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© RIA Novosti. Valeriy Melnikov

Violent Vityaz rock Russian hockey

by at 25/08/2011 12:43

The bad-boys of Russian hockey are back – and the season has not even started yet.

Vityaz Chekhov, the Moscow Region team notorious for on-ice violence, racked up 175 minutes of penalties in the opening match of a so-called “friendly” tournament in Magnitogorsk.

Facing Gagarin Cup winners Salavat Yulayev, Vityaz – the name appropriately means “Warrior” – unveiled new signing Kip Brennan.

The capture from AHL outfit Chicago Wolves is nicknamed the Killing Machine, and he teamed up with Jeremy Jablonski and Jon Mirasti in a trio which has more than 7,000 penalty minutes in their combined careers.

The scoreline, which ended up 11-4 in Salavat’s favor, was rapidly overshadowed by the on-ice violence, which began as early as the third minute, Sovietsky Sport reported.


‘There’s no-one to fight!’

After a first period dominated by brawls, Salavat’s coach Sergei Mikhalev withdrew several of his players for fear of suffering injuries.

None of which much amused Mirasti, who raged at journalists after the match in a foul-mouthed rant.

“F***ing Russian hockey,” he roared. “I’ve never seen such Mummy’s boys. There’s no-one to fight. They set it up, then hide.”

He told journalists that the penalties were not important. “I want to fight in every match, and I’ll do it if the others won’t run away and hide.”


Threat of expulsion

Vityaz has a long history of violence, and has been threatened with expulsion from the Kontinental Hockey League if it does not improve its disciplinary record.

In Jan. 2010 the team’s match with Avangard Omsk was abandoned inside four minutes after a mass brawl, pictured above, meant there were no longer enough players to continue.

Then in Dec. 2010 the same sides managed to complete their game, but only after the entire Vityaz starting line-up was sin-binned in the opening seconds.

Salavat Yulayev coach Mikhailev told reporters that the threat of losing KHL status did not seem to stop Vityaz’s aggressive tactics.

“For sure, the league has a problem with Vityaz at the moment,” he said.

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