Lokomotiv Yaroslavl’s History Will Not Stop

(Photo courtesy of hclokomotiv.ru; translates to “Our team, forever”)

The headline you see above was a direct quote issued by the president of the KHL, Alexander Medvedev, as he and other officials, both hockey and government, arrived to the city of Yaroslavl amid the tragedy that has sent waves throughout the sporting world and front pages across the globe. From the hundreds of Lokomotiv fans gathering for candlelight vigils to the arrival of President Dmitry Medvedev, the city has been in thoughts of many and in the hearts of millions.

From a Russian hockey standpoint, many of the players both here in America and back in the KHL have connection to the club whether as opponents on a yearly basis or growing up with some of those who perished. From the biggest names in the sport such as Alexander Ovechkin who played with Alexander Galimov, the lone survivor of the Lokomotiv roster, in 2005 at the World Juniors, to alumni and fans in 10 countries which have lost their hockey heroes and icons.
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Finland Dumps Russia 3-0; Heads to Final

It took one rather gutsy decision by Finland’s Mikael Granlund that would eventually break Russia’s bid for their fourth straight gold-medal game as Finland beat Russia for the second time in the 2011 Men’s World Championships earlier today. Granlund scored what would stand as the game-winner when he accurately executed a lacrosse-like goal which has since gone viral and even has the likes of TSN calling it the goal of the year.
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Russia Rallies Past Canada En Route to Semifinals


(courtesy of AFP PHOTO / JOE KLAMAR)

Having played two periods of what looked like hopeless hockey, Team Russia overturned a 1-0 deficit against a favorite rival to secure a place in the semi-finals of the 2011 Men’s World Championships. Canada would grab the first goal of the game on a Jason Spezza breakaway in the second period and would hold on as Russia failed to convert on every powerplay they got through the interval. Russia was even gifted a 4-minute man advantage after Ilya Kovalchuk received a stick to the face by his own teammate only to have the ref pinch John Tavares, they would fail to bother goalie Jonathan Bernier with any real pressure.
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Dueling Russians

This year’s NHL draft brings about a lot of talent, as it does year after year.  However, the crop of Russian players is not as copious as years past (most noticeably the 2010 NHL Entry Draft).  You will not find the likes of a Burmistrov, Tarasenko, Kuznetsov, Kabanov, Galiev, or Kitsyn.  But a new breed of Russian hockey player is quickly coming into the fold.  The two notables in this year’s draft are, the OHL’s, Vladislav Namestnikov and Alexander Khokhlachev.  Most likely first or second round draft picks, these two Russians have taken the next step in achieving their dreams of playing in the NHL by coming across the ocean from Russia to play in the top junior league in the world.

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How Kovy Got His Groove Back


(courtesy of Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

It wasn’t so long ago that Ilya Kovalchuk and the New Jersey Devils were the laughingstock of the NHL. Losing to everyone possible while having their $100 million free agent signing showing minimal signs of his potential. Who can forget the botched shootout attempt that pretty much summed up the Devils season at that point? Although it shouldn’t happen the brunt of the criticism for the team’s lack luster play was aimed towards #17.
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Zharkov’s First Shows Hope Is Not Lost For Surging Devils

With not much to hang their hats on this season, the New Jersey Devils need to look to the future to get back to their winning ways. Coming into the season, the team was looking like a Stanley Cup contender with veteran goalie, Martin Brodeur, between the pipes, a newly signed scoring winger in Ilya Kovalchuk, and an already established “face of the franchise” in Zach Parise.  

However, in the first 4 months of the season, the team has not met any of the expectations that were placed on them. Parise went down early with an injury, Brodeur was not playing like his normal “1990’s”-self, and Kovalchuk, a six time 40 goal scorer has a measly 12 goals and 25 points.
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Boxing with the Stars Continues with Devils’ Kovalchuk


(courtesy of Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

There is much to be said about the current state of the New Jersey Devils as it appears the franchise is headed for their first season without a playoff berth in 13 years. With the firing of rookie coach John Maclean just days ago, the lack of defense in front of veteran Martin Brodeur and the team’s new poster boy for it’s misery, Ilya Kovalchuk, the Devils have become the laughingstock of the NHL.

Fans and critics alike have pointed fingers to the contract that was given to Kovy over the summer which will make him a Devil for the rest of his career. The whole “with great power comes great responsibility” spiel has been bestowed on the sniper as his big money contract warrants him to carry the team on offense. While the team spirals out of control it seems most have put the blame on Kovalchuk while ignoring other ridiculous contracts the team has to honor(Brian Rolston anyone?)
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Alexei Kovalev Becomes 3rd Russian to Score 1,000 Points in NHL


(Photo courtesy of Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)

First it was Sergei Fedorov, a month later it was Alexander Mogilny, and tonight, well over six years since a Russian-born player reached the 1,000 career point plateau, Ottawa’s Alexei Kovalev joins an elite club. Kovalev scored a power-play goal midway through the first period(at exactly 10:00) to give the Senators the early lead. With the goal, assisted by fellow countryman Sergei Gonchar, Kovalev became the 76th NHL player to have his career points go into quadruple digits.

Kovalev fired a slap shot past Jonathon Quick after Gonchar’s shot bounced off a LA Kings defender for his sixth goal of the year. The shot was powerful enough to break his stick. Kovalev would add an assist on the game winning goal by Jason Spezza to earn the first star of the game. He becomes the second Senators player to eclipse 1,000 points with captain Daniel Alfredsson doing so exactly a month ago.
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Devils Russian’s Start and Finish Comeback

(Photos by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

With the struggling New Jersey Devils trailing the Oilers by 2 goals late in the first period, Alexander Vasyunov scored his first NHL goal. Vasyunov slipped in behind the defender to get open in front of the Devan Dubnyk and banged home a Travis Zajac pass. The goal helped the Devils rally to win their first home game of the year. Patrik Elias also assisted on the goal.

Vasyunov, 22 years of age, is 8 games into his young NHL career and now has points 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists) and points in back to back games. He played 24 shifts on Friday night for a total of 18:16 of ice time, both career highs. On Wednesday night against the Buffalo Sabres he assisted on David Clarkson’s goal, also the first goal for the Devils that night.
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Kovalchuk’s Shootout miss heard around the world

(courtesy of AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

In case you haven’t heard, last night’s 5-4 shootout loss by the New Jersey Devils against a third-string goalie lead Buffalo Sabres was ended on an extremely unfortunate play or lack thereof by Ilya Kovalchuk. With the Devils down 2-1, Kovy needed to score to extend the skills competition in order to salvage the 2nd point his team had let slip away 3 times.

As he neared Jhonas Enroth(who was playing in just his 4th NHL game) the puck opted not to join Kovalchuk’s stick amidst his stick handling giving the Sabres the win and further dampening the Devil’s train wreck of a season. The bad bounce capped a horrible night for Kovalchuk who failed to get on the score sheet or generate much offense blowing a golden chance in the final frame of the third when on a partial breakaway sending the puck into the safety netting rather than the goal.
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