January 09, 2010
The Kontinental Hockey League may be taking the NHL's bottom-tier and overage players for the most part, but one thing they've provided to the hockey world in their two seasons of existence is plenty of YouTube-worthy brawls. Just over a week ago Barys Astana and SKA St. Petersburg had a brawl that featured former NHL'ers Sergei Zubov(notes), Oleg Saprykin(notes), friend of Puck Daddy Kevin Dallman(notes), commercial superstar Robert Esche(notes), and even a goalie-on-defenseman scrap.
Sovetsky Sport writer Genadi Boguslavski tweeted out details of today's punch-up that featured Vityaz Chekhov and Avangard Omsk. It didn't take long for things to go from a line-brawl to the bench-clearing variety.
Now we get to the part where things jumped up a notch. Here are two line-brawls that occurred with the final one beginning after three orchestrated scraps right off the faceoff. Eventually, the benches and penalty boxes were emptied:
If the KHL is going to hand out suspensions here, it should be to the goaltenders for both teams. Here you have every single player in uniforms tied up with an opponent and both sets of goalies are likely having conversations about Jaromir Jagr's new semi-mullet or Russia's failure to qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Haven't they seen YouTube clips of the brawls between the Colorado Avalanche and Detroit Red Wings in the mid-1990's? Maybe Ray Emery's(notes) influence on KHL goaltending wasn't great enough?
Boguslavski also reported that the game was called in the fourth minute and 637 penalty minutes were handed out. Even the guy who sells giant foam fingers got a five-minutes. The stat chart is seemingly never-ending and you'll notice a lot of familiar names on the list such as Alexander Svitov(notes), Anton Babchuk(notes), Eric Perrin(notes), Jakub Klepsis as well as some former minor league tough guys in Brandon Sugden(notes) and Darcy Verot(notes) who participated in today's fun.
After the jump, reaction from Avangard's president and KHL president Alexander Medvedev.
After the game, Avangard's president Anatoli Bardin placesd blame on Vityaz for starting the brawl as he told Sovetsky Sport:
"I am a former ref myself, but I have never seen anything like that. Everything started during the pre-game warm ups, when Darcy Verot shot the puck at Lasse Kukkonen(notes). It was a provocation that started the fight. But we went to Chekhov not looking for that. We don't even have a tough guy on our team. And then, the day after we have a very important game against Salavat Yulaef. Why would we need game misconduct penalties? But Vityaz players after the brawl was stopped went to their locker rooms happy. And the question is not whether we need this type of hockey, but whether we need teams like Vityaz? The Chekhov team is embarassing the KHL! We are constantly communicating with the league at the moment and hope that the most severe punishments will be assessed on Sunday. Jaromir Jagr is still in shock after the incident. Even he had to fight today. There was no other way for him."
KHL President Alexander Medvedev issued a statement in reaction to today's game:
"We are aware of what happened in Chekhov. But it is too early to draw any conclusions. We don't know everything, although it is obvious that it is wrong to fight in pre-game warm ups. Nevertheless, we have to study the video footage, listen to representatives of both sides, and only after that should we come to an informed decision."
As noted by Sovetsky Sport, Avangard and Vityaz aren't strangers to incidents whenever they meet. The two teams faced each other the day Alexei Cherepanov collapsed on the bench and eventually died.