The KHL All-Star Game went on Saturday, and the game featured a lot of offence, no hitting, and some very bloated goals-against averages. In short, it was like any other hockey all-star game. Team Fedorov and Team Ozolinsh squared off in Riga, Latvia in front of a capacity crowd, and the show began. Honestly, the talent in the KHL is high despite there being few players that North Americans will recognize. The KHL All-Star Game is proof of this.
The Skills Competition was a tightly-contested affair as both squads showed off an immense amount of talent. The winners in each event were as follows:
- Fastest Skater - Miķelis Rēdlihs (Dinamo Riga/Ozoliņš)
- Shootout Skill - Vladimir Tarasenko (Sibir Novosibirsk/Fedorov)
- Goaltender Competition - Chris Holt (Dinamo Riga/Ozoliņš)
- Longest Shot - Dmitri Kalinin (SKA Saint Petersburg/Ozoliņš)
- Puck Control Team Relay - Team Ozoliņš
- Shooting Accuracy - Sergei Mozyakin (Metallurg Magnitogorsk/Fedorov)
- Hardest Shot - Alexander Riazantsev (Traktor Chelyabinsk/Fedorov)
- Captains Duel - Sergei Fedorov (Metallurg Magnitogorsk)
- Fastest Skater Team Relay - Team Fedorov
An excellent tribute from the KHL and the fans in Riga.
The best move of the night? Salavat Yulaev Ufa's Alexander Radulov - the former Nashville Predator sniper - got a chance to skate in on a penalty shot, and his move, while subtle, shows hands of gold.
That slight backhand that found space under Konstantin Barulin and between his pads is a thing of beauty! Radulov might be one of the best players not playing in the NHL right now, and this penalty shot shows why he's an all-star.
The final score in the KHL All-Star Game was 15-11 in favour of Team Fedorov representing the Eastern Conference. SOGAZ Insurance Group sponsored the Most Reliable Defenseman award for each team. Dmitry Kalinin (Team Ozolins) and Ilya Nikulin (Team Fedorov) were the winners, and they receive a certificate of an insurance policy for foreign travel, providing cover worth up to €300,000.
MegaFon sponsored "The Future Depends on You" award for the two youngest all-stars on each team. 21 year-old defenseman Maxim Chudinov and 23 year-old forward Mikhail Anisin were Team Ozoliņš's youngest players while Team Fedorov was represented by 19 year-old Evgeny Kuznetsov and 20 year-old Vladimir Tarasenko. All four men received a tablet computer and a year of unlimited Internet access, plus a handy sports bag. Personally, I'm not sure what the Internet is like in Russia in terms of costs, so this could be a big-ticket item.
Baltic Miles sponsored the MVP awards for the KHL All-Star Game for each team's best player. Not surprisingly, the two most recognizable names were the MVPs! Sandis Ozolins and Sergei Fedorov took home the honours, and each received a week’s holiday for them and their families in a five-star hotel, with a rented car at their disposal and a choice of Turkey, Greece or Egypt as their destination.
The 2013 KHL All-Star Game will move to Chelyabinsk next season, so plan accordingly if you have a chance to attend! Hoepfully there will be English coverage broadcast back to North America again as I really enjoyed seeing some of the Russian players I grew up with performing in front of friends and family in their homeland.
Well done, KHL, on a solid weekend of fun for fans and players!
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!