Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Ak Bars up 2-0 in RSL semi-finals

Avangard, Metallurg tied 1-1

Two of the best-looking jerseys in Russia: Metallurg vs. Avangard, 3-30-07

Top-seed Ak Bars Kazan has been beating up on #6 CSKA (Central Army) in the Russian Super League semi-finals so far, winning the first two games by scores of 5-2 and 4-2 while taking a 2-0 lead in their best-of-five match-up.

Ak Bars' high-powered offense features Russia's premier scoring line in Alexei Morozov (who's been battling the flu), Danis Zaripov, and Sergei Zinovjev, but it's lesser-known forward Alexander Stepanov who's been leading the way so far against CSKA, with 2 goals and 2 assists over the two games.

Meanwhile, #2 Metallurg Magnitogorsk and #4 Avangard Omsk are tied in their semi-final series at a game apiece, with Metallurg winning game one yesterday, 3-1, and Avangard taking game two earlier today, 2-1. The main story of this series so far has been the play of Metallurg goalie Travis Scott, who was the RSL leader in goals-against average during the regular season (1.61 in 45 games).

To see the semi-final round standings as of today's games, click here.

Vyacheslav Bykov on the cover of Soviet Sport
after game one controversy

Central Army head coach Vyacheslav Bykov caused a stir during CSKA's game one 5-2 loss at Ak Bars, after drawing a misconduct penalty for delay of game when he momentarily withdrew his team from the ice in protest of the officiating.

CSKA was frustrated by the officiating throughout the game, with the CSKA bench having already been giving one misconduct earlier for chirping at the referee. Then at the mid-way point of the second period, CSKA defensman Jan Platil disagreed with another call and refused to take his seat in the penalty box. Bykov, who is also the head coach of the Russian National Team, backed his player up and took his team off the ice.

The game report in Sport Express said that at first it looked like Bykov was going to send his entire team to the locker room, with CSKA already down 4-0. Bykov later denied this, though he did say, "This is hockey, and emotions are a part of the game."

Getting your ass beat and then going away quietly is not a part of the game, apparently.