Appropriate enough that the KHL All-star game occurred this weekend in Ufa, the home venue of Salavat Yulayev Ufa.
That gives some space to think about or rather speculate which team in each Conference, the West and the East, will take the last playoff spot.
First though some words about the All-Star event. I am myself not so much interested in the All-star Game but I think it is a very nice event and break from the regular season.
It is a lot of fun during the skating, shooting and shootout competition when the greatest players of the season who have been voted participate.
Although, I was thinking myself and toss out the question here as well: why not arrange the All-star games in cities so people who don’t see the hockey stars that often have a chance to see them all in one place?
It is not just the KHL I am thinking of, also the NHL All-star game could be in a city where the hockey culture is not strong. The obvious purpose for such a move would be of course to present the game and the stars to attract new fans.
After the All-star weekend, though, there is a very intriguing race to look forward to, in both Conferences. Which of the teams will take the playoff spot probably won’t be determined until the last regular season game.
In the West, we have Dinamo Minsk, Vityaz Podolsk, Jokerit Helsinki, Sochi and a reborn Slovan Bratislava in the race as you can see in the image. Very tight and they switch places with each other from one game day to another.
A bit less exciting perhaps in the East, but closest to the line are Barys Astana, Kunlun Red Star, and Admiral Vladivostok from the upper level, and the closest below the line, the chasing teams, are Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk and Avtomobilist from Yekaterinburg.
As a lot of people say, hockey is a strange game, and I do agree after all years I have been watching, and the funny thing perhaps is that I do get more uncertain each year I watch.
Because everything can happen and the most unexpected things as well, so, I keep all doors open. A clear example of that occurred last week when Jokerit faced SKA St. Petersburg away and were down 2-0 after the first period.
Everyone, including me, thought that it would be a walk-over from SKA. But Jokerit raised their level and played extremely well the following periods, and won for the first time ever in St. Petersburg.
A well-timed victory as well because Vityaz and Sochi are winning games they’re not supposed to win and now is Slovan Bratislava is chasing like a cheetah on the savannah.
Let’s see how it goes…
Some things are so unexpected that no one is prepared for them.