KHL opens sophomore season with Cup rematch
Thursday September 10th 2009, 11:36 pm

The Kontinental Hockey League kicked off it’s 2009-2010 season on Thursday with a rematch of last spring’s Gagarin Cup final between champions AK Bars Kazan and runners-up Lokomotiv Yaroslavl.  AK Bars reprised their Cup victory in dramatic fashion when Alexei Morozov scored his second of the game with just nine seconds remaining in overtime to give his team a 3-2 victory in the lone game on the KHL schedule.

Former Pittsburgh Penguin prospect Janne Pesonen scored the other goal for Kazan, while Gennady Churilov and former Carolina Hurricane and New York Islander Josef Vasicek provided the goals for Yarsoslavl.  Radek Bonk, most recently of the Nashville Predators, was in the penalty box for Morozov’s overtime game-winner.  Former Ranger prospect Jarkko Immonen made his KHL debut for the reigning champions, finishing scoreless and a  +1 in just under 15 minutes of playing time.

Eight more teams will get their seasons underway on Friday.  Of particular note to New York Rangers fans will be the season opener between Moscow rivals CSKA and Dynamo.  Rangers 2009 seventh round draft pick Mikhail Pashnin is expected to make his KHL debut for CSKA, while the status fellow defenseman Pavel Valentenko, acquired as part of the trade that sent Scott Gomez to Montreal this summer, remains uncertain following an injury suffered two weeks ago.  The game will be available live online starting at 11:30am EDT.

As I did last season with Avangard Omsk, I’ve set up pages containing the schedules for both CSKA and Dynamo and will update them with scores and links to online broadcasts and highlights (when available) for those who want to keep tabs on the Rangers’ two KHL-based prospects.  And for those who still wish to follow Jaromir Jagr and Avangard Omsk, I’ve once again posted the Avangard schedule and will update it with links and results throughout the season.  (All three schedules can also be found in the “Links” section to the left.)

Avangard’s season gets underway on Saturday when they face Barys Astana at 5:00am EDT.  That game is scheduled to be shown live on the new and much improved KHL web site, which was re-launched today to coincide with the start of the new season.  (Unfortunately, the — extremely limited — English-language content that existed previously appears to have been lost in the transition.)

Rangers prospects set to do battle at the 2009 Moscow Mayor’s Cup (UPDATED)
Thursday September 03rd 2009, 8:05 am

Three New York Rangers prospects who are playing in Russia this season will take turns facing off against one another starting today as part of the 2009 Moscow Mayor’s Cup, a pre-season exhibition tournament that pits four classic Moscow teams (and bitter rivals) against one another.

Summer acquisition Pavel Valentenko (#3) and Dynamo Moscow kicked off the four day event at Moscow’s Megasport Arena earlier this morning with a 4-2 victory over Krylya Sovetov. The day’s second contest will pit 2009 draft pick Mikhail Pashnin (#3) and CSKA Moscow against former Hartford Wolf Pack defenseman Ivan Baranka (#7) and Spartak Moscow, beginning at 11:00am (all times EDT). The current teams take Friday off in favor of a pair of legends games before regrouping for more games on Saturday and Sunday.  For Dynamo, Spartak and CSKA, the tournament serves as the final tune-up before the 2009-2010 KHL season gets underway on September 10th.

Those wanting to whet their appetite for the upcoming hockey season can watch all the games (except Friday’s legends matches) live online at using the links below. The feeds will also be archived at the same locations shortly after their conclusion for later viewing.

UPDATE 2:30pm: Scratch Valentenko off your scorecard.  Dynamo head coach Sergei Kotov reports the defenseman will not participate in the Mayor’s Cup games due to an unspecified injury.

In the second game of the day, CSKA topped Spartak 3-2 in a shootout.  Neither Pashnin or Baranka earned points, but the latter was in the penalty box when CSKA scored to make it 2-1.

Date Time Home Away
09/03/2009 4:30am Dynamo Moscow Krylya Sovetov watch
09/03/2009 11:00am Spartak Moscow CSKA Moscow watch
09/05/2009 5:00am CSKA Moscow Krylya Sovetov watch
09/05/2009 9:00am Spartak Moscow Dynamo Moscow watch
09/06/2009 5:00am Spartak Moscow Krylya Sovetov watch
09/06/2009 9:00am Dynamo Moscow CSKA Moscow watch

CSKA takes fourth place in Red Bulls Salute
Sunday August 30th 2009, 11:47 pm
Photo: CSKA Moscow

Photo: CSKA Moscow

Mikhail Pashnin’s CSKA Moscow fell 5-3 to Finland’s Espoo Blues in the bronze metal game at the 2009 Red Bull Salute on Sunday, earning a disappointing fourth place finish in the preseason exhibition tournament.

Pashnin furthered his bid for a roster spot when CSKA kicks off its regular season in a week and a half with another strong performance.  The New York Rangers 2009 seventh round pick played a prominent role on defense, receiving significant playing time in all situations — including some on the power play.  The 20-year old defenseman also showed a bit of an offensive flair that hadn’t been evident in the tournament’s previous two games, driving to the net with the puck and pinching in on the play a few times.

On the down side, Pashnin was on the ice for two power play goals against — one a 5-on-3 against and both during a major boarding call against Denis Kulyash in the second period.  The goals broke the game open and gave the Blues a lead they’d never relinquish.  Pashnin earned a minor boarding call of his own midway through the third, but the hit that earned him the penalty call was a beautiful shoulder check along the boards in front of the benches that probably shouldn’t have been whistled.  The Blues scored on the ensuing power play, but the goal was waved off for reasons that weren’t clear from the live feed.

CSKA returns to Moscow on Monday for their final preseason warm-up, the Mayor’s Cup, which kicks off on Thursday.

Filed under: Mikhail Pashnin