Blueliners of the East and West at the Challenge Cup in Chelyabinsk
The official website of the Junior Hockey League – about the D-men to represent their teams and conferences in Chelyabinsk. The choice is commented by the coaches of the teams.
Anton Kazachyok (Omskie Yastreby)
11 (3+8) points in 16 games, “+8”
Highest-scoring defenseman in the Gold division of the Eastern conference
Dinis Kadyrov (Tolpar)
11 (0+11) points in 18 games, “-3”
Leader in assists by a defenseman in the Gold division of the Eastern conference
Vladimir Krikunov (Tyumensky Legion)
6 (2+4) points in 17 games, “-1”
Takeaway leader and blocked shots leader of Tyumensky Legion
Artyom Zhukov (Sibirskie Snaipery)
15 (5+10) points in 17 games, “+17”
Highest-scoring defenseman of the Eastern conference
Grigory Rudakov (Kuznetskie Medvedi)
5 (2+3) points in 17 games, “-5”
Highest-scoring defenseman of Kuznetskie Medvedi
Vladislav Toporkov (Irbis)
4 (1+3) points in 16 games, “+4”
Average time on ice leader of Irbis
Ralif Kashapov (Sputnik)
7 (2+5) points in 15 games, “-1”
Leader in assists by a defenseman in Sputnik
Sergei Makarov (Ladya)
7 (1+6) points in 16 games, “+7”
Leader in assists by a defenseman and Plus-Minus leader of Ladya,
Vitaly Chernochub, Team East coach and Omskie Yastreby head coach provided comment for the coaching staff’s choice.
– What were the main criteria for selecting defensemen for Team East?
– First of all, we were looking at ice time, leadership skills, defensive and offensive capabilities. It is great if defensive skills are combined with offensive ones. We considered penalty minutes and experience of playing games. We also paid attention to the current game shape.
– Two players of Sibirskie Snaipery rank among the JHL’s top 3 scoring defensemen – Zhukov and Varennik. You only picked Zhukov, didn’t you feel like calling up both of them?
– Unfortunately, many guys are left out of the picture. There is a limited number of players that the team can carry on its roster, no offense intended, but the head coach decided on Zhukov.
– Irbis and Kuznetskie Medvedi are sitting near the bottom of division standings. On what basis were the players from these teams selected?
– You know, every team has leaders, regardless of its placing. The season has just started, there are still many games to be played, today they are at the bottom, tomorrow they might be at the top of the standings.
– Anton Kazachyok will be representing your team. What are his strengths?
– Anton Kazachyok is now in his third JHL season. He is the most experienced defenseman of our team and ticks all the boxes.
– You lost to Tolpar 5:1 and won with the same score. What is Dinis Kadyrov best remembered for?
– Dinis Kadyrov is best remembered for his uncompromising attitude, aggressive style and non-standard decisions.
– Sergei Makarov from Ladya and Vladislav Toporkov from Irbis are the team’s most experienced players. How important is the age when choosing players for such games?
– The final decision was made by the head coach, but if we consider players born in 2002 and 2003 on the one hand and those born in 2004 and 2005 on the other hand, we understand that younger guys will still have a chance to participate in such an event. If the players are equal, then preference was given to elder player. If a hockey player is obviously stronger, then his age is of no significance. We were considering experienced players and those who are in their final JHL season. It will be nice for guys to spend the last year in the JHL and play at the Challenge Cup.
Team West will also have defensemen from eight JHL teams on its roster.
Artyom Duda (Krasnaya Armiya)
9 (4+5) points in 12 games, “+1”
119 JHL games without taking a penalty, highest-scoring defenseman of Krasnaya Armiya
Yegor Nikitin (HC Dynamo SPb)
7 (1+6) points in 19 games, “+9”
Blocked shots leader and Plus-Minus leader of Dynamo SPb
Nikita Nekrasov (Atlant)
9 (3+6) points in 15 games, “-2”
Highest-scoring defenseman of Atlant
Danila Tyumentsev (Taifun)
11 (3+8) points in 20 games, “-8”
Highest-scoring defenseman of Taifun
Artyom Vilchinsky (SKA-Varyagi)
3 (1+2) points in 14 games, “+3”
Highest-scoring defenseman and Plus-Minus leader of SKA-Varyagi
Mario Patalakha (JHC Dynamo Moscow)
3 (1+2) points in 19 games, “+2”
JHL’s blocked shots leader (66)
Konstantin Volochko (Dinamo-Shinnik)
7 (4+3) points in 18 games, “-2”
Dinamo-Shinnik’s leader in goals scored by a defenseman
Denis Konyashkin (SKA-Kareliya)
6 (2+4) points in 14 games, “-8”
Highest-scoring defenseman of SKA-Kareliya
Vladimir Filatov, Team West coach and SKA-1946 head coach provided comment for the coaching staff’s choice.
– The main criterion for a player to be selected is him being a leader of his team. It is clear that each JHL team needs to be represented, so we did thorough work choosing players. This goes for both defensemen and forwards. There were a lot of blueliners that we could call up, but if there had already been a forward selected from the same team, we had to leave players out. We tried to take into account all possible factors.
– Why wasn’t Daniil Bulygin, the highest-scoring defenseman from Mikhailov Academy called up for the team?
– It is just the case when we chose a forward over a defenseman to represent Mikhailov Academy.
– For the second time in a row, not a single defenseman from your team received a call-up. Did you decide to focus on offense again?
– It was not my personal decision, but the joint one, that was what the entire coaching staff decided. We have chosen to go with bright forwards from SKA-1946.
– Artyom Duda has been called up for the Challenge Cup again, was he beyond dispute?
– He has been one of the best JHL defensemen over the past two years, in my opinion, he plays very well. Now he appears in KHL games with CSKA, but he should join Team West.
– Mario Patalakha is JHL’s blocked shots leader. Was it one of criteria for him to be selected?
– He was born in 2005, but he has already managed to spend a full season in the JHL. He is the core player of Dynamo Moscow, one of the strongest teams in the League. In the 2022/2023 season, he confirms his status of a leader. In addition, as you have justly noted, he is a self-sacrificing player who blocks many shots. I believe that Team West does need such a player.
Chelyabinsk will host the JHL Challenge Cup for the first time. The game will be played on December 3, 2022 at the at the Traktor arena named after Valery Belousov within the framework of the 2022 Fonbet Hockey All-Star Week. On December 4, the Women’s Hockey League All-Star Game will take place. The KHL Skill Show and Fonbet All-Star Game are scheduled for December 10 and 11 respectively.