Saturday, 5 December 2015

Remember This Guy?

You may not recognize him in his Whalers gear, but Andrei Nikolishin had a pretty solid NHL career. After starting his career in the Russian Super League with Dynamo Moscow, he made the jump across the ocean to join the Hartford Whalers after they drafted him in the second-round in 1992. He's probably better known for his work with the Washington Capitals, but he also played with the Colorado Avalanche and the Chicago Blackhawks as he totaled 628 NHL games that saw him score 93 goals and 280 points. Not bad, right? Nikolishin left the NHL following the 2003-04 season for greener pastures in Russia where he suited up for five KHL teams in seven season before retiring.

So why am I briefly listing off Mr. Nikolishin's career achievements? Well, you can add his name to the coaching ranks now as he picked up his first win as a KHL head coach when Amur Khabarovsk beat Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg by a 2-1 score yesterday. He was appointed head coach of Amur earlier in the day, ran one practice, and is now 1-0 in his Amur coaching career.

But it could have been much different if not for Amur goaltender Juha Metsola.
Metsola stopped that puck with just his paddle in front of a yawning cage! After that crazy rebound off the boards, Alexei Mikhnov picked up the loose puck with nothing but air standing between him and the tying goal. Instead, the Finnish netminder dove back to paddle away the shot that would have evened the score for Avtomobilist, preserving the 2-1 lead late in the third period!

Nikolishin's first win came from one heck of a Finnish! Major kudos go out to Juha Metsola who not only made the highlight reels around the world with that save, but gave his team three more points as eleventh-seeded Amur downed sixth-seeded Avtomobilist!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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