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Gagarin Cup: Watch and learn, hockey teams, from the Green derby



There are a lot of derbies around the world in many sports including the game of hockey. The NHL has some famous rivalries and there are a few battles between teams from the same area or city.

If we talk about Europe where I am situated, the hottest derby game for some time until a few years ago has been Jokerit Helsinki against Helsinki IFK.

But I can’t say that the quality was always the best; no, on the contrary, it was sometimes the worst and a total sleeping pill with a lot of time-wasting interruptions when the referees tried to separate the kerfuffle makers.

Jokerit – HIFK games don’t exist anymore except at the junior and youth level, and I am not sure if we’ll see those anymore because Jokerit play nowadays in the KHL and they have an intention to remain there according to the latest from the organization. Helsinki IFK will probably remain in the Finnish Liiga.

And, if we talk about the NHL, well, I love the NHL, but some of the rivalry games can be quite dull as well, to be honest. Mind the word “some”.

The savior though for all hockey fans who want to see exciting games every time two rivals meet each other can find that in the East, the fantastic battle between AK Bars Kazan and Salavat Yulayev Ufa, a.k.a the Green derby.

These teams played against each other during the first round, AK Bars Kazan eliminating their rivals with the overall score 4-1, but it was tight indeed in every game.

And, sweet lord, what an entertainment both teams made for us who watched these games. Action and opportunities to score were swapped between the teams almost after every attack, and there was such a great atmosphere in both venues.

You could really feel with all senses in your body that it was playoffs when these teams played against each other! 

Best of all, not a single game was interrupted by what I call time-wasting kerfuffle, even if the emotions were there of course. No, both teams instead concentrated their feelings on playing the absolute best hockey they could muster from their sticks and skates for the fans.

It was a pity that they met so early — they should have been playing the conference final of the East instead, but, we can’t get everything. These games gave everything a hockey fan could ever have asked for. Everything.

Now we have moved on to the next round though and we have many great games as well coming up the coming week:

Western Conference:

CSKA Moscow – Lokomotiv Yaroslavl: Normally Loko is a good team, but CSKA has been rock solid this season and most likely they are through to the Conference finals after this round.

SKA Saint Petersburg – Dynamo Moscow: A bit more unpredictable here I’d say. Dynamo Moscow had no greater issues in eliminating Torpedo in the previous round and when all parts are working together including Yeremenko, the goalkeeper, things can be amazing.

Eastern Conference:

Metallurg Magnitogorsk – Barys Astana: Nice to see the Kazakh team reach this far in the playoffs but here the road ends, as I think that the reigning champions are too good for them. Magnitogorsk have 3 absolute world-class formations. If the best goal scorer of them all, Mozyakin, does not score, well, then we have a bunch of others like Osala, Zaripov, and Kovar for example who can handle that part when they need to get some goals.

Avangard Omsk – AK Bars Kazan: This should be a more even battle, in other words as unpredictable as I think SKA Saint Petersburg – Dynamo Moscow will be. Nonetheless, a set of exciting games coming up between the green heroes of Tatarstan and Avangard.

As the famous words, someone said about sport: Let the games begin!

Just be patient. Let the game come to you. Don’t rush. Be quick, but don’t hurry.

-Earl Monroe



Arto Palovaara, Sunday Chronicler for Sports Rants Europe. Previously, he contributed for the betting company Betsafe, Svenska fans, Get real hockey and Ice nation UK. He is also an educated archaeologist and life coach who loves literature and history. Not to forget: probably he is the only sportswriter that plays the banjo.