Saturday, 8 September 2018

Goaltending Woes For Ak Bars Kazan

The netminder to the left? That's Alexander Sharychenkov. That photo was from last season while with Dymano Moscow as Sharychenkov is the new starting netminder this season for Ak Bars Kazan after Emil Garipov's rather horrendous start to the season. In fact, Garipov was removed from the roster before Kazan's second game of the season after that ridiculously bad opening night, and Sharychenkov took his starting spot. With Sharychenkov now backstopping Kazan, would the reigning Gagarin Cup champions find their way?

Well, the second game of their season saw Sharychenkov backstop Kazan to a 2-0 win over Dinamo Minsk in which Sharychenkov stopped all 25 shots he faced. Kazan moved on to Kazakhstan with their 1-1-0 record to face Barys Astana in their third game today, and it seems that all the good that Sharychenkov had shown in the second game was erased with one shot today. Take a look.
Hoo boy. That shooter was Kevin Dallman, and he unloaded that slapshot from the center-ice red line that Sharychenkov simply whiffed on. It's not like that was a knuckle-puck or a bouncing puck. Sharychenkov simply missed the puck entirely with his glove. And being out in front of the blue paint as far as he was, it's hard to fathom how he could miss it that badly.

The good news for Ak Bars Kazan is that they were leading 3-1 at the time of Dallman's goal. Anton Lander would score with 1:09 remaining to put Kazan up 4-2, but things got a little tense when Darren Dietz's second goal of the game with 33 seconds to play pulled Astana within one. Thankfully for Kazan, Sharychenkov shut the door for the final half-minute as Kazan and their new netminder escaped with their second-straight wins on the season.

I'm not sure what physical testing is done during training camp for KHL players, but Ak Bars Kazan may want to start instituting some sort of eye exam for its netminders after seeing the performances of Garipov and Sharychenkov this early in the season.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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