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Complete cleanup or occasional update? What will happen to the main losers of the KHL?

Date: April 20, 2024 Time: 08:15:00

The Gagarin Cup competition for the 2023/2024 season begins on February 29. But, of course, not all KHL teams will enter the fight for the main trophy. For six clubs, the current season has already ended or is about to end after the regular season. Let’s summarize and talk about those who will go on vacation ahead of schedule.


“Vityaz” (11th place)

Last season was marked for the Moscow Region team with the best performance in the club’s history in the KHL. Under the leadership of Vyacheslav Butsaev, Vityaz, playing in Balashikha, took sixth place in the Western Conference according to the results of the regular season, after which they gave a real fight to Lokomotiv in the first round of the playoffs. The team from the Moscow region even achieved its first victory in a KHL cup match, and the remaining four meetings became the most difficult test for the clear favorite of that series.

However, after the end of the season, the club management disagreed with Butsaev on a contract extension, which became the starting point for the disastrous performance of the next season. The new head coach was Alexander Zavyalov, who was previously part of Butsaev’s coaching staff. One of the most experienced assistants in the KHL had never held the position of head coach before, and his debut experience was unsuccessful.

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Already at the beginning of October, after the crushing defeat against CSKA (1-9) in Vityaz, the coach resigned. Furthermore, it is important to note that the initiator of the departure was Zavyalov himself, who admitted that he could not face the new challenge. He was replaced by Dmitry Ryabykin, under whose leadership Vityaz’s game improved significantly. In some matches, the club beat the favorites, winning brilliant victories, including over Avangard, Lokomotiv and the future winner of the Continental Cup, Dynamo Moscow. But this was not enough to count on the playoffs.

It is already known that Ryabykin is unlikely to keep his place for next season. The specialist himself highlighted at the post-match press conference in Magnitogorsk that Vityaz did not enter into negotiations with him on a new contract and is unlikely to plan to do so. According to rumors, one of the main contenders for the position of head coach is Pavel Zubov, currently in charge of the VHL club Molot.

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HC Sochi (10th place)

At the beginning of the regular season, HC Sochi was perhaps the main sensation of the current KHL season. Dmitry Kokorev’s team had a spectacular start to the season, managing to score 21 points in 16 games, while in the last regular season the “leopards” managed only 32 points in 68 games. The southernmost KHL club was in the playoff zone and beat favorites Ak Bars, Lokomotiv and SKA.

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We clearly know the moment when everything began to collapse. The close “cooperation” with the SKA failed. The army club traded Sochi leader Borna Rendulic, delivering Marat Khusnutdinov in return. It was after this agreement that the “leopards” game faded sharply. Of course, there were other reasons for the Sochi crisis, from injuries to illness. But it is quite possible that Rendulic’s departure simply psychologically killed the rest of the team’s players, who once again realized that Sochi is, first of all, an appendage of the Neva club.

And the solution of sports problems in such a situation takes a backseat. What can we talk about here when the club simply parts ways with its main star at a time when its chances of reaching the playoffs are not even lost? If the entire club management system continues to function in the same way, then no clear sporting results will be expected from Sochi, since any player of the team who shoots the slightest will immediately end up on the field of the St. Petersburg army team.

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Kunlun Red Star (9th place)

The main headliner of the last 24 hours in the KHL, Kunlun Red Star, after a sensational victory in St. Petersburg, secured ninth place in the Western Conference. The day before, the “dragons” surprised the entire hockey community by managing to defeat SKA, which deprived Roman Rotenberg’s team of the opportunity to defend the Continental Cup won last season.

This success became the most vivid memory of the “dragons” game in the regular season, but the Chinese certainly cannot be blamed for not making the playoffs. A surprising and inexplicable incident occurred, obviously dictated by some political reasons that had no relation to the sport. At the beginning of February, Red Star players were supposed to participate in the Olympic qualification as part of the Chinese national team.

Kunlun Red Star

Photo: photo.khl.ru

The Chinese Kunlun Red Star played their final game of the KHL regular season on February 4. The Dragons’ next game was only scheduled for February 13. This pause in the championship was granted to the Chinese for the sake of their participation in the Olympic qualification. Due to this tournament, Kunlun played double matches more frequently during the first part of the season, had the busiest schedule in the league, which led to a large number of injuries, poor results and the fact that the team missed an opportunity real to win. reach the playoffs even before the start of the season in February.

However, at the last moment, the management of the Chinese Hockey Federation decided to dispense with the Kunlun players. As a result, the national team, composed exclusively of Chinese, could not qualify for the Games and Red Star already had the season lost. Although the assembled squad obviously allowed us to fight to be among the top eight, as demonstrated by the same victory over SKA. Now the main question is what will happen to Kunlun next. If your help is no longer relevant for the Chinese team.

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“Barys” (11th place)

At the moment, Oleg Bolyakin’s team has scored 48 points in 67 games. The current season can officially be considered the worst in Barys’ history. Even if they win the last game of the season, the club from the capital of Kazakhstan will update its own anti-record points based on the results of the KHL regular season. At the end of the 2022/2023 season, the capital club also took the last place in the East, but scored 61 points.

Eddie Pascual

Photo: photo.khl.ru

Now the Astana team managed to do even worse. And this despite the fact that Barys, like any other foreign club, plays in the KHL on preferential conditions and has no restrictions on the use of foreign players. In the offseason, Barys brought goaltender Eddie Pasquale back into their ranks, making him the highest-paid goaltender in the league. But Pasquale’s game did not go well, which greatly contributed to the quick resignation of Andrei Skabelka. Galym Mambetaliev also failed to improve the situation, as a result of which the club finished the championship under the leadership of the general director. But this move didn’t work either.

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“Sibir” (10th place)

The author of the loudest failure of the season was the management of Sibir, who made a mistake by violating the limit on foreign players. In general, the problems of the Novosibirsk team began in the off-season, when the club’s general director Kirill Fastovsky decided not to renew the contract with coach Andrei Martemyanov. And this despite reaching the playoffs.

“Siberia” decided to change the vector to beautiful hockey and appointed David Nemirovsky to the position of head coach. But everything turned out to be extremely unsuccessful. There was no beautiful hockey or sporting result. As a result, Nemirovski was fired and Sergei Krivokrasov became the new mentor. And then that fatal force majeure occurred.

It turned out that at the beginning of the season, by some miracle, “Sibir” had a fourth foreign player in the squad, the status of which neither the head coach, nor the general director, nor the sports director knew. Defender Fedor Gordeev was born in Omsk, but had not played in Russia until this season. According to this simple rule, he became a legionnaire through sports citizenship (differs from ordinary citizenship).

This negligence cost Sibir four points, which in the end were not enough for the team to qualify for the playoffs. According to numerous sources, the Siberian sports director Sergei Klimovich has already paid for a serious mistake with his position; Fastovsky, who has worked at the club for the past 14 seasons, almost certainly will not keep his job. If this happens, then such a turn of events can be considered a real revolution.

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Neftekhimik (9th place)

The Nizhnekamsk team started the current season very poorly, suffering seven defeats in eight games. The goalkeepers were greatly disappointed because they could not do their job. At the beginning of the regular season, the Nizhnekamsk team lost a large number of points, which played a cruel joke on them at the end of the championship. As the season progressed, Oleg Leontyev managed to rectify the situation, largely thanks to goalkeeper Philip Dolganov, who became a blessing for the entire championship.

Philip Dolganov

Photo: photo.khl.ru

But Amur’s long winning streak proved fatal for Neftekhimik. Unlike last season, this time Nizhnekamsk did not qualify for the playoffs. However, there is definitely no reason to panic and become discouraged. In the off-season, the team needs to preserve its core, which proved to be the best in the second part of the season. And next year the team should not be able to make the playoffs.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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