As the KHL and NHL continue their race to see who can sign more of the others’ players — welcome Alexander Vasyunov, farewell Pavel Valentenko — their fans have taken the game of one-upmanship to a new level. Not willing to be outdone by a fan in Philadelphia who launched a smoke bomb onto the ice during an NHL game last Sunday, Dynamo Moscow fans forced the cancellation of a KHL match between their club and AK Bars Kazan on Thursday by setting off a series of smoke bombs in the stands, blanketing the arena in a haze of smoke as Washington Capital Alex Ovechkin — home to visit his ailing grandfather — looked on.
Ok, so the actions of fans in Moscow really had nothing whatsoever to do with what happened in Philly. In fact, according to Dynamo president Mikhail Golovkov it was a pre-meditated attack — perhaps to protest Dynamo ticket policies — planned for the high-profile, televised match with AK Bars.
Following a late first-period goal with which Dynamo knotted the score at one, the as-yet unidentified hooligans set off three smoke bombs in the seats behind the AK Bars net. The two teams played the remaining 2:47 of the first period as the smoke began to spread its way through the building, and by the time the first intermission had ended, the smoke had cooled and a haze had blanketed the entire arena and ice surface. After multiple delays to the start of the second period, with no signs of the smoke dissipating, the decision was made by the KHL, doctors, law enforcement officials and the teams themselves to call the game.
The game will be made up, in its entirety, on January 13th, at an alternate site. Dynamo Moscow will be fined the sum of $300,000 for the behavior of their “fans”, and face the prospect of having to find a new place to play if a reoccurance of Thursday’s events takes place. The club will also responsible for any expenses incured by AK Bars in relation to the January 13th make-up game.
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