Latvian Hockey News Report

By Didzis Rudmanis

Posts Tagged ‘Vitaly Karamnov

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 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.

Sotnieks stays in Riga, try-out players are signed (updated)

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The 23-year-old Latvian defender Kristaps Sotnieks, who in July attended Washington Capitals Development Camp and considered continuing his career in North America, has signed a contract with Dinamo Riga, reports club’s homepage.

According to Sotnieks himself, he was waiting for a reply for three weeks, however no one called him and he did not want to wait any longer, so because of that he agreed to the Dinamo offer. The contract is signed for the next two years.

Although Sotnieks plays together with Dinamo Riga already since the beginning of camp, we can consider him as the latest and probably last addition to the team.

Also goalie Edgars Lusins as well as forwards Vitaly Karamnov and Juris Stals have turned their try-out contracts into a proper contracts with the club. Ainars Podzins has signed a two-way contract for the next four seasons. However, he and Martins Jakovlevs must have been reassigned to HK Riga.

Written by Didzis Rudmanis

August 18, 2010 at 12:06

Simek’s time in Riga ends

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After the second exhibition game of Dinamo Riga, forward Juraj Simek, who had a try-out contract with the club, has been released and is free to go.

According to icebox.lv, Simek is planning on joining the pre-season camp of AHL’s Norfolk Admirals, where he already spent the previous two seasons. Right before the camp Simek recovered from angina, which certainly affected his performance in Riga.

As of now Dinamo has try-out contracts with goaltender Edgars Lusins, defender Martins Jakovlevs and forwards Vitaly Karamnov, Ainars Podzins and Juris Stals. It is, however, expected that Martins Jakovlevs will play for HK Riga of MHL. Jakovlevs still has not played a single exhibition game for Dinamo.

According to Janis Matulis of the respectable weekly Sporta Avize, HK Riga has released another three forwards – Rustams Begovs, Mikelis Freimanis and Vjaceslavs Movko.

Dinamo releases four players

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Dinamo Riga has made their second cuts and, as a result, Kenneth Bergqvist, Eriks Ozollapa, Sergejs Pecura and Igor Biryukov have been released from the team. In the same time, Juris Upitis and Raimonds Vilkoits will continue to prepare for the season with HK Riga.

The amount of players with try-out contracts has decreased largely and currently only Edgars Lusins, Vitaly Karamnov, Ainars Podzins, Juraj Simek and Juris Stals have a contract for the next season. Still, only Vitaly Karamnov was on the roster in yesterday’s exhibition game (Lusins was dressed as the second goalie).

Another player currently still with the team is 19-year-old defender Martins Jakovlevs, who is not likely to win a spot on the roster. However, in case on injuries, he might be a great call-up, because he has born in 1991, which makes him U20 also for the upcoming season – in order to dress four full lines in the KHL, at least one of the players must be U20.

While Kenneth Bergqvist showed rather disappointing performance at the yesterday’s game, Eriks Ozollapa and Igor Biryukov did not even have a chance to show themselves in front of the fans. The fact that Sergejs Pecura has also been released is a little bit more surprising, as he played four games for Dinamo in 2008/09, but, prior 2009/10, was traded to Krylia Sovetov for rights to Latvian Ainars Podzins. At the end of the previous season he even played for Latvian national team at the World Championships.

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