Vasily Koshechkin has been granted a release from his contract with Lada Togliatti and has signed with Metallurg Magnitogorsk, according to sports-planet.ru and Togliatti's website. The Lada franchise, which has been cash strapped for the past three plus seasons, failed to make payroll for over two months, allowing several players to petition the league for free agency due to breach of contract. Koshechkin was granted his release and will now play for Magnitogorsk, which currently sits in second in the Eastern Conference and has the third best record in the KHL.
The 26 year old netminder was taken by the Lightning in the 8th round, 233rd overall, in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. Despite several overtures from the Lightning during Jay Feaster's time as GM, Koshechkin has remained in Russia for the duration of his career to this point, playing primarily with Togliatti with a short stint with Kazan. Standing at 6'6" tall, the mammoth netminder is recognized as one of Russia's finest goaltenders, having appeared in several Euro Tour events and the World Championships for his homeland. Koshechkin is also one of six netminders being considered for Russia's 2010 Olympic team.
Omsk 1 @ Magnitogorsk 2 (SO)
Karri Ramo, Omsk, Loss, 24/25, 0.92 GAA, .960 sv%
Season totals: 20 GP, 11-8, 2 SO, 1.79 GAA, .918 sv%
Ramo's only blemish in three shootout attempts faced was a goal by former Blackhawk Igor Radulov, but it was enough to send Omsk to defeat.
Yulaev 4 @ Ekaterinburg 3 (OT)
Denis Kazionov, Ekaterinburg, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 22 GP, 2-3-5, -7, 8 PIM
Kazionov played 9:56 in the match. Alexander Radulov, the former Predator and little brother of Igor, had the overtime winner for Yulaev.
Togliatti 3 @ Dynamo Riga 2
Vasily Koshechkin, Togliatti, Win, 25/27, 2.00 GAA, .926 sv%
Season totals: 23 GP, 9-12, 2 SO, 2.12 GAA, .921 sv%
Togliatti currently sits at 7th place in the Eastern Conference.
Kazan 2 @ Dynamo Moscow 1 (OT)
Dimitry Kazionov, Kazan, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 24 GP, 6-1-7, -3, 10 PIM
Johan Harju, Dynamo Moscow, 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 24 GP, 2-4-6, -5, 14 PIM
Kazionov played 12:21 in the match for Kazan. Harju played 17:03 for Dynamo but was an uncharacteristic 39% in the faceoff circles. KHL superstar Alexei Morozov scored the winner for Kazan, which was his 15th goal of the season.
Astana 5 @ Ekaterinburg 4 (OT)
Denis Kazionov, Ekaterinburg, 0-0-0, -2, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Season totals: 21 GP, 2-3-5, -7, 8 PIM
Former NHLer Josef Stumpel scored the winner for Astana. Denis Kazionov played 9:33 in the match.
Omsk 6 @ Chelyabinsk 1
Karri Ramo, Omsk, Win, 23/24, 1.00 GAA, .958 sv%
Season totals: 19 GP, 11-7, 2 SO, 1.84 GAA, .915 sv%
Ramo returned to the lineup and got a goal and two assists from former Lightning Eric Perrin in support of his cause.
Togliatti 2 @ Dynamo Moscow 1 (SO)
Vasily Koshechkin, Togliatti, Win, 31/32, 0.92 GAA, .969 sv%
Season totals: 22 GP, 8-12, 2 SO, 2.12 GAA, .920 sv%
Johan Harju, Dynamo Moscow, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 23 GP, 2-4-6, -5, 12 PIM
Koshechkin stopped both shooters he faced to get the "W" in the shootout session.
Kazan 4 @ Dynamo Minsk 1
Dimitry Kazionov, Kazan, 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 23 GP, 6-1-7, -3, 10 PIM
The elder Kazionov played 13:12 in the match. Former Lightning first rounder Nikita Alexeev had a goal in the match for Kazan.
Omsk 4 @ Ekaterinburg 5 (OT)
Denis Kazionov, Ekaterinburg, 1-0-1, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 20 GP, 2-3-5, -5, 8 PIM
Karri Ramo, Omsk, DNP
Season totals: 18 GP, 10-7, 2 SO, 1.89 GAA, .912 sv%
Kazionov potted his second goal of the season to open the game's scoring and played 11:46 in the match. Karri Ramo remains out, presumably due to injury.
Togliatti 3 @ Dynamo Minsk 4 (SO)
Vasily Koshechkin, Togliatti, Loss, 17/20, 2.77 GAA, .850 sv%
Season totals: 21 GP, 7-12, 2 SO, 2.19 GAA, .917 sv%
Koshechkin allowed both shooters he faced in the penalty shot session to score to take the shootout loss in his first game back from the Karjala Cup.
Kazan 1 @ Dynamo Riga 3
Dimitry Kazionov, Kazan, 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 22 GP, 6-1-7, -4, 10 PIM
Former NHLer Marcel Hossa had a pair of goals to help lead Riga over Kazan. Kazionov played 14:56 in the match for Kazan.
Nizhnekamsk 1 @ Dynamo Moscow 3
Johan Harju, Dynamo Moscow, 0-1-1, +1, 2 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 22 GP, 2-4-6, -5, 12 PIM
Harju helped wash the bitter taste of a bad Karjala Cup tournament out of his mouth with a helper on Linus Omark's 9th goal of the KHL season in the second period of a 3-1 win. The big center/winger played 16:06 in the match and was 67% on draws.
Czech Republic 3 @ Russia 4
Vasily Koshechkin, Russia, Win, 31/34, 2.90 GAA, .912 sv%
Koshechkin didn't hurt his Olympics stock in this leg of the Euro Tour going 2-0 in both of his starts in this tournament. He finished the Karjala Cup with a 2.83 GAA and .921 sv%.
Finland 7 @ Sweden 0
Johan Harju, Sweden, 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM, 0 SOG
That's an embarassing finish for Team Sweden against their neighbors and rivals, the Finns. Sweden finished second to last at 1-2-0 in the Karjala Cup, and Harju was scoreless in three games, which definitely does hurt his Olympics stock.