Posts Tagged ‘National Hockey League’
This evening Arena Riga, packed with both fans and journalists from all over the world, hosted the third-ever KHL-NHL game, in which Phoenix Coyotes, without putting much too effort in it, won Dinamo Riga 3:1. The only one to score for Dinamo was Mark Hartigan.
Already since the very first minutes of the game Coyotes had the edge of the game on their side. During the first ten minutes Riga managed to take only one shot on Bryzgalov’s net, but Coyotes managed to turn their dominance into a goal only late in the period, when Taylor Pyatt scored after a rebound from Tellqvist’s pads.
Although also during the beginning of the second period Coyotes still maintained the puck and produced goal-scoring chances, it was the Dinamo Riga, who scored. Right after both team swapped goalies, Brock Trotter set up a goal for Mark Hartigan, who defeated Jason LaBarbera. However, late in the period Petr Prucha regained the lead, scoring the second goal for Phoenix.
During the third period nothing much changed and Dinamo was still clearly outbeaten, the defense of Dinamo was slowly falling apart, which gave an opportunity for Lee Stempniak to score the third goal of the game. If it was not for Chris Holt, who received the game-MVP award, the result could have become embarassing.
This was already the tenth Dinamo Riga game against NHL clubs, as Riga played in several Soviet-NHL series in the 1980’s. Phoenix was the first club in Riga since Montreal Canadiens, who played in Latvia already twenty years ago.
Dinamo Riga struggle in the search for the starting goaltender has finally ended, as the club has signed a contract with 30-year-old Mikael Tellqvist. It has been confirmed by club’s homepage.
Tellqvist returned to Europe after 2008/09 in which he played 21 NHL games. He signed a contract with Ak Bars Kazan of the KHL, but during the season was traded to SM league club Lukko for Finnish goalie Petri Vehanen. Tellqvist has played a total of 113 NHL games.
A few days ago Mikael complained in the media that it is very hard for him to find a club, as there were not many teams left in a need for a goalie. Obviously, Dinamo Riga was not ready to pay, what Tellqvist asked, but luckily both sides managed to come to an agreement.
If we can trust the announcements made by Dinamo coaching staff, Tellqvist is not the last addition to the team before 2010/11 begins. General manager Normunds Sejejs is still searching for another center forward, although it is arguable, how necessary for the team is another center.
31-year-old Latvian enforcer Raitis Ivanans has signed a two year contract with the Calgary Flames, during the first day of free agent frenzy last night. Ivanans will earn 0.6 million USD each of the upcoming two seasons.
Ivanans made his NHL debut in 2005-06, when he was called up from the farm club of the Montreal Canadiens. Already in his first game in the league he got into a brawl against Slovakian giant Zdeno Chara, during which he broke his orbital bone. When he finally healed the injury, Ivanans had just another three appearances with les Habitants.
In 2006-07 Raitis was already in Los Angeles, where he played until the end of the previous season. However, once the season was about to end, Kings board made Ivanans to realize that starting from next season his role will be filled by Kevin Westgarth, who, being almost the same weight and height, produced a lot more points and was also five years younger.
There was a reason for the Kings to be dissatisfied with the play of Ivanans – after 2008-09 club suggested Raitis to lose some weight, so that he would become more agile on the ice. However, although Ivanans lost 20 pounds during the off-season, the previous season was the first one, which Raitis finished without scoring a single point.
Today Latvian forwards Kristians Pelss, who was drafted into the NHL by Edmonton Oilers three days ago, and Vitalijs Hvorostinins, as well as defender Ricards Berzins(Richards Berzins), were drafted during the CHL Import Draft. Pelss was picked by the Edmonton Oil Kings of WHL #19 overall, while Hvorostinins was selected by Val-d’Or Foreurs #30 overall, but Berzins was picked by Owen Sound Attack #58 overall.
Let me just remind you that last season Pelss played for the Dinamo-Juniors Riga in the Belarusian league. Pelss, who learned the game of hockey in Daugavpils, scored nine points in 48 games last season. He also played in the U18 IIHF World Championship in Minsk, where was one of the Latvian national team leaders, although managed to score only two goals.
Vitalijs Hvorostinins, just like Pelss, learned the game of hockey in Daugavpils and, instead of Pelss, Hvorostinins played in local DHK Latgale last season, scoring 23 (9+14) points in 30 games. He also played several games for the Daugavpils U18 team.
Ricards Berzins spent previous season with HS Prizma/Pardaugava 92 in the Latvian U18 league and did not make the Latvian U18 national team. In 2008-09 he also played 20 games for Latvian league club HS Prizma/Hanza Riga. Before this draft, his name was rather unfamiliar around the Latvian hockey community.
The highest-ever drafted Latvian player in the CHL Import Draft was Agris Saviels, who was the number one draft pick in 1999. He was picked by Owen Sound Attack. In a more recent history, Kaspars Daugavins was the third overall pick in 2006. He was chosen by Toronto St. Michael’s Majors of OHL. Last year Daugavins made his debut in the NHL, playing a single game for the Ottawa Senators.
Although two weeks ago Dinamo Riga official homepage announced that there is a mutual agreement between the club and 1.98m tall Swedish goalie Henrik Karlsson, after his rights were traded to Calgary Flames during the draft yesterday, he has already announced that he will push himself to the limits, in order to make the team.
“I am really excited that I am going to be a Calgary Flame,” said Karlsson for Flames homepage. “I had heard some rumours about being traded a week ago but I didn’t think too much about it.”
Karlsson is expected to be the back-up goalie for the 33-year-old Miika Kiprusoff, as Vesa Toskala’s four million contract has come to an end. According to Flames homepage, Henrik didn’t seem too worried that Kiprusoff is able of playing 70 up to 75 games a season.
Chronology of Henrik Karlsson and his relation to Dinamo Riga:
- June 14 – Dinamo Riga announces that there is a mutual agreement and Karlsson will play in Riga.
- June 14 – The same day Karlsson’s agent Joakim Perssondenies the information released by Dinamo.
- June 22 – There are reports that Persson is working his sleeves out, in order to negotiate with the Sharks.
- June 26 – During the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Karlsson’s rights are acquired by the Flames.
- June 27 – Karlsson announces that he is going for his dream, the NHL.