Much to your delight, I got bored during the Giants game and decided to see how the Eurohockey world is doing. I'll start in the KHL (Russia) where the West Conference shows SKA St. Petersburg running away. They are now 23-5-9, and at 82 pts have an 11-pt lead on Dinamo Minsk. Traktor Chelyabinsk holds the lead in the East with a 21-8-7 record and 5 pt lead over Metallurg Magnitogorsk.
Moving west, I'll go to 2 new leagues I found access to. The Belorussian Extraleague is led by Metallurg Zhlobin with a 29-4-3 record and 91 pts, 5 better than HK Homiel. At this point I will remind you that for simplicity's sake I put everything OT, whether win, loss, or draw, into the third column. Also, since I'm bloviating, I found two lists on the relative strength of these leagues. One is from the NHL Central Scouting, and is based on talent; the other, based on average payroll and looking at if a player could actually make a living just playing hockey. It ranks the top 7 and gives the rest "also can make a living" status. With the NHL obviously at the top of both, and ignoring minor and junior leagues, I can let you know that Belarus was on neither list, while the KHL was second on payroll and 3rd on talent.
The other new league is the Polish Hockey League, currently led by KH Sanok, 21-6-1, at 65 points leading Krakow by 10. Then would come Finland's S-M Liiga ( 4 by talent, 5 by payroll), where we find Kal Pa rolling to a 24-7-6 record and 11 point lead over Lahti.
Austria's EBHL, 9th on the talent list, is being led by Linz right now; a 25-9-8 record for 54 points, leading surprising Medvescak Zagreb by 10. Just to the north is Slovakia's Extraliga (8th on talent, also making enough on payroll), where Kosice (24-12-2) and Slovan Bratislava (24-11-3) are tied at 76 pts and the top 4 are all within 6.
The Czech Extraliga, 5 on talent and 3 on payroll, also has a fairly close-knit group at the top with Sparta Praha (19-6-12) a 3 point leader on Plzen. That brings us to Sweden's Elitserien (#2 talent, #4 payroll), where Skelleftea is the leader du jour at 17-10-9 and 63 points, with the top 5 all within 6. A different story in Denmark's AL-Bank Ligaen, with SonderjyskE fleeing the rest of the league at 23-4-3, 73 points, and a 20-point lead over Odensee, with defending champ Herning back in 4th.
The German DEL (7th on both lists), shows Eisbaren Berlin at 18-8-7, 67 points, one point up on Adler Mannheim. My Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg team is 5th, 10 back. Heading south, the National League A of Switzerland (6th on both) has 5 teams within 6 points of the top, with EV Zug (18-6-13) leading Freibourg by one. In Italy's Serie A (10th on talent, also making it on payroll), Val Pusteria continues to lead the league at 19-7-6, 66 points, 5 over Bolzano.
Norway's GET Ligaen (an also making it league) has Stavenger as usual on top, at 25-4-2, 79 points, a 16-pt lead on Valerenga. France's Ligue Magnus (another also making it league, though I don't see how with their short schedule) has perennial power Rouen on top at 12-1-2, 27 points, 3 more than Briancon. And England's EIHL is lead by the Giants of Belfast, at 26-4-3 and 55 points, 5 better than Nottingham.
Not to be forgotten is the Asia League, which also got "making it" mention. Anyang Halla, the Yankees of the Far East, are 15-5-8, 57 points, leading the Oji Eagles by 6.
And mentioning the Asia League reminds me of everyone's favorite whipping boys, the China Dragon. So, once again, let's visit the Worst Teams In The World list.
9 teams met my requirements for badness, and I've ranked them by their average margin of defeat.
#9- Nitra of Slovakia: 6-25-7, av. loss by 1.4.
#8-Avtomobilst Yekaterinburg (KHL): 5-24-7, av. loss by 1.6.
#7- Vitebsk of Belarus: 6-23-7, 2.3.
#6-Manglerud of Norway: 5-23-3, 2.5.
#5- Fife Flyers of the UK: 4-22-4, 2.9.
#4-MMKS Podhale of Poland: 2-20-6, 3.1.
#3- Torun of Poland: 5-20-3, 3.3.
#2- Frisk Asker of Norway: 3-25-3, 4.4.
#1- China Dragon, Asia League: 0-23-1, 5.4.
All of which reminded me of a few years back when I was making fun of the nasceany Israeli league, especially the woebegone Bat-Yam team. Well, this year, it took them till after Thanksgiving to even start their league, and their website has not updated past those first games. One of those teams got clubbed 20-0, but one game is not a league so enjoy your title, China Dragons!