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CHL, KHL etc.

Kaunisto

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Since I'll now and then get the urge to talk about European ice hockey, I'll just make this topic for that general purpose.


Champions Hockey League is now being played for third time and this will (at least for some time) be last season with 48 teams; next year they'll cut it to 32. Also the nature of CHL changes in big ways: there are no longer guaranteed places for the two dozen founding teams and CHL places between participating national leagues are decided by previous success (with maximum of 5 teams per league, compared to Swedish and Finnish leagues currently having 8 teams).
For that reason it's particularly bad that Finnish teams are doing worse than the two previous seasons - we might only get 4 teams in next year. Though it's likely 6 out of 8 will make it to 32-team playoff, and the other two aren't certainly out yet.


The interesting thing about KHL this season is expansion to China. The Chinese team Kunlun Red Star will play their first game at thursday. The team has most Finnish players of all KHL teams (besides our own Helsinki Jokerit of course) as well as Russian coach who worked in Finland at 90's (as did his father, with more success).
Jokerit hasn't started well this year, losing two of the three game so far.
 

Kaunisto

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Quick quiz: which countries have teams in both KHL and CHL?

Answer:
Finland, Slovakia and Belarus.

That is, currently. If we look potentially, it gets more complicated. One place in CHL is reserved for winner of Continental Cup - tournament with number of countries/leagues not generally in CHL. The countries with a KHL team and team(s) in Continental Cup - that could win it and thus play in CHL next season - are Latvia and Kazakhstan.

The 20th Continental Cup begins at end of this month.
 

Kaunisto

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CHL group phase is over and 16 teams are out, 32 continue to playoffs.

Number of teams from each country/league and how many are in playoffs:

Finland 8/8
Sweden 7/8
Switzerland 6/6
Czech 4/6+1 (the +1 is Czechian team that plays in Austrian league)
Germany 3/6
Slovakia 2/2
Austria 1/3
Belarus 1/1
Norway 0/2
France 0/2
UK 0/1
Denmark 0/1
Poland 0/1

Playoff draw tomorrow.
 

Kaunisto

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While Russian teams have always dominated KHL - with exception of Czech Lev Prague barely losing 2014 final - right now we have situation that all 7 non-Russian teams are below playoff line. Still early season and some of the non-Russians are ones with least games played, but nevertheless ominous.
 

Kaunisto

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First round of CHL playoffs is done and now we have left 16 teams:

4 Finnish teams
4 Swedish teams
4 Swiss teams
3 Czech teams
1 German team
 

Kaunisto

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Out of curiosity I made a quick calculation (may be little off here and there) about how hockey teams are named: NHL-KHL-CHL. Here's how many teams are named for what:

NHL

Animals: 8
Natural phenom: 7
People/professions: 10
Machines/objects: 2

KHL

Animals: 4
Natural phenom: 1
People/professions: 8
Machines/objects: 10

CHL

Animals: 13
Natural phenom: 1
People/professions: 5
Machines/objects: 5


So what do we see here:
- Americans have much more Hurricanes, Lightnings etc. than Europeans/Russians
- Europe goes heavily with animals (I still left out many teams called "city X Hockey Club" that are unofficially called by logo animals)
- there are plenty of Dynamos in Russia, as well as Traktor, plus whole lot of Steel/ers
- all added together animals barely win people/professions category


Finnish Liiga has

Animals: 3
Natural phenom: 0
People/professions: 1
Machines/objects: 3-4

So we're clearly somewhere between Russian and general European naming cultures.
 

Kaunisto

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Swedish and Finnish teams have dominated the previous seasons, the only others I give any chance are Bern and Zürich of Swiss league.
It doesn't look good for Finns, our two recently clearly most successful teams are out and judging by how remaining are doing in domestic league, I'll be surprised if we get a team in final or two in semifinals. Of the Finnish teams, my bet is KalPa or SaiPa goes furthest.
But overall I expect a Swedish team to win, either reigning champion Frölunda HC or HV71.

I'm guessing those 6 go to QFs, besides them there's a pair of Czech teams and a Finn-Swede match I don't think will end well for Helsinki IFK.

The round of 16 will be played November 1st and 8th.
 

Kaunisto

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My predictions were mostly accurate:
- Bern and Zürich continue to QFs
- KalPa and SaiPa did technically go furthest of Finnish teams... to overtime
- Frölunda HC goes on
- it didn't end well for Helsinki IFK

There was only two things I didn't expect:
- the total disaster of all four Finnish teams losing (and all of them by 1 goal or overtime!)
- Sparta Praha(=Prague) is doing miracles, having now defeated very strong Finnish and Swedish teams

So for QFs it's:
3 Swedish teams
3 Swiss teams
2 Czech teams

I think I'll root for Bern now, because they have former Finnish national team coach.
 

Kaunisto

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Only the final left for CHL - to be played February 7th - and it's between defending champion Frölunda HC (SWE) and the unbelievable surprise team Sparta Prague. On first round Sparta beat 7-time Finnish champion and last season CHL runner-up Kärpät; on second round 4-time Swedish champion HV71; in QF the reigning and 14-time Swiss champion SC Bern; and in semifinal the 2015 Swedish champion Växjö Lakers. I wouldn't have bet on them against any of those.
On the previous two CHL seasons no Czech team made it to quarterfinals.

This was a good year for Czech and Swiss leagues and disaster for Finland. And that's real bad because this affects on how many teams each league has in CHL during next three seasons.
 

Kaunisto

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After all that giant-slaying, Sparta falls one goal short in the end. Frölunda HC (aka Indians) takes second consecutive CHL championship with 4-3 OT.

Terrible season for Finnish teams and on top this disappointment of Swedes winning once again and the greatest Cinderella story of the series yet stopped at finish line.


At KHL Helsinki Jokerit has two games left of regular season, they are just on playoff line with other team three points behind with one less played game. Going to be real close...
 

Kaunisto

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KHL regular season ended today and four of the seven non-Russian teams made it to playoffs.
Finland's own Helsinki Jokerit and Chinese Kunlun Red Star - the team with second-most Finnish players - both just barely made it, being 8th in their conferences. Which means they'll face toughest possible opponents in first round.
Other two non-Russians are Dinamo Minsk of Belarus and Barys Astana of Kazakhstan, both 5th of their conference.
 

Webster

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*scrolls list of KHL teams & coaches* ....I might have to start following the KHL more....why?

Mike_Keenan_Calgary.gif
....I didn't know one of the NHL's top coaches (a/k/a Mike Kennan) was coaching on the other side of the world.... :cool:
 

Kaunisto

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Well that's the end of season for Jokerit. They lost straight 4-0 to regular season top team CSKA Moscow, but did give a good fight: last three games they lost overtime.
But this was worse season for them than the previous two.
 

Kaunisto

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Moving to KHL QFs(=conference SF) only remaining non-Russian team is Barys Astana of Kazakhstan.
Barys has several North American players who have taken Kazakhstan citizenship, including at least two Canadian junior world champions and captain Brandon Bochenski, former NHL and US national team player.
 

Kaunisto

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Barys is out, so it's all-Russian KHL for rest of playoffs.

Helsinki Jokerit has confirmed that they will continue at least next 5 seasons in KHL. Meanwhile the Croatian team Medveščak Zagreb has announced leaving KHL to return to Austrian international league where they played before entering KHL 2013.
 

Kaunisto

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The Gagarin Cup KHL finals will be played starting April 8th between 2016 and 2014 champion Metallurg Magnitogorsk and 2015 champion SKA Saint Petersburg. Both teams made it to finals with only one loss to the required twelve wins. Winning this, Magnitogorsk would become first team to have three KHL championships.

Final standings of other teams:

3 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl
4 Ak Bars Kazan
5 CSKA Moscow
6 Dynamo Moscow
7 Avangard Omsk
8 Barys Astana (KAZ)
9 Dinamo Minsk (BLR)
10 Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod
11 Traktor Chelyabinsk
12 Vityaz
13 Jokerit (FIN)
14 Salavat Yulaev Ufa
15 Admiral Vladivostok
16 Kunlun Red Star (CHN)
17 Sochi
18 Slovan Bratislava (SVK)
19 Sibir Novosibirsk
20 Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk
21 Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg
22 Amur Khabarovsk
23 Severstal Cherepovets
24 Medveščak Zagreb (CRO)
25 Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk
26 Spartak Moscow
27 Lada Togliatti
28 Dinamo Riga (LAT)
29 Metallurg Novokuznetsk
 

Kaunisto

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CHL groups for next season have been drawn and Finnish and Swedish teams had good luck of facing each other as little as possible in preliminary groups.


2017 ice hockey world championships have been played and here are the final results:

(*=relegated or promoted)

Elite/Championship Division

1. Sweden
2. Canada
3. Russia
4. Finland
5. United States
6. Switzerland
7. Czech Republic
8. Germany
9. France
10. Latvia
11. Norway
12. Denmark
13. Belarus
14. Slovakia
15. Slovenia *
16. Italy *


Division I A

17. Austria *
18. South Korea *
19. Kazakhstan
20. Poland
21. Hungary
22. Ukraine *

Division I B

23. Great Britain *
24. Japan
25. Lithuania
26. Estonia
27. Croatia
28. Netherlands *

Division II A

29. Romania *
30. Australia
31. Serbia
32. Belgium
33. Iceland
34. Spain *

Division II B

35. China *
36. New Zealand
37. Israel
38. North Korea
39. Mexico
40. Turkey *

Division III

41. Luxembourg *
42. Bulgaria
43. Georgia
44. Hong Kong
45. South Africa
46. Chinese Taipei
47. United Arab Emirates


Notable results:

- South Korea will play 2018 first time ever in top level tournament
- that will also be first time an Asian team other than ones of former Soviet Union makes it to championship tournament since 1998-2004 a place was allocated to a "Far East" team
- this was worst result for Slovakia ever (excluding couple first years when they had to start from lower division as Czech inherited the place of Czechoslovakia)
- also Czech ties with their worst result ever
- Netherlands, falling to II B, will 2018 at best tie with their worst result ever
- this was worst result ever for South Africa
- this was first time Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) competed
- this was worst result ever for United Arab Emirates (they have finished last before, but never when there were this many teams)
 

Kaunisto

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KHL announced Novokuznetsk Metallurg will not continue next season, dropping number of teams back to 28.
Novokuznetsk was in KHL since beginning 2008, but failed ever to make it to playoffs.
 
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