Bad season ?
I've decided to start this humble blog about the Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk perfectly aware that this team has always been somewhat of an underdog in the various russian championships he took part.
It is also a team with less commercial ambition, as it is very rare to hear about it outside of ice-hockey community of fans and experts. I'm not complaining as is something that has always been appealing to me : support the smaller teams.
Now, we're in the middle of KHL's sixth season ( actually we're slowly reaching the end of preliminary tour) and I can only see Nizhnekamsk struggling not to reach the lowest level of the East division, mostly because one even weaker team is already well established there.
It is quite a pity since the Petrochemists have been able to achieve much better in the previous seasons by always reaching Play-offs every year except in 2011.But those were different times, with different squad and crew, I'll give you that.
So we know now that this season is most likely going to be the team's worst season in years, altough the team is mathematically still in the game, and it would be interesting to analyze the factors and reasons behind this situation.
Rapidly checking the league statistics, you can see immediately that there are no Nizhnekamsky in the different categories. No leaders in points, assists, or plus minus on a national basis. Not even in terms of penalties.Now that's a pity.
Basically, only Milovzorov, leader in points within the team, comes in 24th position of global ranking. Oskar Osala, also one of the good players and good scorer, has left for Mettalurg Magnitogorsk - the strongest team this year in my opinion.
Petr Koukal is having good season, but nothing to be too excited about, and he's currently on injury list.
In defense, I would say it's even worse. A lot of mistakes are made, and basic ones, which leads to a lot of scoring occasions for the opponents. Except Berezin with decent stats, altough a +/- of minus 8 (!) the rest of the squad is far far behind.
With that being said, I must admit that my biggest concern is about goalies and the actual coach.
This is for a second part though :P
Feel free to comment this article, give your opinion and correction to my little essai. I'm happy to read all points of views and I know people outthere in the hockey world who knows a whole lot more...
Go ahead guys !!