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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Chris' eurohockey stuff starts

As you might guess, this has been a wind-down day, so I thought I'd look at the already-opening euro-hockey seasons.
Sweden's Elitserien opened today, with Linkoping topping AIK 5-1 in the opener. Defending champ HV71 plays Djurgardens tomorrow in a playoff rematch.
The Czech Extraliga, including Karlovy Vary, who tried and failed to get permission to join the KHL, opens Friday. The Finnish S-M Liga opens tomorrow.
The Slovak Extraliga, including Poprad who tried and failed to get permission to join the KHL, opened a week ago, and defending champ Kosice is already in a battle with MHC Mountfield Martin for the top spot. The Swiss National League A opened last Friday, and last year's runner up HC Davos is tied with 2 others at 2-0; one of those is EV Zug, who whupped defending champ SC Bern in their openner 4-1.
The German DEL openned two Fridays ago, and the defending champs Hanover Scorpions have rolled to a 3-1 record, their only loss a 2-1 OT affair to last year's regular season winner, the Icebears of Berlin. Unfortunately for the Berliners, that is their only win thus far.
The AL-Bank Ligaen of Denmark is having a season-opening tourney, in which they have just reached the semis. Both the Norwegian GET-Ligaen and the French Ligue Magnus open Saturday, while the Italian Serie A waits till next Thursday.
The Austrian Erste-Bank Liga opened earlier in the week with a replay of last year's final. Same result- Red Bull Salzburg beat Black Wings Linz 5-3.
In Jolly ol', the EIHL opened 2 weeks ago, with Nottingham running to a 4-0 record, the most recent a 9-4 rout of Dundee on the road. Defending champ Belfast is 3-1 having suffered a shootout loss to the Nottinghammers in their second match.
Last but not least, the KHL is well underway, with the early lead belonging to 2 surprise teams. Sibir Novosibirsk is one of the 3-1 teams, rolling their first 3 games (albeit 2 of them were against usually hapless Amur) before losing to the other 3-1 team, Dinamo Minsk. The Belorussians have made more of an achievement, though, beating Ak Bars and Lokomotiv in addition to Sibir. Their loss was a 2-1 setback to Torpedo Nizhny-Novgorod. Thankfully, my beloved Lokomotiv recovered to top Atlant and Torpedo to move to 2-1. Media favorite and early choice to be new champ SKA St. Petersburg has struggled to a merely human 2-2 record. To make it worse, their losses were to Spartak in a 5-1 rout and to Amur (!) in OT.
My source in the Asia Hockey League complains that here we are with the season opening Sunday and the league website is "under construction". Also, apparently they were considering expanding the league presence in mainland China by splitting the team from last year into two, which he hoped doesn't happen because "they were brutal last year as one squad". Let's see- last year's attempt to expand the Chinese presence was to have the one crappy team call two cities home. This year they want to split one crappy team into two crappier teams so that each city might suffer. And they wonder why the website wasn't up! (PS I checked the site. It is up... but you can't do anything on it yet.)

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