Latvian Hockey News Report

By Didzis Rudmanis

Posts Tagged ‘Neftekhimik Niznekamsk

Neftekhimik signs Maris Jass

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Kontinental Hockey League club Neftekhimik Niznekamsk has signed 25-year-old Latvian defender Maris Jass, who played for HK 36 Skalica of the Slovakian Extraleague.

After the previous season, when Neftekhimik finished fourth in the Eastern Conference, the team is currently struggling to maintain its place in the play-off zone, as it is currently placed eight with 35 points in 24 games. The head coach Vladimir Krikunov, who played for Dinamo Riga in the 1980’s, decided that a change was desirable – as Jass was signed, Neftekhimik released Slovakian defender Peter Mikus from the team.

Maris Jass has already previously played in Russia – in 2005-06, when the KHL was not yet established, he played 14 games for Lada Togliatti. For the most of his career Jass played for Metalurgs Liepaja – a Latvian club, which had and has been playing in the Eastern European Hockey League (folded in 2004), as well as both Belarussian Extraleague and Latvian league. He has also played for HC Slavia Praha of the Czech Extraleague, however since the beginning of 2009-10 he was playing in the Slovak Extraleague.

He has also appeared on international stage, playing for the Latvian national team at the 2006 and 2010 World Championships, as well as two U20 and one U18 Championship.

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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.”

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 Legion 2010/11

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This list was last updated in mid-January, 2011.

As some of the European leagues have already started their 2010/11 seasons and many others are on the very verge of it, I believe, it is exactly the right time to post a list of all the Latvian players, spending their upcoming seasons abroad. The current list includes 150 players.

This list is never going to be fully complete and that is why any additions or corrections are welcomed at the comments section.

North America

  • National hockey league
  1. Karlis Skrastins – Dallas Stars
  2. Oskars Bartulis – Philadelphia Flyers
  3. Raitis Ivanans – Calgary Flames
  4. Arturs Kulda – Atlanta Thrashers (a possible call-up)
  • American hockey league
  1. Arturs Kulda – Chicago Wolves
  2. Kaspars Daugavins – Binghamton Senators
  3. Oskars Bartulis – Adirondack Phantoms
  • Western hockey league
  1. Kristians Pelss – Edmonton Oil Kings
  • United States hockey league
  1. Zemgus Girgensons – Dubuque Fighting Saints
  • ACHA
  1. Renars Rukmanis – Duquesne University
  • MetJHL
  1. Hedijs Pleskacovs – Florida Eels
  2. Livars Lans – Florida Eels
  • NAHL
  1. Nils Semjonovs – Aberdeen Wings
  2. Ralfs Freibergs – Texas Tornado
  3. Ricards Berzins – Wenatchee Wild
  • GMHL
  1. Nikita Jevpalovs – South Muskoka Shield
  2. Toms Taurins – Bradford Rattlers
  3. Rudolfs Prusis – Bradford Rattlers
  • CSHL
  1. Nauris Buskevics – Quad City Jr. Flames
  • WSHL
  1. Alberts Boluss – Texas Jr. Brahmas
  2. Ivo Dimitrijevs – Arizona Redhawks
  • IJHL
  1. Mareks Kepals – Boston Jr. Blackhawks
  2. Girts Savrinovics – Philadelphia Jackals
  • RAMHL
  1. Ainis Zalans – Sisec Selects
  2. Rihards Marenis – Sisec Selects
  3. Davis Sprukts – Sisec Selects
  • Midget AAA
  1. Hardijs Kupaks – Ohio Jr. Blue Jackets
  2. Mikus Sprinovskis – PEAC Piranhas
  • Midget AA
  1. Rudolfs Kalvitis – Shattuck St. Mary’s
  • Prep School
  1. Teodors Blugers – Shattuck St. Mary’s
  2. Olafs Jurenko – Cedarburg Bulldogs
  • Rocky Mountain Senior hockey league
  1. Ivars Muzis – Sun Valley Suns
  2. Vilnis Nikolaisons – Sun Valley Suns

Europe

Austria

  • Austrian Oberliga (third tier)
  1. Matiss Gelazis – Graz 99ers II (also plays in Slovenian league)
  2. Zintis Zusevics – Graz 99ers II (also plays in Slovenian league)

Belarus

  • Belarussian Extraleague
  1. Atvars Tribuncovs – Gomel
  • MHL
  1. Edgars Ulescenko – Yunost
  2. Aleksandrs Kercs jr. – Yunost
  3. Aleksandrs Galkins – Zubry Minsk

Czech Republic

  • Czech Extraliga
  1. Aleksejs Sirokovs – HC Kometa Brno
  • Czech 2. liga (third tier)
  1. Aleksandrs Baburins – HC Most

Denmark

  • Al-Bank Ligaen
  1. Sergejs Cubars – Hvidovre
  • Denmark2
  1. Oskars Jursans – Gladsaxe
  2. Dmitrijs Orlovs – Amager Ishockey

Estonia

  • Meistriliiga
  1. Maris Lotko – HK Kalev-Valk Tartu
  2. Lauris Dancis – HK Kalev-Valk Tartu
  3. Davis Zunde – HK Kalev-Valk Tartu

Finland

  • SM-liiga
  1. Kaspars Saulietis – HPK
  2. Armands Berzins – HPK
  • Mestis
  1. Roberts Jekimovs – Jokipojat
  • Suomi-sarja
  1. Gints Purins – Hermes
  2. Gatis Gricinskis – Hermes
  3. Janis Purins – Hermes
  4. Raitis Pujats – FPS
  5. Mihails Koklins – HC Levia
  • Finland4
  1. Girts Jansons – Muik Hockey
  2. Viktors Jasjonis – IK Kronan
  3. Artjoms Ogorodnikovs – IK Kronan
  4. Vadims Vabiscevics – Kraft
  5. Edgars Cermnihs – Kraft
  6. Vladislavs Dudins – Kraft
  7. Janis Liepa – PyPo
  8. Edgars Dzirkalis – PyPo
  9. Roberts Danemanis – PyPo
  10. Nauris Enkuzens – Kiekkohait
  11. Martins Gipters – Kiekkohait
  • Jr. B I-divisioona
  1. Konstantis Sipunovs – Ahmat Hyvinkaa U18

France

  • Ligue Magnus
  1. Olegs Koreskovs – Morzine-Avoriaz
  • Division 1
  1. Rolands Vigners – Reims
  2. Raimonds Danilics – Montpellier
  3. Janis Brakss – Montpellier
  4. Janis Straupe – Montpellier
  • Division 2
  1. Elvis Zelubovskis – Lyon
  • French U22 league
  1. Rolands Vigners – Reims U22

Germany

  • DEL
  1. Herberts Vasiljevs – Krefeld Pinguine
  • Regionalliga
  1. Lauris Ziemins – Herford
  • U20 Bundesliga
  1. Janis Berzins – ESC Moskitos Essen U20
  • DNL
  1. Arturs Birstins – SC Riessersee U18
  2. Vladislavs Tatarnikovs- SC Riessersee U18

Great Britain

  • EIHL
  1. Toms Hartmanis – Newcastle Vipers
  2. Ervins Mustukovs – Sheffield Steelers
  3. Aivars Gaisins – Hull Stingrays
  • EPIHL
  1. Maris Ziedins – Peterborough Phantoms
  2. Kristaps Pete – Sheffield Steeldogs
  3. Kriss Grundmanis – Sheffield Steeldogs
  4. Edgars Bebris – Sheffield Steeldogs (according to eliteprospects.com, has gained an UK citizenship)
  5. Janis Ozolins – Sheffield Steeldogs
  6. Andrejs Maslovskis – Telford Tigers

Italy

  • Serie A
  1. Agris Saviels – Valpellice
  • Serie B
  1. Olegs Sorokins – Vipiteno

Kazakhstan

  • Kazakh league
  1. Martins Raitums – Beibarys Atyrau
  2. Andrejs Smirnovs – Beibarys Atyrau
  3. Sergejs Tjoluskins – Beibarys Atyrau

Lithuania

  • Ledo Ritulio Lyga
  1. Vladimirs Parhomenko – Ledo Linija Siauliai
  2. Arturs Batraks – Ledo Linija Siauliai
  3. Raitis Brinecs – Ledo Linija Siauliai
  4. Andris Valters – Ledo Linija Siauliai
  5. Igors Birjukovs – Sadvita Klaipeda
  6. Kristaps Buzats – Sadvita Klaipeda
  7. Nikita Dobrenkijs – Sadvita Klaipeda
  8. Aleksejs Proposins – Sadvita Klaipeda
  9. Guntis Pujats – Sadvita Klaipeda

Netherlands

  • Eredivisie
  1. Aleksandrs Terjohins – Heerenveen Flyers

Norway

  • Get Division (second thier)
  1. Janis Smits – Comet

Poland

  • Polish 2nd league
  1. Toms Bluks – Sokoly Torun
  2. Edgars Adamovics – Sokoly Torun
  3. Andrejs Lavrenovs – Sokoly Torun

Russia

  • KHL
  1. Martins Cipulis – Amur Khabarovsk
  2. Georgijs Pujacs – Sibir Novosibirsk
  3. Aleksandrs Jerofejevs – Metallurg Novokuznetsk
  4. Edgars Masalskis – Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk
  5. Maris Jass – Neftekhimik Niznekamsk
  • VHL
  1. Sergejs Pecura – Krylia Sovetov
  • MHL
  1. Artjoms Dasutins – HK Sheriff
  2. Edgars Ulescenko – Yunost
  3. Aleksandrs Kercs jr. – Yunost
  4. Ronalds Cinks – Krylia Sovetov
  5. Aleksandrs Galkins – Zubry Minsk
  • Russian 1st league
  1. Andrejs Ignatovics – Titan Klin
  2. Juris Ozols – Tital Klin

Slovenia

  • Slovenian league
  1. Matiss Gelazis – Graz 99ers II (also plays in Austrian Oberliga)
  2. Zintis Zusevics – Graz 99ers II (also plays in Austrian Oberliga)

Sweden

  • Division 1
  1. Aleksandrs Semjonovs – Arboga
  2. Rolands Gritans – Arboga
  3. Arturs Ozolins – Karlskrona HK
  4. Maksims Sirokovs – Karlskrona HK
  5. Sergejs Louskins – Lindlovens IF
  6. Renars Undelis – Lindlovens IF
  7. Alberts Ilisko – Nynashamns IF
  8. Valters Ozolins – Arlanda
  9. Krists Kalnins – Arlanda
  10. Aleksandrs Macijevskis – Bjorkloven
  11. Nikolajs Jerofejevs – Tranas
  • Division 2
  1. Martins Ozolins – Sollentuna HC
  2. Toms Tilla – Sollentuna HC
  3. Aleksandrs Bebriss-Fedotovs – Vannas HC
  4. Roberts Potapenko – Vannas HC
  5. Vadims Maticins – Jonstorps IF
  • Division 3
  1. Elvis Veldze – Syrianska/Armeniska HC
  2. Oskars Blums – Syrianska/Armeniska HC
  • J20 Elit
  1. Kristaps Legzdins – Sunne J20
  • J20 Div. 1
  1. Boriss Tretjakovs – Arboga J20
  • J18 Elit
  1. Martins Lavrovs – Arlanda J18
  2. Edgars Klavins – Lidingo J18
  3. Ansis Brikainis – Lidingo J18
  4. Kristaps Riekstins – Lidingo J18
  5. Kristaps Bazevics – Lidingo J18
  6. Girts Zemitis – Nacka HK J18
  7. Roberts Smits – Nykoping J18
  8. Aleksandrs Bebriss-Fedotovs – Vannas J18
  9. Roberts Potapenko – Vannas J18
  • J18 Div. 1
  1. Boriss Tretjakovs – Arboga J18
  2. Romans Semjonovs – Arboga J18

Switzerland

  • NLB
  1. Ronalds Kenins – GC/Kusnacht Lions
  2. Eriks Ozollapa – Basel
  • 1. Amateur Regio League (third tier)
  1. Gundars Berkis – Chiasso
  • Elite Jr. A
  1. Juris Zandovskis – Gotteron U20
  2. Martins Mezulis – Gotteron U20
  3. Ronalds Kenins – GCK/ZSC Lions U20
  • Elite Jr. B
  1. Janis Kenins – Thurgau U20
  • Elite Novizen
  1. Elvis Merkzlikins – Lugano U18
  2. Deivids Sarkanis – Lugano U18
  3. Ivars Punnenovs – Pikes Oberthurgau U18

Written by Didzis Rudmanis

September 6, 2010 at 21:59

Posted in Latvians around the world

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Dinamo wins the first exhibition game

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On August 2 Dinamo Riga played it’s first exhibition game, beating Neftekhimik Niznekamsk 5:2. The game was held at the training facility Volvo sporta centrs, who has a registered capacity of 1500. Arena was overcrowded.

Four minutes before the end of the first period Meija had already his second great goal scoring opportunity, however his stick was lifted and the next two minutes Dinamo played on a powerplay, on which defender Oskars Cibulskis managed to score from the blue line. Just a moment later Neftekhimik players earned already the third penalty of the night, and Mark Hartigan scored just within ten seconds of the powerplay.

In a mid-second period Chris Holt, after his own mistake, was beaten by Sergei Konkov, as he managed to score after a great pass from Maksim Pestushko. Minutes later Neftekhimik changed Ivan Kasutin for Canadian Scott Munroe in the net. With seven minutes left in the period, Andris Dzerins had a breakaway, but Munroe stepped out of the net and cleared the puck. Late in the period, after a bad rebound by Munroe, Lauris Darzins managed to score another powerplay goal, but with just 28 seconds before the end of the period Mikelis Redlihs stepped into defense too late and, after a successful play, Sergei Konkov managed to score his second goal of the night.

Three minutes into the third period defender Oskars Cibulskis managed to score once again and make it 4:2 already. A while later Martins Karsums and Maxim Berezin exchanged a few punches, but once both of them had dropped their gloves, they were already separated by the linesmen. Minutes before the regulation, after a great pass from Aleksandrs Nizivijs, Slovak Tomas Surovy scored his first goal in Dinamo jersey. The game ended 5:2.

Dinamo Riga – Neftekhimik Niznekamsk 5:2 (2:0, 1:2, 2:0)

Goals: 1:0 17:56 Cibulskis (K.Redlihs, Darzins, PP), 2:0 18:46 Hartigan (Cibulskis, Nizivijs, PP), 2:1 27:02 Konkov (Pestushko, St.Pierre), 3:1 36:44 Darzins (M.Redlihs, K.Redlihs, PP), 3:2 39:32 Konkov (Pestushko, Arkhipov), 4:2 42:57 Cibulskis (Nizivijs, Hartigan, PP), 5:2 54:41 Surovy (Nizivijs, Hartigan)
Goalies: Holt – Kasutin (28:44 Munroe)

Chris Holt had a decent game. He managed to make a couple of great saves, however it was clear that he has not adjusted to the European-sized rinks just yet, as he was a little confused, when playing with the puck.

Among defencemen, Arvids Rekis was slower than expected and definitely will not start the season in the first defensive pair, like he did today. Eventhough Oskars Cibulskis managed to score two goals, he was clearly the slowest player on the ice. Although these two goals will definitely give him a certain edge over Janis Andersons in the fight for the seventh defender’s spot, I would still prefer Andersons, who showed a much better performance.

The forward, which had the biggest impact on me, was Gints Meija, who had not lost a tiny bit of the play he showed at the World Championships in May. He would definitely deserve a bigger ice-time, but, unfortunately, it does not seem that he will manage to earn a spot within first three lines. Still, Karsums – Trotter – Meija could make a solid third line. It also does not seem too realistic that Dinamo will sign a contract with Swede Kenneth Bergqvist, who is not as skilled to play anywhere above the fourth line. There is no point signing him, to let him play for Metalurgs Liepaja of the Belarussian league. (As HK Riga of MHL is an U21 team, Dinamo is likely to sign a contract with Metalurgs, that it would allow to let five players to play in Liepaja. However, Dinamo might not call up players, who have a contract with Metalurgs).

When I left the game, I was desperately searching for a reason, why Dinamo has signed try-out contract with players like Eriks Ozollapa, Juraj Simek, Juris Stals and others, if the first three lines at the exhibition games are formed from players, which do not need to worry about their spot on the roster.

Dinamo line-up at the game:

Lauris Darzins Janis Sprukts Mikelis Redlihs
Krisjanis Redlihs Arvids Rekis
Aleksandrs Nizivijs Mark Hartigan Tomas Surovy
Oskars Cibulskis Sandis Ozolins
Martins Karsums Andris Dzerins Girts Ankipans
Guntis Galvins Rodrigo Lavins
Kenneth Bergqvist Vitaly Karamnov Gints Meija
Janis Andersons Jekabs Redlihs