Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Ak Bars, Avangard to meet in Russian finals

We're making enemies faster than we can kill them
Ak Bars, with Fred Brathwaite in goal, vs. Lokomotiv 4/5/06

The top four finishers in the Russian Super League regular season this year were also the last four teams left standing in the post-season, with Avangard Omsk and Ak Bars Kazan winning their semi-final matches to advance to the championship finals, which begin April 12th at Kazan.

Metallurg Magnitogorsk was by far the best team during the regular season, accumulating 38 wins and 127 points, well ahead of second-place Ak Bars Kazan (25 wins, 98 points). Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (96 points) and Avangard Omsk (93 points) finished third and fourth, respectively. Metallurg boasted the top goalie in Travis Scott (1.25 GAA, .947 sv pct, 13 shutouts in 50 games played) and the second-leading points scorer in Evgeni Malkin (26 goals and 33 assists in 53 games), but were beaten by fourth-seed Avangard in the semi-finals, 3 games to 1, with all four games being decided by one goal.

Avangard won Game One of the series on a freak goal in overtime, when a shot taken by Nikita Nikitin (Fred Fredburger! Yes!) missed the net, only to rebound off the end boards and onto goalie Travis Scott before trickling into the net. Metallurg won the second game, 4-3, on a controversial last-minute phantom goal in which video replays "clearly showed the puck crossing the goal line before ricocheting back out" (

In the other semi-final, Ak Bars swept Lokomotiv, 3 games to none. In Ak Bars' series-clinching 5-2 victory in Game Three, Alexei Morozov, the leading scorer in the RSL this season (30 goals and 35 assists for 65 points in 58 games), tallied a goal and two assists, while former Hartford Wolf Pack forward Vladimir Vorobiev (third on the Ak Bars team in scoring during the regular season) added 3 assists.

I'm the one who farted and ruined Christmas
"Hey, Louie Armstrong-- Shut the fuck up!"

Lokomotiv might've had the Trumpeter Swan on their side, but the Yaroslavl faithful had to deal with visiting Ak Bars fans carrying the traditional team flags and waving them in their faces, so I guess that makes things even.

What easily ranks as the biggest controversy so far in this year's Russian Super League playoffs happened during the quarterfinal series between Metallurg Mg and Lada Togliatti. In Game One of that series, Metallurg team captain Evgeni Varlamov accidentally struck Lada's Alexei Emelin with the puck. When Varlamov went over to Emelin to apologize, Emelin swung his stick and knocked Varlamov unconcious. Emelin later claimed that he only meant to shove Varlamov away from him in anger; meanwhile, despite remaining unconcious overnight, Varlamov returned to play only 10 days later. Varlamov also forgave Emelin and refused to take legal action.

The photo gallery on Mettalurg's web site has a series of photos from the incident-- when you click on the link, the main photo shows Emelin being led aside as Varlamov lays on the ice behind him. Russian Prospects also posted a 43-seconds-long video of the incident; maybe it'll work for you, but all I get is the audio from it.

As always, check out Russian Prospects and Russian Hockey Digest for the best coverage of the Russian Super League, and the remaining games from this year's playoffs.

(Editing note: The Jaromir Jagr article that was originally a part of this post has been moved to here)


Anonymous prickly pear said...

I'm almost more excited about Vladi and the Ak Bars' finals than I am about the upcoming Wolf Pack playoffs! Anyone want to donate a round-trip plane ticket to Kazan?

4/11/06, 1:01 PM

Blogger Brushback said...

With all due respect to Jaromir Jagr, I think I'm kinda rooting for Ak Bars myself.

Could that trumpeting Lokomotiv fan's jersey be pulled any snugger? It looks like one wrong note and he'd bust the hem on that thing.

4/11/06, 9:56 PM

Anonymous Locomotive Louie said...

That tight jersey is a Valliquette gamer.

Everybody's doin' a brand new dance now
(C'mon baby do the loco-motion)
I know you'll get to like it
If you give it a chance now
(C'mon baby do the loco-motion)
My little baby sister can do it with ease
It's easier than learning your a b c's
So come on, come on,
Do the loco-motion with me

You gotta swing your hips now
Come on baby, jump up, hmmm jump back
Oh well I think you got the knack

4/11/06, 10:27 PM

Blogger Brushback said...

Here's a pretty good interview with Maxim Sushinsky that appeared on Russian Prospects a short while back:

Maxim Sushinski: I'm 99% sure that I will go to the NHL

4/24/06, 9:53 PM

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5/7/06, 8:39 PM

Blogger Brushback said...

Cool your jets, why don'tcha. Jeez!

5/8/06, 10:28 AM


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