Frölunda played three games this week, and started off with a 5-0 blowout of Örebro.
Grundström was coming off a good week of play, but the team is starting to tighten up the roster and get to the serious business of playing through the season to prepare for the playoffs. They are shedding some of their younger players. Grundström played the least minutes of any forward in that game, but he did have three shots on goal as they shelled the opposition 40-20. He came away pointless.
After this game, the team made it official and loaned draft-eligible teenager Kristian Vesalainen to a Finnish team where he can play top line minutes. With the acquisition of Sean Bergenheim, the many players who have been suspended back in the lineup, it was only a matter of time, and the question is will Bergenheim continue to shove Grundström down the lineup?
The second game of the week was a tougher challenge against Färjestad, and Grundström made lots of waves and climbed right back up in ice time. He had two goals, including one that bounced in off his chest, making that the second one he’s gotten by knowing how to get and keep in position in the crease. He was also on the ice for another goal, and had an assist at first that was taken away on review. Frölunda won this one in overtime.
In that game, Bergenheim got the gate for a dirty elbow to the head of a Färjestad player. He subsequently got a three game suspension, cementing his place on a team that does this a lot, a questionable amount in fact, but it gives Grundström another shot at earning a permanent spot higher up the lineup.
In Saturday’s game, Grundström played on the second unit and was his usual aggressive offensive self. He had a good amount of minutes for a game that went to a parade of penalties and special teams practice. He had no points in the win, but he looked like he belonged on the line he’s on.
I’m not sure what’s going on with MODO and Lindgren. They played three games this week, and he was fourth unit in the first, not dressed in the second and top unit in the third where he scored a goal!
You can see that goal at the 1:10 mark of the highlight video. It’s a lovely rocket of a shot.
MODO is struggling. They lost the first two games this week and only just held on after the 3-0 lead Lindgren provided to win in a shootout.
Mora IK played two games, got two wins, and Engvall is now a fixture on the top line. He had one assist on the week. He is comfortably in tenth place in the league in scoring, and on a team that spreads its offence out over multiple lines, he might never rise higher, but he is a very effective forward most of the time.
Spartak played three games this week. They lost the first one in a shootout, and Bobylyov did not dress. They lost the second in overtime, and he played eight minutes and had three shots on goal.
On Saturday, they met the Gagarin Cup champions and it went about how you’d expect for this team. They looked like they might do something this season at the start, but they lost this one 5-1. Bobylyov did not play again.
At this point, I really don’t understand why he’s on the roster. It might be no fun to bounce up and down to junior or to VHL teams, but at least you play.
It was the worst of times and the best of times for Lokomotiv this week. They played the absolutely stacked SKA St. Petersburg team and were utterly humiliated 7-1. SKA has so much front end talent, that Pavel Datsyuk is more of an afterthought than anything else.
Oh, and Korshkov had an assist on the only goal for the good guys.
The next game was against close rival Dynamo Moscow and they got a 2-0 win. Korshkov had no points in that one, but he did play very nearly top six minutes. He is just rolling along and is a reliable scorer on a team sitting in fourth place in their conference at the half-way point of the season. Playoffs are almost a sure thing at this point.
Mr. Chebykin is a hard man to pin down. I went to check on him this week, expecting him to be back in junior hockey where they’d tossed him for a game, and they had no games in the schedule. So I looked at the VHL team, and he’s not on their roster list.
So, for fun, I looked at the KHL roster. And there he is! Our boy is all grown up and playing in the bigs!
He played 10 minutes and had one shot on goal in Dynamo Moscow’s shootout win over Vityaz. He did not dress for the game before that against CSKA or the one after against Lokomotiv, however, so I don’t have to be embarrassed about missing him.
Who knows where he’ll be next week. But Dynamo Moscow is likely a playoff bound team, if he sticks, he’ll get a long season and some excellent experience.