Thursday, 19 January 2012

KHL All-Stars Prepare

With the KHL All-Star Game fast approaching on January 21, there have been some announcements made regarding who will be taking part in the game and what activities will go on in the days leading up to the game. The starters for the game were picked long ago, so it was just a matter of filling additional spots on the two teams - Team Ozolinsh and Team Fedorov - to complete the All-Star Game rosters. It also sounds as if the All-Star Game will feature many of the same things the NHL All-Star Game does: a skills competition and a legends game. I'm particularly intrigued by the KHL Legends Game simply because I want to see who fills out that roster, but we'll start with today's KHL All-Stars and which team they will be representing.

Team Ozolins will represent the Western Conference of the KHL, and it seems that the vast majority of this team played in the NHL at one point or another. Here is Team Ozolins in its entirety.

Goalies: Konstantin Barulin, Vitaly Koval.
Defense: Sandis Ozolins (captain), Jere Karalahti, Maxim Chudinov, Dmitry Kalinin, Janne Niskala, Kirill Koltsov, Karel Pilar.
Forwards: Mikelis Redlihs, Vadim Shipachyov, Jeff Platt, Sergei Shirokov, Mikhail Anisin, Toni Martensson, Nikolai Zherdev, Martins Karsums, Vyacheslav Kozlov.
Coaches: Milos Riha, Oleg Znarok.

That's a pretty recognizable lineup for Sandis Ozolinsh's team, but Sergei Fedorov's squad, representing the Eastern Conference, also has some pretty impressive names playing. While the number of former NHLers isn't as great, Team Fedorov does have some high-scoring players.

Goalies: Mikhail Biryukov, Michael Garnett.
Defense: Ilya Nikulin, Mikko Maenpaa, Alexander Ryazantsev, Kevin Dallman, Vitaly Proshkin, Evgeny Medvedev.
Forwards: Sergei Fedorov (captain), Evgeny Kuznetsov, Alexei Kalyuzhny, Jakub Petruzalek, Alexander Radulov, Vladimir Tarasenko, Roman Cervenka, Sergei Mozyakin, Brandon Bochenski, Alexander Frolov.
Coaches: Valery Belousov, Hannu Jortikka.

On paper, I would have to believe that Ozolinsh's team has more firepower based on name recognition alone, but I'm going with Team Fedorov on this one because of the high-scoring players selected. Of course, that's why they play the game, and you can catch the KHL All-Star Game this weekend on TSN2!

The KHL Legends Game will play Friday evening on January 20. Vyacheslav Fetisov and Helmuts Balderis will captain the two teams, and there are some very notable names taking part in this game. The oldest player is Latvian Anatolijs Jemeljanenko, born Janaury 1, 1949, who starred for Dinamo Riga in the 1970s. He's one day older than Vladimir Lutchenko, born January 2, 1949, who played for the USSR in the 1972 Summit Series while wearing #3. He starred with HC CSKA Moscow in the Russian SuperLeague. The youngest player will be Artis Abols, born January 3, 1973, who played for a number of Russian, Latvian, and Scandinavian teams during his career, including a few appears for the Latvian national team.

The rosters for the two teams are posted below, and I'll try to give a brief description of each player so you have a better idea who each of these legends are.

Team Balderis

#30 Sergejs Naumovs - played all over the world and on Team Latvia.
#1 Guntis Karklins - Latvian who starred with Dinamo Riga.

#5 Aleksandrs Siskovics - Latvian who played all over Europe.
#28 Andrejs Maticins - Russian who starred with Dinamo Riga.
#33 Agris Balodis - Latvian who starred with Latvijas Zelts Riga.
#44 Normunds Sejejs - Latvian and current GM with Dinamo Riga.
#22 Vadims Solovjovs - Latvian who starred with HK NIK's Brih Riga.
#3 Viktors Ignatjevs - Spent 11 games with the Penguins in '98-99.
#2 Konstantins Grigorjevs - Latvian who starred with Dinamo Riga.
#8 Martins Grundmanis - Latvian who starred with Saga Kekava.

#19 Hemluts Balderis - Two-time leading scorer in Russia.
#7 Anatolijs Jemeljanenko - Latvian who starred with Dinamo Riga.
#13 Nikolajs Sirotkins - Latvian who starred with HK NIK's Brih Riga.
#21 Aleksandrs Kercs - 57 games with the '93 Cape Breton Oilers.
#25 Sergejs Nikitins - Latvian who starred with HK NIK's Brih Riga.
#18 Sergejs Povecerovskis - Latvian who played on Lido Nafta Riga.
#24 Andrejs Ignatovics - best forward in the B-World Championships.
#26 Artis Abols - Played with Latvia in four World Championships.
#11 Olegs Znaroks - Latvian who starred with DEL's EHC Freiburg.
#10 Juris Opulskis - Latvian who starred in the German Elite League.
#29 Aigars Cipruss - First goal for the new Team Latvia in '92.
#20 Harijs Vitolins - Played 8 games with the '93-94 Winnipeg Jets.
#23 Maris Drelings - Latvian who starred with HK NIK's Brih Riga.

Team Fetisov

#20 Maxim Mikhailovsky - Russian who starred with CSKA Moscow.
#1 Vladimir Myshkin - Losing goaltender in the "Miracle On Ice".

#2 Vyacheslav Fetisov - Legendary Russian defenceman.
#7 Alexei Kasatonov - Stanley Cup winner in '94 with the Rangers.
#3 Vladimir Lutchenko - Defenceman in the 1972 Summit Series.
#15 Evgeny Shtepa - Russian who starred with Krylja Sovetov.
#6 Dmitry Frolov - Russian who starred with Dynamo Moscow.
#10 Vladimir Tyurikov - Russian who starred with Spartak Moscow.
#23 Vladimir Malakhov - Stanley Cup winner in 2000 with the Devils.
#5 Alexei Gusarov - Stanley Cup winner in 1996 with the Avalanche.
#55 Sergey Gimaev - Russian who starred with Severstal Cherepovets.

#8 Alexander Golikov - Russian who starred with Dynamo Moscow.
#25 Vladimir Golikov - Russian who starred with Dynamo Moscow.
#11 Alexander Medvedev - President of the KHL.
#24 Sergei Makarov - Legendary member of the KLM line.
#16 Alexander Kozhevnikov - Russian who played on Spartak Moscow.
#13 Valery Kamensky - Stanley Cup winner in '96 on the Avalanche.
#28 Lev Berdichevsky - 38 games with the Adirondack Red Wings.
#71 Igor Varitsky - Russian who starred with Chelyabinsk Traktor.
#64 Evgeny Chizhmin - Russian who starred in the German League.
#9 Viktor Shalimov - Scoring leader in 1976 with Spartak Moscow.
#17 Vitaly Prokhorov - 83 games with the St. Louis Blues.
#51 Andrei Kovalenko - 620 NHL games with six NHL teams.
#22 Vyacheslav Anisin - Scoring leader in 1974 with Krylia Sovetov.
#26 Vyacheslav Butsaev - 132 NHL games with six teams.

It seems as though this game will be Team Latvia versus Team Russia in terms of how the teams are put together. In any case, I expect all of these legendary players to have smiles as wide as the rink as they "compete" once again for bragging rights. As you can see, the Russians would most likely have the edge if the game was all about name recognition, but they're playing the game for a reason.

I'll try and update everyone as to what happens on Saturday, but I'm going to be ridiculously busy all weekend with other happenings. Updates will happen where possible, but you can catch the KHL All-Star Game on TSN2! Check your local listings!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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