European Leagues

KHL Game Day: 12-6-11

KHL (Russia):
Chelyabinsk 2 @ Ekaterinburg 1 (OT)
Nikita Nesterov, Chelyabinsk, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals (KHL): 7 GP, 0-0-0, +9, 4 PIM
Season totals (MHL): 23 GP, 6-9-15, +12, 20 PIM

Nikita Nesterov was scoreless in 9:50 in Chelyabnisk's 2-1 overtime win over Ekaterinburg. Ex-Leafs draft pick Vladimir Antipov had the overtime winner. The two teams rematch on Friday.

Dynamo Moscow 2 @ Cherepovets 1
Vasily Koshechkin, Cherepovets, DNP
Season totals: 20 GP, 9-8-0, 1 SO, 2.76 GAA, .914 sv%

Vasily Koshechkin did not dress in Cherepovets' 2-1 loss to Dynamo Moscow. Ex-Lightning prospect Marek Kvapil had the winner for Dynamo, his 6th of the season. Cherepovets draws Novgorod on Thursday.

Word on the street: the latest rumor is that Nikita Kucherov may have been nicked in the Subway Super Series and that the Russian Hockey Federation may be holding him out of play to keep him healthy for the U20 World Junior Championships. Grain of salt.

Elitserien Game Day: 12-5-11

Lulea 2 @ Brynas 1 (OT)
Johan Harju, Lulea, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 28 GP, 9-5-14, +4, 8 PIM

Lulea snatched victory from the iron jaws of defeat today, stealing an OT win from Brynas 2-1. Trailing 1-0 with 29 seconds left to play, ex-Blues draft pick Simon Hjalmarsson potted a power play goal to force the extra period. And then, 31 seconds into overtime, Mattias Persson potted the winner. Grand theft larceny. Lulea faces Vaxjo on Thursday.

Elsewhere, Nikita Kucherov did not appear for CSKA's senior or junior side today.

KHL Game Day: 12-4-11

KHL (Russia)
Dynamo Minsk 3 @ Cherepovets 1
Vasily Koshechkin, Cherepovets, DNP
Season totals: 20 GP, 9-8-0, 1 SO, 2.76 GAA, .914 sv%

Vasily Koshechkin again sat backup in Cherepovets' 3-1 loss to Minsk. Cherepovets plays Dynamo Moscow on Tuesday.

European Game Day: 12-3-11

SM-liiga (Finland):
SaiPa 4 @ JYP 3
Riku Helenius, JYP, Loss, 17/21, 4.15 GAA, .810 sv%
Season totals: 14 GP, 8-6-0, 6 SO, 1.51 GAA, .931 sv%

For once Riku didn't get a shutout. The netminder allowed an uncharacteristic 4 goals in JYP's 4-3 loss to SaiPa. Ex-Ducks farmhand Brian Salcido had 1 goal and 1 assist for SaiPa in the win. JYP plays the mighty Pelicans of Lahti next on Wednesday.

Elitserien (Sweden):
Djurgardens 5 @ Lulea 4 (OT)
Johan Harju, Lulea, 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM, 7 SOG
Season totals: 27 GP, 9-5-14, +4, 8 PIM

When Ex-Lightning Prospects Attack! Defenseman Andreas Holmqvist had the overtime, game-winning, power play goal for Djurgardens in their 5-4 win over Lulea. Also on the board for Djurgardens was Josef Boumedienne with 2 assists and Jimmie Olvestad with 1 assist. It would have brought a tear to Rick Dudley's eye. Lulea gets Brynas next on Monday.

In MHL (Russia Jr.) action, Nikita Kucherov was out of the lineup again today for CSKA Jr. in their 9-2 win over Orenburg. He was healthy when he left North America for the Subway Super Series, so still no word on if there in an injury or an illness. He is still listed on CSKA Jr.'s roster.

SM-liiga Game Day: 12-2-11

The legend continues to grow...

SM-liiga (Finland):
JYP 6 @ Tappara 0
Riku Helenius, JYP, Win, 15/15, SO, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 sv%
Season totals: 13 GP, 8-5-0, 6 SO, 1.31 GAA, .940 sv%

Today was the 3rd or 4th time this season I've gone to look at the results from Finland and said to myself, "No bleeping way!" Riku Helenius (pictured) continues to bend the rules of time and space, as he shut out Tappara today on 15 saves in JYP's 6-0 win. Ex-Lightning forward Eric Perrin had 1 goal and 3 points in the win. JYP plays SaiPa on Saturday.

I get that JYP is a very good defensive team. I get that Riku is benefiting greatly from playing behind a very good defensive team. But, with 6 shutouts in 13 starts, and considering his tandem-mate Joni Myllykoski doesn't have any shutouts in 15 appearances, it's become something you can't dismiss anymore. At this stage, it's reminiscent of how people used to dismiss Martin Brodeur because he played behind a very strong defensive team in New Jersey. And, yet, it's not like you could have plugged any goaltender in there for New Jersey and won championships, and the guy now holds or is close to holding just about every goaltending record in the book.

No, I'm not saying Riku Helenius, who at this time last year was getting routinely clobbered as a backup for Sodertalje in the Elitserien after being excommunicated from North America by the Lightning, is another Martin Brodeur. But, then again, doesn't it seem like he might be justifying the belief that the Lightning had when they drafted him 15th overall in 2006 that there might be something special about him?

And, aren't you a little curious what he could do if the Lightning got him back to North America, too?

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