Re: Ice Hockey Not looking good for Finland in CHL...
In Finnish Cup (played last year first time for decades) the neighbor town team KeuPa (who miraculously won the second tier series Mestis last year) lost 5-2 to another Mestis team Ketterä.
Finnish Cup included 51 team from 2nd, 3rd and 4th tier series (the actual Finnish championship series being a separate commercial entity), including Mänttä-Vilppula team KPK who made it through first qualifying to top 34, but fell on that second round by goal difference.
Re: Ice Hockey CHL round of 16 brought some surprises.
All 4 Swiss teams are out. Meanwhile all remaining 3 Swedish teams won their games; besides them QFs have 2 Czechs, Finnish, German and Austrian teams.
This is 5th CHL season and first time either Austrian or German teams make it to Top 8.
In league ranking that determines number of teams from each league in CHL, Finland is fighting hard to keep our fifth team.
Swiss league has that with current scores, but the remaining Czech and Finnish teams can change that. It's going to be real close...
Both Red Bulls, Austrian Salzburg and German Munich continue their miracles by making it to semifinal - against each other!
So, when in previous four seasons no German or Austrian team had made it to quarterfinals, now one will play in final!
Meanwhile Finland for first time ever falls from second place in league ranking (apparently two spots at once) and loses one team place.
And Finland may end up 6th, last of the major leagues, in this season ranking, harming our total rank for the next three years.
Re: Ice Hockey Otherwise miserable Finnish hockey year has a bright ending: as first Finnish club team ever, KalPa has made it to Spengler Cup final!
Before this, only Finnish national team has done the same 1975! (Finnish teams have appeared very randomly in the Spengler Cup, as it only has 6 teams each year and those include club and national teams from all over Europe and North America, emphasizing Central Europe.)
Tomorrow KalPa faces Team Canada for what'll be historic championship to one: either first by Finnish team or 16th for Canada which would put them on top of the tournament history, as they currently tie with traditional host HC Davos.
The place in next season league does not go to Continental Cup winner, Arlan Kokshetau of Kazakhstan - which would've become first team of the country to appear in CHL - because Kazakhstan is too far.
"The CHL Board decided and communicated in December already that Arlan Kokshetau cannot be accepted as a CHL qualifier if they win the IIHF Continental Cup for the reason that travel logistics to Kazakhstan are too extensive for CHL teams."
Instead the CHL board just gives away a wild card entrance and it goes to... Belfast Giants.
OK, “Belfast only missed the qualification at the Continental Cup by one shot in a penalty shoot-out in the decisive game against the aforementioned winners, and showed that they are as competitive as Arlan”, CHL CEO Martin Baumann explained.
But still, it's a stupid reasoning and a missed opportunity for ice hockey in Kazakhstan.
Re: Ice Hockey KHL regular season ended today and we have playoff pairs.
6 HC Sochi
5 HC Dynamo M
3 Metallurg Mg
6 Salavat Yulaev
5 Ak Bars
(Pairings are re-seeded after the first round.)
Helsinki Jokerit and Barys Astana of Kazakhstan are sadly the only non-Russian teams remaining.
Dinamo Riga (Latvia) was left out of playoffs by just one point, but others did worse: Dinamo Minsk (Belarus) and Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia) were two worst teams of the season and Chinese Kunlun Red Star was only couple points away from being next worst.
(In previous season Kunlun, Minsk and Bratislava were were the three worst except for the two Russian teams that were dropped out of the league for this season.)
So far there are three major favorites: CSKA Moscow, SKA Saint Petersburg and Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg - and I'm only including the last as likely to win their conference and therefore be in final.
But there are half dozen somewhat competitive challengers, down to Jokerit and Ak Bars Kazan.