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2008-09 KHL season

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The 2008-09 KHL season was the inaugural season of the Kontinental Hockey League. It started on September 2, 2008, and finished on February 26, 2009. 24 teams each played 56 games.

Major signings from the NHLEdit

Wishing to establish itself as a major professional league in direct competition with the NHL, the KHL's teams were encouraged to sign NHL players. The players who have made the jump to the upstart KHL were Jaromír Jágr (Omsk), Alexander Radulov (Ufa), Ray Emery (Mytischi), Sergei Brylin (St. Petersburg), Ladislav Nagy (Cherepovets), Jozef Stümpel (Astana), Marcel Hossa (Riga), Ben Clymer (Minsk), Alexei Zhitnik (Dynamo Moscow), Bryan Berard and Chris Simon (both with Chekhov). In the case of Radulov, the signing created a dispute between the NHL and the KHL, as him signing with Salavat Yulaev Ufa meant that his contract with the Nashville Predators would not be honored; however, the day prior to the announcement of Radulov signing with Ufa (i.e. on July 10 2008), the KHL and the National Hockey League had resolved an agreement stating that both leagues would honor the contract of the other (ruling out leagues stealing the players of the other). An investigation by the International Ice Hockey Federation ruled that the signing of Radulov was made two days prior to the KHL-NHL agreement, and that Radulov's contract with Ufa was therefore not breaking the agreement.

Financial difficultiesEdit

In its first season only, the league already saw some of its teams, which had met the league's financial conditions to be allowed in, be bothered by financial problems. Metallurg Novokuznetsk suffered from the global financial crisis of 2008, with its sponsor, Evraz Group, allegedly cutting funding. Rumors stated the team would fold by New Year Day, but the team could finish the season.

HC MVD has experienced delays in paying players, while Khimik Voskresensk has run itself into debt. Metallurg Magnitogorsk has been forced to cut staff expenditures by 30%. Avangard Omsk owner Roman Abramovich has promised to continue financial support so long as the team maintains good results. Other teams experiencing financial limitations are Vityaz Chekhov, Atlant Moscow, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl and the legendary CSKA Moscow.

A "crisis package" has been devised by the KHL to deal with the economic troubles of the time. Cuts will be made in pre-game activities, training camps and pre-season tournaments in order to save some money. A roll-back of mid-level players may occur, and a divisional re-alignment will take place for the 2009-10 KHL season in order to cut down on travel costs (the inaugural divisions saw unlikely match ups such as Dinamo Riga and Amur Khabarovsk together in the same division, for instance).

Alexei Cherepanov's deathEdit

The season was tarnished on October 13 2008 during a match between Avangard Omsk and Vityaz Chekhov as young forward Alexei Cherepanov died due to a heart condition.

Two months later, on December 29, after investigation, it was found out that the promising player died from myocarditis, a condition that results in not enough blood getting to the heart; the investigators said that with that condition, Cherepanov should never have played professional hockey. The Federal Investigative Committee also announced that blood and urine samples allowed them to conclude that "for several months Alexei Cherepanov engaged in doping"[1]. The substance found was stated by official sources to be kordiamin, a chemical used to treat cardiovascular diseases, but also to stimulate the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. The substance had been taken 3 hours prior to the game in which he died.

Disciplinary actions were taken against personnel of both Avangard and Vityaz. Omsk's director Mikhail Denisov has been fired and the team's doctor removed from his functions within the team; GM Anatoly Bardin and president Konstantin Potapov have been indefinitely suspended from the league. Chekhov's president was also suspended.


All-Star GameEdit

For more details, please see 2009 KHL All-Star Game

The league's inaugural all-star game was held in Moscow on january 10th 2009. It was played on the Red Square and saw Team Jágr (International All-Stars) defeating Team Yashin (Russian All-Stars) 7–6.

Regular season final standingsEdit

Regular season ended on February 26, 2009. Division winners rank 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th of the league.

Club Gp W OTW OTL L Goals Points
1. Salavat Yulaev Ufa 56 38 5 5 8 203:111 129
2. Ak Bars Kazan 56 36 4 6 10 189:123 122
3. Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 56 32 4 7 13 189:110 111
4. CSKA Moscow 56 27 7 11 11 176:141 106
5. Atlant Mytischi 56 35 7 3 11 189:111 122
6. Metallurg Magnitogorsk 56 25 13 3 15 174:148 104
7. Dynamo Moscow 56 27 7 5 17 184:143 100
8. SKA St. Petersburg 56 26 9 4 17 143:105 100
9. Spartak Moscow 56 26 6 3 21 173:158 93
10. Dinamo Riga 56 24 5 4 23 132:156 86
11. Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 56 24 4 4 24 162:162 84
12. Traktor Chelyabinsk 56 24 2 8 22 142:166 84
13. Lada Togliatti 56 21 8 5 22 120:116 84
14. Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk 56 22 3 7 24 146:140 79
15. Barys Astana 56 20 7 4 25 174:191 78
16. Avangard Omsk 56 19 8 5 24 161:164 78
17. Severstal Cherepovets 56 19 8 4 25 142:171 77
18. HC MVD Balashikha 56 20 6 1 29 142:159 73
19. Sibir Novosibirsk 56 15 6 7 28 146:172 64
20. Amur Khabarovsk 56 15 4 7 30 111:158 60
21. Metallurg Novokuznetsk 56 12 7 8 31 127:157 54
22. Dynamo Minsk 56 12 3 7 34 124:197 49
23. Vityaz Chekhov 56 6 5 12 33 134:225 41
24. Khimik Voskresensk 56 8 3 9 36 108:187 39

League leadersEdit

Top goal scorers
Player Team Goals
Pavel Brendl Nizhny Novgorod 36
Jan Marek Magnitogorsk 35
Danis Zaripov Kazan 34
Sergei Mozyakin Mytischi 34
Alexei Morozov Kazan 32


Top assists
Player Team Assists
Sergei Mozyakin Mytischi 42
Alexei Morozov Kazan 39
Jan Marek Magnitogorsk 36
Tony Mårtensson Kazan 34
Dmitry Pestunov Omsk 3


Most penalty minutes
Player Team PIM
Chris Simon Chekhov 263
Tomas Kloucek Astana 222
Martin Grenier Chelyabinsk 211
Jan Platil Chekhov 168
Branislav Mezei Astana 151


Top points
Player Team Points
Sergei Mozyakin Mytischi 76
Jan Marek Magnitogorsk 76
Alexei Morozov Kazan 71
Danis Zaripov Kazan 65
Kevin Dallman Astana 58
Alexei Tereschenko Ufa 58
Alexander Korolyuk Mytischi 54
Jaromir Jagr Omsk 53
Konstantin Glazachev Astana 52
Alexander Perezhogin Nizhny Novgorod 52


Save percentage (min. 22 games)
Player Team PIM
Vitaly Kolesnik Mytischi 94.5%
Alexander Eremenko Ufa 93.7%
Vitali Koshechkin Togliatti 93.4%
Georgi Gelashvili Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 93.3%
Stanislav Galimov Kazan 92.7%
Sergei Bobrovski Novokuznetsk 92.7%
Ray Emery Mytischi 92.6%
Dmitry Yachanov St. Petersburg 91.8%
Maxim Sokolov Novokuznetsk 91.5%
Sergei Khoroshun Nizhnekamsk 91.3%


Goal against average (min. 22 games)
Player Team PIM
Dmitry Yachanov St. Petersburg 1.47
Vitali Kolesnik Mytischi 1.59
Vitali Koshechkin Togliatti 1.65
Alexander Eremenko Ufa 1.74
Stanislav Galimov Kazan 1.81
Georgi Gelashvili Yaroslavl 1.86
Robert Esche St. Petersburg 1.87
Ray Emery Mytischi 2.12
Sergei Khoroshun Nizhnekamsk 2.14
Vitali Yeremeyev D. Moscow 2.23

PlayoffsEdit

  Preliminary Round
(best of 5)
Quarter Finals
(best of 5)
Semi Finals
(best of 7)
Gagarin Cup Finals
(best of 7)
                                     
1  Salavat Yulaev Ufa 1  
16  Avangard Omsk 3  
  2  Ak Bars Kazan 3  
  16  Avangard Omsk 2  
2  Ak Bars Kazan 3
15  Barys Astana 0  
  2  Ak Bars Kazan 4  
  7  Dynamo Moscow 2  
4  CSKA Moscow 3  
13  Lada Togliatti 2  
  4  CSKA Moscow 0
  7  Dynamo Moscow 3  
7  Dynamo Moscow 3
10  Dinamo Riga 0  
  2  Ak Bars Kazan 4
  3  Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 3
3  Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 3  
14  Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk 1  
  3  Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 3
  9  Spartak Moscow 0  
8  SKA Saint Petersburg 0
9  Spartak Moscow 3  
  3  Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 4
  6  Metallurg Magnitogorsk 1  
5  Atlant Moscow 3  
12  Traktor Chelyabinsk 0  
  5  Atlant Moscow 1
  6  Metallurg Magnitogorsk 3  
6  Metallurg Magnitogorsk 3
11  Torpedo N. Novgorod 0  

Trophies and awardsEdit

Players of the MonthEdit

Best KHL players of each month.[2]

Month Goaltender Defense Forward Rookie
SeptemberFlag of Russia Alexandr Eremenko (Ufa) Flag of Sweden Magnus Johansson (Atlant) Flag of Russia Sergei Mozyakin (Atlant) Flag of Russia Maxim Kitsyn (Novokuznetsk)
OctoberFlag of Kazakhstan Vitaly Kolesnik (Atlant) Flag of Russia Ilya Nikulin (Kazan) Flag of the Czech Republic Jan Marek (Magnitogorsk) Flag of Russia Andrei Kolesnikov (Chekhov)
NovemberFlag of the United States Robert Esche (S. Petersburg) Flag of Russia Konstantin Korneev (CSKA) Flag of Russia Andrei Tereschenko (Ufa) Flag of Russia Stanislav Galimov (Kazan)
DecemberFlag of the Czech Republic Martin Prusek (Riga) Flag of the Czech Republic Karel Rachůnek (Dynamo M) Flag of Russia Danis Zaripov (Kazan) Flag of Russia Alexander Vasilev (Chekhov)
JanuaryFlag of Kazakhstan Vitaly Yeremeyev (Dynamo M) Flag of Russia Vitali Proshkin (Ufa) Flag of Russia Alexander Korolyuk (Atlant) Flag of Russia Alexander Vasilev (Chekhov)
FebruaryFlag of Russia Dmitri Kochnev (Spartak) Flag of Russia Peter Podhradski (Torpedo) Flag of Russia Danis Zaripov (Kazan) Flag of Russia Stepan Zakharchuk (Togliatti)
MarchFlag of Russia Georgi Gelashvili (Yaroslavl) Flag of Russia Ilya Nikulin (Kazan) Flag of Sweden Mattias Weinhandl (Dynamo M)

Team PhotosEdit

ReferencesEdit

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