Latvian Hockey News Report

By Didzis Rudmanis

Archive for the ‘Dinamo Riga’ Category

Dinamo releases Mikus

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Kontinental Hockey League club Dinamo Riga has released Slovakian center forward Juraj Mikus, who joined Dinamo late in September, after failing to make the Spartak Moscow roster due to import quota. Now, however, Mikus is rejoining Spartak.

Juraj Mikus was a part of Spartak’s pre-season camp, however he failed to make the roster, because of the import quota set by the league. Instead, in late September he joined Dinamo Riga. He was signed so that Brock Trotter could play his primary position – left wing, but, unfortunately, Mikus performance wasn’t as good as expected, he was largely disliked by the Dinamo supporters and, finally, was released from the club. Mikus earned 5 (3+2) points in 22 games with Dinamo.

Now, as Spartak already for some time has a new head coach Igors Pavlovs (Milos Riha was fired) and as the club has released Martin Cibak and Jaroslav Obsut, a vacant foreigner place on the team’s roster opened up.

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Written by Didzis Rudmanis

November 29, 2010 at 20:22

SKA ready for the Winter Classic

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Just days ago it was announced that the regular season game between Dinamo Riga and SKA St. Petersburg, planned on January 16, 2011, might be held in an outdoor stadium, thus becoming the first-ever KHL Winter Classic, as Arena Riga is already pre-occupied. Now, several days later, SKA has confirmed that they would be ready for such a game, reports TVNET.

Zigmars Priede, the Director of Hockey Operations of the club, said that also the league has mutually agreed that such a game would be organized. Now, according to Priede, Dinamo Riga is putting together the possible expenses, in order to see, whether the club can afford to organize such a game.

Let me just remind you that it is proposed the game could take place in the Skonto Stadium, just a couple of hundred metres away from Arena Riga. Skonto Stadium, built in 2000, is the national soccer stadium of Latvia, with a seating capacity of only 10,000 [just says how popular soccer is in Latvia]. The other options include playing the game in Liepaja Ice Arena or Inbox.lv Ice Arena, both having a capacity of only around 1000 seats.

The original story: A KHL Winter Classic in Riga?

Written by Didzis Rudmanis

November 4, 2010 at 21:37

A KHL Winter Classic in Riga?

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On January 16, 2011 the first-ever Kontinental Hockey League Winter Classic might take place in Riga, Latvia. As of now it is only one of the proposals, where to host the Dinamo Riga – SKA St. Petersburg regular season game, as Arena Riga, due to a concert for Latvian composer Raimonds Pauls 75th anniversary, is already occupied, reports Kas Jauns.

It is proposed that the game could take place in the Skonto Stadium, just a couple of hundred metres away from Arena Riga. Skonto Stadium, built in 2000, is the national soccer stadium of Latvia, with a seating capacity of only 10,000 [just says how popular soccer is in Latvia]. The other options include playing the game in Liepaja Ice Arena or Inbox.lv Ice Arena, both having a capacity of only around 1000 seats.

Up until now, Dinamo Riga has played five of its home games outside Arena Riga – in the autumn of 2008-09 two games were held in Inbox.lv Ice Arena and another two were played in Espoo, Finland, while last season, also due to arena being already occupied by other event, one game against Severstal Cherepovets was held in Liepaja. Inbox.lv serves also as the training facility for both Dinamo Riga and HK Riga.

“As of now, a decision has not been made, because it is only one of the proposals. Of course, we would really appreciate playing againsta SKA in Arena Riga, but we very well understand that maestro [Raimonds Pauls] has an anniversary,” said Zigmars Priede, the Director of Hockey Operations. “That would be nothing new, as the world has already experience of organising such games.”

This game would not become the first Kontinental Hockey League game under clear sky, as the first-ever KHL All-Star game in 2009 was held in Red Square, Moscow. Unfortunately, at the time temperature in Moscow was far below zero [approx. -20 °C] and the game attracted only around 2000 spectators. Luckily, January in Riga should not be as tough.

Podzins: Is there a reason to be nervous about?

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In an interview to allhockey.ru, Ainars Podzins, who was drafted by Dinamo Riga this summer, thus moving back from Russia to his native Latvia, talks about his time in Riga, about playing for Dinamo and his first game in the KHL. We now present you a fragment of the interview, kindly translated by Alessandro Seren Rosso.

Were you nervous before your first KHL game?

Podzins: “Well, is there a reason to be nervous about? I was brought as the thirteenth forward. I was just watching the game. Though I wasn’t nervous when, during the game against Neftekhimik, they said me: ‘Podzins, get ready, it’s your turn.’ We were winning 6-3. And I got to play two shifts. I am really satisfied about them. I had a shot, I gave a pass, and I played only two minutes. They iced me in the first line with [Mark] Hartigan and [Tomas] Surovy, at [Aleksandrs] Nizivijs’ place. The greatest thing was that they congratulated me more than Karsums, who scored two goals in two games. I could think I won the Olympic Games. I got to the bench and looked at our masseur, and he says ‘Podzins, you did that?’ And everyone from the team congratulated, ‘Bravo Podzins, well done’.”

You’ve got some interesting nicknames.

Podzins: “Yes, they call me ‘Poga’ [meaning a ‘button’ in Latvian], which is similar to my surname. But the most popular is ‘Stallone’, [Vitaly] Karamnov called me that way when he saw me without a jersey for the first time. I’m not that big, but I am well-built.”

Next to whom do you sit in the locker room?

Podzins: “I sit next to veterans, next to [Girts] Ankipans, not far from Nizivijs.

Do you talk more with the younger players?

Podzins: “Oddly enough I don’t. I mostly talk with veterans, especially with Ankipans, we sit next each other. I also try to talk with foreigners, but my English is very bad.”

But do you talk with them?

Podzins: “Yeah, I think [Mark] Hartigan already grow tired of me.”

How come?

Podzins: “For some time we were living at the same hotel, and I didn’t know when we had the practice. So I went to his room, and I saw that he was sleeping. So I excused myself and asked, and he said: ‘in two hours’, then he shut the door. Then later a foreigner asked him: ‘Mark, how did you sleep?’ And he replied: ‘Good, until I was awakened’.”

How do you like Riga?

Podzins: “It’s astounding! In Latvia they love hockey. Can you imagine that someone would ask me an autograph after a game? But if [former NHL star Sandis] Ozolins or Nizivijs arrive, then 30-40 persons would arrive in no time, and they can’t literally get out. They have crazy fans.”

Where do you live?

Podzins: “I live in an apartment in Piņķi at the second floor. At the first floor live other two guys from HK Riga, Martins Jakovlevs and Eriks Sevcenko. Everything is at high level. I can get to the practices on feet and they always bring me to the games.”

Did you have any problems with the language?

Podzins: “It was strange at the start. I went to the locker room and everyone was talking in Latvian. Now I’m used to it. Everyone talks to me in Russian. Practices in both the main team and in the junior teams are run in Russian language. But if I sit with other five Latvians, they talk in their own language. And I literally know only a couple of words.”

Will you learn the language?

Podzins: “I’ve already promised that to the fans! But now I have no time, I’m always playing. It would be easier if everyone would talk to me in Latvian, I’d quickly learn many words.”

You dreamed for the whole life to play for Dinamo. And now you play for them. Is it like you
expected?

Podzins: “It’s even better! I’m happy because my dream came true. In spite, I’m the youngest player of the team everyone treats me very well. They take care about everything and you only have to play. The coaches and the players, in both first and junior team, make everything possible so that you can really develop and I’m very grateful for this.”

Cipulis consecutive game streak ends

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After playing 130 consecutive KHL games, Amur Khabarovsk’s Latvian forward Martins Cipulis was not dressed for today’s game against Salavat Yulaev Ufa, ending his impressive streak.

Cipulis was only one of 13 KHL players, which did not miss a single game during the first two league’s seasons. The league is currently led by three Lokomotiv Yaroslavl’s players – Josef Vasicek, Ivan Tkachenko and Gennady Churilov, who have all as of now played 154 consecutive games. Before ending his streak, Latvian forward was ranked in the seventh place.

However, Cipulis still owns the Dinamo Riga consecutive game record – 124 games. He is currently chased down by Mikelis Redlihs, whose active streak is currently set at 114 games.

This is a list of Dinamo Riga’s top consecutive game streaks (streaks in bold are still active):

  • 124 – Martins Cipulis – 2008-2010
  • 114 – Mikelis Redlihs – 2008-2010
  • 83 – Marcel Hossa – 2009-2010
  • 75 – Lauris Darzins – 2008-2009
  • 56 – Lauris Darzins – 2009-2010
  • 52 – Aleksandrs Nizivijs – 2008-2009
  • 44 – Rodrigo Lavins – 2008-2009
  • 43 – Mark Hartigan – 2008-2009
  • 40 – Girts Ankipans – 2008-2009
  • 38 – Janis Sprukts – 2009-2010
  • 37 – Armands Berzins – 2008-2009
  • 34 – Matt Ellison – 2008-2009
  • 34 – Mike Iggulden – 2009-2010
  • 32 – Aleksandrs Nizivijs – 2009-2010
  • 31 – Aigars Cipruss – 2008-2009
  • 31 – Rodrigo Lavins – 2009
  • 31 – Rodrigo Lavins – 2009-2010
  • 30 – Girts Ankipans – 2009

Andersons and Stals reassigned to Metalurgs

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Dinamo Riga players defender Janis Andersons and forward Juris Stals, after returning from an away tour in Russia, have both been reassigned to Belarusian Extraleague club Metalurgs Liepaja, located 200 kilometers away from Riga.

Neither of the players have played a single game for Dinamo, however they both traveled to an away tour in Russia, in order to be ready to step into the roster, in case of injuries. Along them, also junior players Vitaly Karamnov and Ainars Podzins were with the team. Moreover, Podzins has been dressed for each and every game so far, but had the chance to participate in the actual game only tonight, during the 6:3 win over Neftekhimik Niznekamsk.

Metalurgs Liepaja has already played six regular season games, winning half of them. After many rumours during summer, in August Dinamo Riga signed an agreement with Metalurgs Liepaja, so that Dinamo might reassign up to five players to Liepaja, having no rights to call up a player signed by Metalurgs.

Latvian Railways Cup – through the prism of Dinamo

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This evening Dinamo Riga lost to Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in the final game of the 2010 Latvian Railways Cup. The final score was 5:1. The only goal for Dinamo was scored by Tomas Surovy early in the third period.

However, in general, Dinamo played a solid tournament in front of their fans, winning OHK Dynamo Moscow 4:2 and in the first game between Dinamo and Lokomotiv – winning Lokomotiv 5:1. Still, Dinamo lost to Atlant 3:5, but that game was played without Sandis Ozolins and Aleksandrs Nizivijs on the roster. Lauris Darzins has a minor injury, which let him miss the whole tournament, also Guntis Galvins missed the second half of the tournament.

During this week we could finally conclude that the Dinamo’s first line, at least for the beginning of the season, will be Nizivijs – Hartigan – Surovy, Ozolins – Cibulskis. The only possible change might be adding a more experienced partner for Ozolins, although Cibulskis proved himself to have improved his game over the summer. Despite the fact that the line is playing together for less than a month, they already have established great chemistry and will be a huge force during the season.

Also the second attacking line remained the same during the tournament and most likely will stay like that until September. Karsums – Sprukts – Ankipans was certainly the best line at the yesterday’s 5:1 victory over Lokomotiv. Sprukts played a terrific game, posting three (1+2) points, while Karsums scored another two goals. All three fit together pretty well.

As Darzins missed the tournament, regarding the third and fourth line head coach Julius Supler could arrange some experimental lines, which he did not regret doing. During the tournament we saw:

Bukarts – Trotter – M.Redlihs, Karamnov – Dzerins – Meija (these two lines were played in both games against Yaroslavl)

Podzins – Karamnov – Stals, Meija – Dzerins – Bukarts

Trotter – Karamnov – M.Redlihs, Meija – Dzerins – Bukarts.

However, it still seems that after the return of Darzins, we will see Darzins – Trotter – M.Redlihs as the third line, but the fourth line at the beginning of the season might look like Bukarts – Karamnov(Dzerins) – Meija.

There could be more speculations about the defensive pairings, so I will leave them out. Tellqvist stood in the net during three of the games and let in a total of 13 pucks, while Holt, in his only game, let in only a single goal. However, I would still doubt that Holt will be the starting goalie at the in September.

Dinamo will play only one more exhibition game – on September 3 against Metalurgs Liepaja. On September 9 the regular season will begin and Dinamo will face SKA in St. Petersburg.