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Kunlun defeated the champion and topped the KHL table. Is Chinese leadership here to last?

Date: April 12, 2024 Time: 21:35:01

Kunlun defeated the champion and topped the KHL table. Is the Chinese leadership here to last?

September 11, 2023, 14:15 Moscow time Audio version: Your browser does not support the audio element.

It is not the first time that the “Dragons” have been torn apart from the beginning, and now the calendar also favors them.

September is an unusual time for Russian hockey: at the beginning of the season, the teams take the lead, but end up at the opposite end of the standings. The beginning of this fall is no exception: the championship is held by Kunlun, the penultimate team in the previous championship. The Chinese club, which played matches in Mytishchi, won four victories and one defeat.

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The intermediate achievement of the “red stars” is not a record. Four years ago, they went on a five-fight winning streak, mostly overcoming resistance from Sochi, Avangard, Vityaz, Dynamo Riga and Torpedo. The period of global success did not help Kunlun in any way – it did not find a place in the playoffs.

In September 2022, Red Star, by contrast, stagnated at first (losing five out of six), but in October they recovered and became a much more serious obstacle for their rivals. The Dragons defeated Barys (5-0), shocked Avangard (4-0) and defeated CSKA twice in a week and a half.

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This summer, Kunlun decided to part ways with Greg Ireland and the head coaching position went to Viktor Ignatiev. The Latvian worked with his team in three tournaments, including the 2022 Olympics, and helped Ireland at Red Star. Another fundamental difference between the current Kunlun and its previous versions is the method of preparation for the tournament. For the first time in history, the Red Stars held a full training camp.

The strongest ally of the “dragons” at the beginning is the calendar. In the first match, the Chinese lost to Spartak, who seemed to have overestimated their own abilities after a very successful pre-season. Then Kunlun trampled the worst club in the league, Sochi, and overcame the unstable Dinamo Minsk.

CSKA, with symptoms of a championship hangover and deprived of peace of mind over the Fedotov affair, pressured the Chinese in two out of three periods and, if they had been a little more focused, they would have emerged victorious in regular competition. time. The first serious and harmonious rival, Ak Bars, did not leave Kunlun the slightest chance (5-1).

Ahead of the “Red Stars” is the “Torpedo” and two games with the “Locomotive”. The teams adhere to completely different styles, and meeting them is a suitable test of Kunlun’s true abilities. Regardless of the results of these games, the now “dragon” cruisers still have a good chance to remain at the helm of the KHL until the end of September: later they will have to compete with “Admiral”, “Lada” and twice “Amur”: all of these teams are not in the best shape at the moment.

In February, most of the Kunlun hockey players will go on a long business trip to attend a series of games with the Chinese team. The KHL took this circumstance into account and made an eight-day break for the team, but before that the “red stars” will play more often than their competitors, and this is a circumstance the consequences of which can be very unpleasant.

At this moment, Kunlun’s main playing advantage is its excellent goalkeeper. Jeremy Smith stopped 40 shots in the match against Spartak and 48 in the match against CSKA. But it is difficult to be sure that this will continue to be the case when it comes to a 34-year-old goalkeeper.

* 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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