The NHL is currently gearing up for the 2020 All-Star Game (featuring Capitals Head Coach Todd Reirden, defenseman John Carlson, goaltender Braden Holtby, and right wing T.J. Oshie), which is set to take place this weekend (January 25-26) in St. Louis, Missouri. On January 18 and 19, the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) held their All-Star festivities, which like the NHL, devotes the first day to a players’ skills competitions and the second day to the actual All-Star contest. Among the many participants were former Washington Capitals Alexander Semin and Dmitrij Jaskin.
This season’s All-Star festivities, sponsored by Fonbet, were held in Moscow at the VTB Arena. The KHL Skills Competition, similar to its North American counterpart, includes a fastest skater competition, a penalty shot competition, and a hardest shot competition. The final event of the KHL Skills Competition was a biathlon, which does not have an equivalent in the NHL skills competition.
Jaskin, who was a member of the Capitals during the 18-19 season, represented Moscow Dynamo in the KHL All-Star game. Jaskin took part in the Fastest Skater competition, but spun around, after falling into a crack on the ice. However, he was able to score a goal in the Penalty Shot challenge.
Semin, a first-round pick of the Capitals in 2002, who played seven seasons with the Caps, was taking part in his first All-Star Game at the age of 35, representing HC Vityaz. Semin participated in the Skills competition’s penalty shot event. In this event, he received help from his four and a half year old son, also named Alexander.
Semin explained the story behind having his son help him in the competition:
“Before the game, the idea came to me spontaneously and he [goaltender Julius Hudacek] liked the idea, so we did it. I haven’t been to an event like this since 2006. Thanks for the invitation!”
Sputnik Almetievsk’s Yegor Morozov dressed up as Santa Claus, fitting attire given that his last name Morozov translates to “frost” and that the Russian equivalent of Santa Claus is “Father Frost” or “Ded Moroz”, who brings presents to good children for Christmas. Additionally, a Russian fairy tale called “Morozko” (i.e. “Father Frost”) also known as “The Story of King Frost”, was compiled in a collection by Alexander Afanasyev.
Canadian-born Kazakhstani defenseman Darren Dietz, a former Capitals farmhand with the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears, dressed up as Russian poet Alexander Pushkin for the event.
The Kharlamov Division was the winning Division overall among the four divisions in the KHL Skills Competition. Semin was part of the Tarasov Division All Stars, while Jaskin, was a member of the Bobrov Division. The competition also featured this unforgettable moment.
By Diane Doyle