goals and eight assists in 23 playoff games. Semin and Magnitogorsk won the Gagarin Cup as league champions.
Despite spending 11 seasons and playing 650 games in North America, Semin will not test the NHL free agent market. Instead, last Tuesday, Semin agreed to terms with Magnitogorsk. Sports.ru was the first to report the news.
Photo: Art Livak
Alex Semin is a champion.
Tuesday, the former Washington Capitals “Young Gun” and current 19-year-old Caps goaltending prospect Ilya Samsonov won the Gagarin Cup with Metallurg Magnitogorsk. Metallurg defeated CSKA Moscow at home in Game Seven, 3-1. The win comes after firing coach Mike Keenan part way through the season.
The Gagarin Cup is the KHL’s equivalent of the Stanley Cup. It is the same cup that Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom kinda-sorta technically won while they played in the KHL during the lockout shortened 2012-2013 NHL season. Semin scored 7 goals and put up 15 points in 23 playoff games en route to the final Game Seven victory. Samsonov was the backup goaltender throughout the playoffs, but he did post a 2-2 record in 6 appearances with a 2.29 GAA and a .916 save percentage.
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.
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.
Friday, June 4th the KHL held its second annual draft and Peter Bondra’s son David Bondra, was selected 21st overall by Metallurg Magnitogorsk (don’t confuse Magnitogorsk with Metallurg Novokuznetsk, where Dmitri Orlov plays). Bondra was available in last year’s draft but was never selected.
Bondra currently plays for the Washington Jr Nationals of the Atlantic Junior Hockey League (the 3rd level of US junior hockey). According to AJHL official site, current South Carolina Stingray Nikita Kashirsky (who’s also Ovi’s childhood friend) have played for the club. A few highlights of David’s season thus far include him being named an AJHL All-Star and netting a goal in the game. He finished 14th overall in scoring (22 G, 29 A in 40 GP) during the AJHL season and was named to the Slovakian U-18 National Team.
His father, the Capitals’ current franchise leader in points and goals, recently spoke about his son in an interview with the Russian newspaper «Sport Den Za Dnem» (Sports Daily):
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