European Leagues

Helenius to Stay With Sodertalje Next Season

Hockey Expressen is reporting that the agent of Lightning goaltending prospect Riku Helenius, Jay Grossman, has announced the Finnish born former first round pick will play for Sodertalje in the Swedish Elitserien again next season. Helenius joined Sodertalje late last season and backstopped the club to a first place finish in the Kval till Elitserien, the annual promotion/relegation tournament. The move may be a positive for Helenius' development, as he is expected to be Sodertalje's starter next year and the Lightning already have a glut of Norfolk-bound goaltenders with Dustin Tokarski and Jaroslav Janus in the fold. Having Helenius in Sodertalje allows the Lightning the luxury of having him develop with plenty of starts in a premiere European league. Helenius is entering the final year of his entry-level deal with the Lightning.

LG Hockey Games Results: 4-29-10 to 5-2-10

Finland won the final leg of the annual Euro Tour, the LG Games, on goal differential over the Czech Republic. Lightning prospects Vasily Koshechkin and Johan Harju participated for Russia and Sweden, respectively, as did current Lightning player Victor Hedman for the Swedes. In addition, ex-Lightning player Evgeni Artyukhin played for Russia while ex-Lightning prospect Marek Kvapil played for the Czech Republic. The tournament is a tune-up for the upcoming World Championships.

Finland 5 @ Russia 4 (SO)
Vasily Koshechkin, Russia, DNP

Potential 2010 first round pick Mikael Granlund scored the shootout winning goal in Finland's 5-4 victory over Russia. Former Lightning forward Evgeni Artyukhin had a goal in the match for the Russians, with one assist going to another former Lightning forward, Alex Svitov. Former Lightning defenseman Janne Niskala also had a power play assist in the match for the Finns.

Czech Republic 2 @ Sweden 1 (SO)
Johan Harju, Sweden, 0-0-0, 2 PIM

Jakub Klepis was the only shooter to convert in the shootout session, lifting the Czech Republic to a 2-1 win over Sweden. Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman had Sweden's only goal in the match.

Sweden 2 @ Russia 4
Vasily Koshechkin, Russia, Win, 34/36, 2.00 GAA, .944 sv%

Johan Harju, Sweden, 1-0-1, 0 PIM

Despite a goal from Lightning prospect Johan Harju, Sweden fell hard to Russia 4-2 in the second match of the LG Games. Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman took a late minor for holding in the match.

Russia 2 @ Czech Republic 4
Vasily Koshechkin, Russia, DNP

Ex-Lightning prospect Marek Kvapil assisted on a second period goal by Petr Koukal in the Czech Republic's 4-2 win over Russia.

Sweden 3 @ Finland 2
Johan Harju, Sweden, 0-1-1, 0 PIM

Lightning prospect Johan Harju assisted on Niklas Persson's shorthanded game winning goal in Sweden's 3-2 win over archrival Finland.

Harju finished second among the Swedes in scoring with 1 goal and 2 points in 3 games with a +3 rating and 4 penalty minutes. Victor Hedman, for his part, had 1 goal in 3 games and a +2 rating with 2 penalty minutes. On Team Russia, Vasily Koshechkin was 1-0-0, with a 2.00 GAA and .944 sv% in his only appearance.

Ex-Lightning forward Evgeni Artyukhin had 1 goal in 3 games but was -2 with 4 penalty minutes. Former first-rounder Alex Svitov had 1 assist and was also -2 with 2 penalty minutes. Former Lightning defenseman Janne Niskala had a helper in 3 games and a +2 rating. Ex-Lightning prospect Marek Kvapil had a helper in 2 games and a +2 rating.

Among potential 2010 first round picks, Finland's Mikael Granlund had 1 goal and 2 points and was -1 in 3 games. Russia's Vladimir Tarasenko was scoreless and -1 in 3 games.

KHL Playoff Game Day: 4-27-10

KHL Gagarin Cup Finals
(2)KHK MVD 0 @ (3)Kazan 2
Kazan Wins the Series 4-3
Kazan Wins the KHL Gagarin Cup Championship
Dmitri Kazionov, Kazan, 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 52 GP, 18-9-27, +8, 18 PIM
Playoff totals: 22 GP, 3-4-7, +8, 12 PIM

Finnish netminder Petri Vehanen pitched a 30 save shutout in the biggest game of the year to lead Kazan to a 2-0 Game Seven win over KHK MVD and the 2010 KHL Gagarin Cup Championship. Kazan's game winning goal was scored 1:18 into the second period by former Lightning first round pick Nikita Alexeev. Later in the period, former NHLer Niko Kapanen scored the insurance marker for Ak Bars off an assist by Lightning prospect Dmitri Kazionov, who played 17:34 in the match. Kazionov had a helper in each of the last three games of the Gagarin Cup Finals. Kazan outscored KHK MVD 9-1 in the final two games of the series to overcome a 3-2 series deficit.

With Kazionov and Kazan's victory, the season has come to a close for the Lightning's European prospects. Bolt Prospects extends its thanks to our readers for this, our fifth season of prospect coverage.

KHL Playoff Game Day: 4-25-10

KHL Gagarin Cup Finals
(3)Kazan 7 @ (2)KHK MVD 1
The Series is Tied 3-3
Dmitri Kazionov, Kazan, 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 52 GP, 18-9-27, +8, 18 PIM
Playoff totals: 21 GP, 3-3-6, +7, 12 PIM

The 2010 KHL Gagarin Cup Finals will go the distance after Kazan blew out KHK MVD 7-1 on KHK MVD's home ice in Game Six. Kazan got goals from 7 different players in the match, including ex-Lightning first round pick Nikita Alexeev who scored his 3rd goal of the playoffs and added a helper, as well. Lightning prospect Dmitri Kazionov assisted on a late first period goal by Grigori Panin and played 13:30 in the match. Kazan's blowout win came despite not having the services of star forward Alexei Morozov for a third straight game.

Game Seven, for all the marbles, will occur on Tuesday in Kazan.

KHL Playoff Game Day: 4-23-10

KHL Gagarin Cup Finals
(2)KHK MVD 3 @ (3)Kazan 2
KHK MVD Leads the Series 3-2
Dmitri Kazionov, Kazan, 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 52 GP, 18-9-27, +8, 18 PIM
Playoff totals: 20 GP, 3-2-5, +6, 12 PIM

Kazan is on the brink of elimination. Ex-Panthers draft pick Roman Derlyuk scored a goal 6:07 into the third period of Game Five to break a 2-2 tie and deliver KHK MVD to a 3-2 win and to within 1 win of a Gagarin Cup championship. Lightning prospect Dmitri Kazionov assisted on ex-Canadiens draft pick Alexei Yemelin's second period goal to temporarily tie the game at 2-2 and played 14:42 in the match. Kazan has played without the services of star forward Alexei Morozov in the last two games, both losses, which has forced Kazionov to move to center where he was 77% on draws in Game Four and 46% on draws in Game Five.

Game Six is slated for Sunday with Kazan trying to stave off elimination on the road.

KHL Playoff Game Day: 4-20-10

KHL Gagarin Cup Finals
(3)Kazan 1 @ (2)KHK MVD 2
Series Tied 2-2
Dmitri Kazionov, Kazan, 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 52 GP, 18-9-27, +8, 18 PIM
Playoff totals: 19 GP, 3-1-4, +5, 12 PIM

Former Thrashers draft pick Yuri Dobryshkin scored the game winning goal for KHK MVD 5:53 into the third period in Game Four, lifting his club to a 2-1 win and a 2-2 series tie with Ak Bars Kazan. Lightning prospect Dmitri Kazionov played 13:38 in the match and was on the ice for Kazan's lone goal.

The Gagarin Cup Final has been a homer series thus far, with each club winning its two home games. The scene shifts back to Kazan for a critical Game Five matchup on Friday.

KHL Playoff Game Day: 4-19-10

KHL Gagarin Cup Finals
(3)Kazan 2 @ (2)KHK MVD 3
Kazan Leads the Series 2-1
Dmitri Kazionov, Kazan, 0-0-0, +1, 2 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 52 GP, 18-9-27, +8, 18 PIM
Playoff totals: 18 GP, 3-1-4, +4, 12 PIM

KHK MVD got a pair of third period goals from Maxim Velikov and Alexei Tertyshny less than 4 minutes apart to defeat Kazan 3-2 and cut Kazan's series lead in half to 2-1. Lightning prospect Dmitri Kazionov was on the ice for a late Kazan goal by defenseman Stepan Zakharchuk. He played 14:16 in the match and took a 2nd period minor for high sticking. Game Four is slated for tomorrow.

In an interesting twist, it was announced this week that KHK MVD will be merging with Johan Harju's former team, Dynamo Moscow, next season after Dyanmo's main sponsor pulled out to back SKA St. Petersburg instead. Harju has already signed a 1-year deal with the Lightning next season.

KHL Playoff Game Day: 4-16-10

KHL Gagarin Cup Finals
(2)KHK MVD 1 @ (3)Kazan 4
Kazan Leads the Series 2-0
Dmitri Kazionov, Kazan, 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 52 GP, 18-9-27, +8, 18 PIM
Playoff totals: 17 GP, 3-1-4, +2, 10 PIM

Kazan is now just two victories away from winning the KHL championship after a 4-1 Game Two victory over Western Conference champion KHK MVD. Kazan was once again led by unlikely hero Dmitri Obukhov, who had a pair of goals including an empty netter. Obukhov, who scored just 5 goals during the regular season, has 3 goals now in the first two games of the Gagarin Cup Finals. Lightning prospect Dmitri Kazionov played 14:26 in the match for Kazan. Game Three is on Monday.

KHL Playoff Game Day: 4-15-10

KHL Gagarin Cup Finals
(2)KHK MVD 2 @ (3)Kazan 3
Kazan Leads the Series 1-0
Dmitri Kazionov, Kazan, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Season totals: 52 GP, 18-8-27, +8, 18 PIM
Playoff totals: 16 GP, 3-1-4, +2, 8 PIM

Unlikely hero Dmitri Obukhov scored a goal 4:05 into the third period to break a 2-2 tie and send Kazan on to a 3-2 Game One victory over KHK MVD. Lightning prospect Dmitri Kazionov played 16:58 in the match. Game Two is slated for tomorrow.

European Game Day: 4-11-10

Kval till Elitserien (Sweden)
Rogle 3 @ Sodertalje 2 (SO)
Riku Helenius, Sodertalje, DNP
Season totals: 9 GP, 4-2-2, 0 SO, 2.42 GAA, .923 sv%
Playoff totals: 9 GP, 6-3-0, 1 SO, 2.74 GAA, .911 sv%

With Sodertalje's spot in the Elitserien sewed up for next season, Riku Helenius got today off in the 10th and final match of the promotion/relegation series. Helenius' backup, Pontus Sjogren, stopped 42 shots before allowed 3 of 6 shooters to capitalize in the shootout for the loss. Helenius' roller coaster season is over, and he and the Lightning will now contemplate a way forward for the former first round draft pick who played very well at times, and very poorly at other junctures.

Sodertalje finished first in the Kval till Elitserien with 21 points, 3 ahead of Allsvenskan side AIK, which defeated Vaxjo Lakers 2-0 today to grab a promotion into the Elitserien for next season. It's a remarkable accomplishment for a team that just a few months ago was contemplating a move into the KHL. They finished 2 points ahead of Rogle, which will be relegated to the Allsvenskan next season.

KHL (Russia) Western Conference Finals
No Lightning prospects were involved, but in Game Seven KHK MVD defeated Yaroslavl 2-1. Ex-Thrashers prospect Michael Garnett stopped 25 of 26 shots he faced in the win. He'll face Ak Bars Kazan and Lightning prospect Dmitri Kazionov in the KHL Gagarin Cup Finals, which begin on Thursday in Kazan.

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