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    Posted by japanstats on 2009 December 10日 Thursday

    CCCP Big Red Machine


    Posted in 01_日本語, 02_English, hockey, International | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

    KHL and the Russian Economy

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 November 7日 Friday

    A fascinating interview about the KHL and the Russian Economy by the first reporter who have conducted an English language interview with Jaromir Jagr since he made his move to the KHL club Avangard Omsk (RIP Alexei Cherepanov), from where else, NY Times’ Slapshot blog:

    Q: Your article last weekend portrayed a K.H.L. that seems to be on the rise. Has there been reaction from N.H.L. types, who generally have tended to play down the Russian league’s viability?

    ANDREW MEIER: To judge from reaction I’ve heard, N.H.L. officials are intrigued. Certainly if you ask anyone on the Rangers, who learned firsthand in their preseason game against Magnitogorsk, few doubt the level of play in the new league. And Magnitka, as your readers know, ain’t even close to the top of the K.H.L. I would not be surprised to see the N.H.L. moving eastward, as the Russians move westward — and we get N.H.L. season openers one day soon in Russia.

    Q: The world financial crisis of the last few weeks has hit Russia hard, particularly affecting industries like oil, steelmaking and mining. Since several teams in the K.H.L. are owned or sponsored by such industries, will they have to drastically cut expenses? Will we see a fire sale of players, for example?

    A.M.: Couple of things we have to remember when trying to gauge how hard the global financial crisis will hit Russian sports. First of all, Russia’s stock market began to plummet much earlier — back in May. It then sank in most dramatic fashion in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Georgia in August. It’s down, way down, but still alive. (When trading gets too wild, they shut it down for the day.) Second: the Russian state has been saving up for this rainy day. The state oil reserve fund has at least $141 billion. Third: Putin and Medvedev have moved quickly to shore up the favored oligarchs, offering liquidity lifelines to a host of industrial and financial titans. Finally, even though Russia lives on oil and gas exports and the oil price has fallen in recent weeks, it’s still higher than the price pegged (roughly $70/barrel) in the state budget.


    Posted in 02_English, hockey, NHL, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

    Kontinental Hockey League update

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 May 20日 Tuesday

    A good primer on the ongoing situation of the KHL startup by James Mirtle of the Globe. 

    This is the brainchild of Alexander Ivanovich Medvedev, a Russian oil baron and the vice-president of Gazprom, who has his heart set on creating a hockey league that can rival the NHL. But rather than take the best teams in Europe — let’s say Jokerit and HC Davos — or creating new teams, what’s happened so far is a modest expansion of the Super League and a new name.

    The RSL had 20 teams last season, but for 2008-09, there’ll be 24, with three teams from Belarus, Kazakhstan and Latvia, as well as a Russian club that was playing in a lower division, all joining the fray.

    This is what the league will look like next season, as per Google Maps.

    (In addition, the creation of the Continental Hockey League coincides with the start of the Champions League tournament, a high-profile new event to be played among the top 12 teams in Europe for the first time this fall. Here’s hoping that’ll be picked up on television in North America.)

    Medvedev’s goal is to expand the KHL to 30 teams by the following season, using gobs of money to lure foreign teams from competing leagues like the Swedish Elitserien. Frölunda, one of Sweden’s richest and most successful teams, and Färjestad have been targeted already.

    Medvedev has said teams from Austria, Finland and Germany have also shown interest in the KHL.

    Färjestad’s club director Hakan Loob apparently recently travelled to Russia to discuss the specifics of a switch with KHL representatives. And the new league has a Swedish agent, Leif Nilsson, on board to work with the KHL.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, a big hockey fan, is also apparently supportive of the move. Investment in hockey, and salaries, has consistently risen as oil and gas prices rise, as many of the former RSL’s ownership groups are energy-based mega-companies.

    Here’s the map of the league’s clubs.

    And the division structure:

    Bobrov Division Tarasov Division Kharlamov Division Chernyshev Division
    Salavat Yulaev Ufa Metallurg Magnitogorsk Avangard Omsk AkBars Kazan
    Dynamo Minsk Avtomobilist Ekaterinburg Lokomotiv Yaroslavl Barys Astana
    Spartak Moscow Traktor Chelyabinsk Lada Togliatti Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod
    Metallurg Novokuznetsk HC MVD Balashikha Sibir Novosibirsk Vityaz Chekhov
    Severstal Cherepovets SKA St-Petersburg Amur Khabarovsk Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk
    Atlant Mytischi CSKA Moscow Dinamo Riga Dynamo Moscow

    Posted in 02_English, hockey, information, International, NHL | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

    Quarterfinals set for 2008 Worlds

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 May 14日 Wednesday

    The quarterfinals for the 2008 World Championship in Halifax and Quebec City has been set. With the disappointing performance (combined with the ineligible German player controversy) sent Slovakia down to a relegation series against Slovenia, which it won (France, with Huet being the difference maker, won the other relegation battle against Italy.)

    Quarterfinals on 14 May are:

    Czech Republic – Sweden

    Norway – Canada

    Russia – Switzerland

    USA – Finland

    The CZE-SWE and RUS-FIN matches will be great clashes of titans, and the Swiss are always strong and can easily give the talented Russian squad a run for its money. Canada has the easiest draw, but the team only won 2-1 over Norway thanks to a last minute Nash goal, so we’ll see if Grotnes can pull off the supergoalie gig yet again. 

    Some great quotes from the Norwegians  🙂

    Even getting this far is an amazing triumph for the Norwegian national hockey program, which operates on an annual budget of less than $1-million. Heatley alone operates on an annual budget 10 times that.

    It is a team that boasts a former NHL player, 32-year-old Anders Myrvold, who last played for the Detroit Red Wings in 2004, and a collection of European professionals, semi-pros and amateurs.

    But they have, Myrvold said, a secret weapon.

    “We have Viking blood,” he said. “You know Viking blood? It doesn’t exist in Canada.”

    The players are salesmen and teachers – one for kindergarten – but mostly they are in building trades, carpenters like Grotnes, electricians and plumbers.

    “If you need anything, just give us a call,” Myrvold said with a laugh. “You can’t call the Canadian team. All they can do is play hockey.”


    Surprisingly, attendance has been disappointing, especially in Halifax where all Canada games have been held so far.

    Posted in 02_English, hockey, information, International, opinion, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    IIHF Uniform Watch

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 May 10日 Saturday

    The great, the good, and the ugly

    Canada, of course, in a money grub move have new sweaters for this IIHF 100th anniversary tournament they’re hosting at home. Other teams all have the same Nike template uniforms, which are all boring except for a couple of them. Luckily, all teams wore throwback jerseys from various eras, and they were mostly good.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in 02_English, culture, hockey, information, International, NHL, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

    Hungarian hockey

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 May 2日 Friday

    A good article by Bill Meltzer, as always, in the NHL.com’s Across the Pond series, on the victorious Hungarian team at the World Championships Division I B in Sapporo last month, and their triumphant hero’s return to their homeland where they were greeted by 1000 fans! Wow, this just shows how Hungarians are really getting into hockey, I can’t imagine the same thing happening in Japan had Japan won the promotion up to the top division elsewhere and returned home.

    But the more interesting part of the article for me is the inset box.

    Over the course of the last decade, Alba Volan Szekesfehervar has become the most dominant club team in Hungary’s domestic league, OB1. This season, Alba Volan won its sixth consecutive Hungarian championship and eighth title in the last 10 years.More significantly, the 2007-08 season marked the first time Alba Volan competed in Austria’s Erste Bank Eishockey Liga. The Austrian circuit, which also includes Slovenian clubs Olimpia Ljubljana and Acroni Jesenice, is a significant step up in competition from OB1.

    As expected, the Hungarian team finished in last place in the Erste Bank Liga by a large margin. The club lost 35 of its 42 games. Alba Volan by far had the league’s weakest offensive attack and allowed the most goals in the league. Even the ninth-place Graz 99ers finished the campaign with 30 more goals scored, five fewer goals allowed, and 17 more wins (10 in regulation, five in overtime and two in shootouts).

    Meanwhile, during the OB1 regular season, Alba Volan iced a club of developmental players. The team finished sixth in the seven-club league, but the key players on Alba Volan’s Erste Bank Liga roster returned for the playoffs.

    The Hungarian finals saw Alba Volan defeat Romanian club HC Miercurea Ciuc in four straight games. The decisive 6-0 victory in Szekesfehervar was played in front of a capacity crowd of 3,500 fans.

    So, Alba Volan simultaneously contributed to making the Hungarian national side stronger with their participation in the much tougher Austrian EBHL, and came home and defeated a Romanian side that reached the Hungarian championship, but in turn the Romanian team’s participation in the Hungarian league is making their national side stronger as well.

    Japan is in on one end of a similar deal with the Asia League, as it has bring up the level of play of the Korean clubs and national team (the Chinese are more questionable). But Japan is not the beneficiary of anything similar on the receiving end as Japanese clubs are not participating in any leagues that are tougher than the Asian League. Is there a regional Siberian league? If so, what is it’s level of play?

    Maybe Japan can send in a club to that league if the federation’s really serious about moving up to the top division (doubtful, what with the lack of effort put into Sapporo). Even scheduling regular training matches against Khavarovsk and Vladivostok would help you’d think, but regular league matches would really help.

    Posted in 02_English, Asia League Ice Hockey, hockey, information, International, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »


    Posted by japanstats on 2008 April 6日 Sunday


    同名の映画から生まれたフィンランドのロックバンド、レニングラード・カウボーイズが、ロシア赤軍合唱団と一緒に、とってもアメリカーンなLynyrd Skynyrd のSweet Home Alabama をロシアで演奏! 

    Posted in 01_日本語, culture, music, random | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    KHL: The Russian answer to the NHL

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 March 14日 Friday

    A good roundup on Eurohockey.net about the KHL (Kontinental Hockey League) that will replace the Russian Super League in Russia. The league aims to expand beyond Russia, and already have a Kazakhstani club Barys Astana join the league, and there are rumours about Jokerit Helsinki of Finland as well. The league will operate with 24 teams, but only have 22 teams committed so far. It will be interesting to see who the other 2 teams will be.

    I’m not quite keen on the division idea that will have ever changing divisions according to team strength (like in the soccer World Cup, teams are put into a pool, and drawn out of a hat, lottery style to determine the divisions). At least locking in the divisions for 3-5 years would create some consistency since the divisions are not geographical anyways.

    The salary cap of approximately $24 million per team will be enough to retain and regain some (marginal) Russian talent from the NHL. The salary power balance is reminiscent of the balance between MLB and NPB. Unless the KHL really takes off and can bring salary levels up to near-NHL levels (though it’s already pretty impressive at nearly half), it won’t be a truly competitive league (like in soccer with the English, Spanish, and Italian leagues). But it’s a good start, let’s hope the league has a financially viable business model.

    Incorporating drafts and player exchange trades into Europe will be a really interesting sports business experiment.

    Posted in 02_English, hockey, information, International, NHL, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »