Last season it was far from certain that SKA would win the Gagarin, as they had a so-so start of the season, but they eventually got the machinery going.
They won therefore relatively easily the Gagarin final last season against Magnitogorsk and well-deservedly because they were excellent at the end of the playoffs.
At this point of the season 2017-18, SKA has now the record of 19 consecutive wins, which is a very impressive achievement and it would be very surprising if they did not extend that record with a few more games.
The whole thing is a very strong demonstration of the power of the organization, to show everyone that they are a true powerhouse in the Western Conference and the whole KHL.
Oleg Znarok, the awe-inspiring head coach as we know him, has all under control, and everyone and everything on his leash, no player escaping to make own actions if not being told to do so.
Exactly the way the owner Roman Rotenberg desires that the team should be run, so he can feel more pleased when he watches the games.
Yes, the times are very different from the Soviet-era when SKA St. Petersburg lived in the shadows, or actually way down in the basement below CSKA and some other clubs such as Dynamo Moscow.
During the post-soviet era, the Rotenbergs started slowly, step by step to build SKA St. Petersburg to a powerhouse with stronger foundations than before.
But it has not been easy of course to come to this point at all, as we have seen during the seasons. There have been some crises, as with Kovalchuk and with all the head coaches that have been since 2007:
United States Barry Smith (2007—2010) Canada Ivan Zanatta (2010) Czech Republic Václav Sýkora (2010—2011) Czech Republic Miloš Říha (2011—2012) Russia Mikhail Kravets (2012) Finland Jukka Jalonen (2012—2014) Russia Vyacheslav Bykov (2014—2015) Russia Andrei Nazarov (2015) Russia Sergei Zubov (2015-16) Russia Oleg Znarok (2016-present)
Not bad names/coaches at all as you can see, and there has been some spin as well among the coaches.
But none of them except Oleg Znarok and Vyacheslav Bykov has been entirely aware of what it requires to handle a team such as SKA St. Petersburg and be a part of such organization with a lot higher ambitions than being in the shadows as they once were.
The question now we all have in our minds: Is the record-breaking SKA St. Petersburg totally unstoppable?
Well, let us say this, first of all: the season is far from over.
The second of all, due to the team’s strength and smartness, it will need a special effort, of course, to defeat them in the coming playoffs.
Yes, we can talk already about the playoffs for SKA St. Petersburg as they were already set for it after 10 rounds.
The third of all, it might look impossible, but no team is an eternal winner (or loser), which is important to remember in this context.
And no, it is not that easy either to say that SKA St. Petersburg should apply to play in the NHL as someone suggested if they are just too good for the other teams.
Once upon a time, for those who recall this, the Edmonton Oilers were too good for the teams in the NHL, but they are far from that nowadays.
With that said, it goes forth and back, up and down, as the tide of the River Neva.
Make haste! The tide of Fortune soon ebbs.
-Silius Italicus, Roman Poet 25 AD – 101 AD