Monday, December 27, 2010
The hockey club Khimik Voskresensk was formed in Voskresensk 55 miles southeast of Moscow in the Soviet Union and played their first game on this date in 1953, with "Khimik" meaning "Chemists" in deference to the local chemical plant which sponsored the club.
It took the club just three years to rise to the top level of Soviet ice hockey. They won bronze medals in the Soviet League playoffs in 1965 and 1970. Starting in the mid-1980's the club entered the period of it's greatest success with a third bronze medal in 1984 prior to achieving their best ever result of a silver in 1989, which they immediately followed with another bronze in 1990.
Also in 1990, Khimik Voskresensk was chosen as one of four clubs to compete in the Super Series, a schedule of exhibition games against NHL teams played in North America, a fine reward for their recent run of good play. Khimik fared fairly well, beating Los Angeles 6-3, lost to Edmonton and Calgary 6-2 and 6-3, rebounded to down Detroit 4-2 but then lost to Washington 5-2. They concluded their trip with a 6-3 win over St. Louis to finish with a 3-3 record.
They returned in 1991 with very similar results, losing to Los Angeles 5-1 and St. Louis 4-2 before a tie with the New York Islanders 2-2. They then strung together three consecutive wins over Montreal 6-3, Buffalo 5-4 and Boston 5-2 before a loss to Minnesota 6-4 once more left them with a .500 record at 3-3-1.
Changes in the way the club was run on the business side began to occur in the late 1990's due to the collapse of the Soviet Union, which led to the club losing it's sponsorship when the chemical plant found a new owner, as well as the departure of it's better players to not only the NHL, but the leagues in Germany, Finland and Sweden. Eventually the club first altered it's name from Khimik Voskresensk to Khimik Moscow Oblast, with "Oblast" being the equivalent to a province, in an effort to represent the entire region around Moscow, which was quite an ambitious claim seeing how the Moscow Oblast was already home to Central Red Army, Dynamo, Spartak, Wings and Lokomotiv at the time.
In 2005 the club relocated to Mytishchi, 60 miles northwest of Voskresensk and changed their name to Atlant Moscow Oblast in 2008 in time for the formation of the Kontinental Hockey League, bringing to an end the club's use of the Khimik name for good after 46 seasons of play.
Following the team's relocation away from Voskresensk, a new expansion team called HC Khimik Voskresensk was formed, but has no connection to the original club and it's history.
During their history, Khimik produced many recognizable names, particularly in more recent times as they players came over to North America to compete in the NHL. Dimitri Kvartalnov won the Soviet League scoring title while playing for Khimik in 1990 prior to playing for the Boston Bruins.
Dimitri Kvartalnov, incorrectly identified as his brother Andrei
Germain Titov played 624 NHL games primarily with the Calgary Flames, Slava Kozlov played 1,182 games in the NHL and won two Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings, Sergei Berezin logged more than 500 games, first with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Andrei Lomakin was one of the early Soviet players to make the move to North America, while Valeri Zelepukin and Sergei Brylin both won the Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils in 1995.
Current Montreal Canadien Andrei Markov began his professional career with Khimik, as did Stanley Cup winner Valeri Kamensky, but the best known player to have come out of the Khimik must be Igor Larionov, who led Khimik in scoring in 1981 and eventually went on to win two gold medals in the Olympics, four in the World Championships, one in the Canada Cup and three Stanley Cups with the Red Wings.
Today's featured jersey is a 1989-90 Khimik Voskresenek Dimitry Kvartalnov jersey as worn by Kvartalnov when he was the leading scorer in the Soviet League. It's typical of the Soviet jerseys of the era in that it is a relatively light weight mesh and all the graphic elements are either dye sublimated or screened on. Of note are the wild numbers on the back. This jersey also has Dimitri's first initial "D" on the back in cyrillic, as his brother Andrei was also a member of the team.
Dasherboard: In the 2011 World Juniors, Switzerland roared out to a 4-0 lead by the end of the first period only to have the determined Germans get back to within one with 4:41 to play, but Switzerland held on to take the three points in Group A.
Also in Group A, the United States got the win in overtime on a goal by Nick Bjugstad. The win in overtime was worth two points, with Finland earning one.
In Group B, Canada scored three third period goals to pull away from Russia, who played Canada even through the first two periods before falling 6-3. In the other group game, Sweden trounced Norway 7-1.