CSKA will play against SKA in the Western final of the playoffs, Avangard will face Ak Bars in the East
The first round of the current Continental Hockey League playoff draw has generated admiration and great interest in the public. The unpredictable results of the clashes in almost every series, sensational weak victories and unexpected failures of the so-called favorites, brilliant hockey, as well as a record number of matches, overtime and goals scored – all this together aroused a crazy appetite for the second round.
However, such a thing did not happen in the semi-finals of the conferences and did not even come close.
Petersburg SKA did not give any series to the audience award winners from Nizhny Novgorod. Yes, Igor Larionov’s “Torpedo” was not afraid and gave a cool and spectacular fight to the best club of the regular season, but Roman Rotenberg’s many times higher class turned out to be a key factor in the conflict. Therefore, in terms of the outcome, the battle of St. Petersburg and Nizhny Novgorod did not give intrigue, which can not be said about the game itself.
Rotenberg says SKA is ready for any opponent in the Gagarin Cup
Omsk Avangard did not feel any resistance from last year’s Gagarin Cup finalists – Metallurg Magnitogorsk never got out of the crisis and offered absolutely nothing to its opponent. Even if we take into account the fact that Omsk won two out of four victories in overtime, the superiority of the “hawks” was obvious.
The authors of the main sensation of the current playoff draw from “Admiral” fought with their last strength against the star “White Bars” and fought for a miracle until the last siren of the entire series. However, it was not destined to come true – Kazan packed his will into a fist on their last trip to Vladivostok and fully justified his favorite status, depriving Leonid Tambiev’s gang even a small chance for a new sensation. Fortunately, the Admiral’s mentor’s words that the series would last up to seven games did not correspond to reality.
The coach of “Admiral” spoke about his hatred for Radulov in the series “Ak Bars”.
Officially, the intrigue remained only in the war between CSKA and Lokomotiv. During the conflict, Yaroslavl came back with a score of 1-3 and reached the decisive seventh match. And if in the first six games the “railway” one way or another imposed its game on the “army team” and even dictated the conditions in some sections, then the seventh game showed the fundamental difference between the champion and the challenger. . CSKA, so to speak, in the style of “Tampa Bay Lightning” of recent years, has demonstrated the existence of a large reserve of power and resources, which helps to succeed even in the seemingly most critical situations. Game 7 is a prime example of this. The Red-Blues completely crushed their opponent and destroyed Igor Nikitin’s system, which many have been talking about all season.
What’s in the dry matter? Another reason for arguments and disagreements about the need to make fundamental changes.
On the one hand, we come to the fair results of the conference semi-finals. With all due respect to Lokomotiv as well as Torpedo and Admiral (unfortunately, today’s Metallurg didn’t give a reason to mention a team claiming something high), the second-round ceiling for them. Yes, getting at least one of these shows to the Western or Eastern finale was a beautiful story and an opportunity to believe in a miracle, and a so-called underdog could gather around him many caring fans who kidnapped him from all over the country. sensations. However, SKA, CSKA, Ak Bars and Avangard are objectively the best clubs in the league at the moment. Had any of these been eliminated early, the conference finals would have been lower.
Everything worked as it should. We’re going to see a new battle between the coaching staff of Roman Rotenberg and Sergei Fedorov, and it’s great. Their struggles last year were successful, and now some are hungry for real revenge, others are intent on repeating the success. We will also see some great hockey classics in the East. Agree, the duel of experienced stars against Alexander Radulov, Vadim Shipachev and Stanislav Galiev with no less stellar technicians Vladimir Tkachev, Sergey Tolchinsky and Reed Bush looks much more attractive than the posters “Who will find a void in Nikita Serebryakov’s property” or “What score will Metallurg beat?
On the other hand, there is again a feeling of marking time somewhere. To a greater extent, this applies to the Western Conference. CSKA and SKA will compete for the final ticket of the Gagarin Cup for the seventh time in the last nine seasons. Army derby hasn’t just become a classic. Their confrontation in the West’s defining sequence is predicted in the coming years. And this is perhaps the main scourge of the conference. CSKA and SKA are out of reach for their other rivals. Moscow and St. Petersburg army men have no rivals in strength and power. Is this a problem for the top two clubs in the league? Not at all. The whole league? Quite a few.
KHL is somewhat regularly compared to NHL. And the level of competition overseas is disproportionately high. It is absolutely almost impossible to predict even the finalists of the conferences in North America, what can not be said about the West in the KHL. How to solve this problem? It will not be possible to impose harsh artificial restrictions on clubs: the league will not be able to do this on its own, and it is unlikely that the leaders of the leading teams will act to their detriment. And it all boils down to a cross-playoff system that was actively lobbied last summer but didn’t have time to finalize it before the season started.
Tretiak wants to separate CSKA and SKA in different playoff groups
Will such a system give the expected result? No one can give a definitive answer, just speculation. However, if there is a sincere desire and you need to move forward, you have to start somewhere.
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