Alex Ovechkin and the Dynamic Dynamos – Russian Super League Champions 15 Years Ago


Photo: KHL

15 years ago, the NHL season was cancelled due to a lockout. As a result, numerous NHL players signed contracts to play in the Russian Super League, while other players, who might normally have come over from Russia to play in the NHL, remained in the Russian Super League. 

The Russian Super League (RSL) was the predecessor to the league that is currently known as the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). Most of the member clubs from the RSL were absorbed into the KHL. Unlike the 2012-13 KHL season, where a rule was in place that limited each KHL team to a number of NHL players it could sign for the duration of the lockout, the RSL had no limits on the number of NHL players it could sign for the 2004-2005 season.

Kazan Ak-Bars in Kazakastan spared no expense in building their club that year. They were hoping to bring home a championship as part of their 100th anniversary celebration.  They lured numerous NHL players to their club, including Alexei Morozov, Ilya Kovalchuk, Alexei Kovalev, Vincent Lecavalier, Brad Richards, Dany Heatley, Vyacheslav Kozlov, and Nikolai Khabibulin.  They also acquired Michael Nylander in a late season trade.

The team had a decent regular season, with 34 regulation wins, three Overtime wins, five ties, one Overtime loss, and 17 regulation losses in 60 games.  However, they were upset in the first round of the 2005 playoffs by Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, proving that creating a Russian Superleague team that had the most star NHL players was not necessarily a foregone success.

The best team that year was Dynamo Moscow. While they had signed several NHL players for 2004-05 season, most of the players on the team had played in the Dynamo organization during their formative years in hockey.  They signed Pavel Datsyuk, Andrei Markov, and Maxim Afinogenov. Datsyuk had played with a Dynamo affiliate in his hometown, while Markov and Afinogenov had both played with Dynamo Moscow prior to their NHL careers.

Dynamo also had Alexander Ovechkin, as the lockout prevented him from starting his NHL career right away.  Vladimir Krikunov was Head Coach of Dynamo Moscow and had coached many of the team’s players in the past.

Dynamo had 35 regulation wins, five Overtime wins, seven ties, four overtime losses, and nine regulation losses and earned first place during the regular season. For the playoffs, they beat Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk in the first round, Avangard Omsk in the second round, and Lada Togliatti in the Finals. Lada finished runner-up to them during the regular season.

The Russian Super League playoffs were played as a best-of-5 series. Dynamo clinched their championship on April 8, 2005.

A recent Sports.ru article, showed “Then and Now” pictures for each of the principal members of the team. The article also includes a link to a video where players spoke about their memories of that championship team.  It also includes a picture of Ovechkin holding the Cup of Russia, awarded for the 2005 championship, and a picture of him holding the Stanley Cup.

The top scorer for the team, who led in both goals and assists, was Pavel Rosa. Rosa had played in parts of four seasons for the Los Angeles Kings prior to joining Dynamo, but  never established himself as a full time NHL player.

The next highest scorer was Pavel Datsyuk. Ovechkin was fifth on the team in points and tied for fifth in goals, but had missed several games due to a separated shoulder that he suffered during the IIHF World Junior games.  He only had two less goals than Datysuk and was tied with Afinogenov, which was impressive for a 19-year-old, and a strong indicator that he would likely perform well in the NHL.


Further Reading

Article from sports.ru on 15th Anniversary of Dynamo Moscow 2004-05 Championship
Dynamo Moscow Blog From Sports.ru

By Diane Doyle

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8 апреля 2005 года московское «Динамо» девятый раз в своей истории стало чемпионом страны по хоккею! Сезон 2004/05 стоит особняком в череде российских чемпионатов. Из-за локаута в НХЛ огромное количество звезд мировой величины приехало в Россию. Тем почетнее, что динамовцы в том памятном сезоне вновь взошли на чемпионский трон, продолжив традицию, начатую еще с 1995 года, выигрывать первенство страны каждые пять лет. Вспоминаем ту победу на dynamo.ru #МыДинамо

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About Diane Doyle

Been a Caps fan since November 1975 when attending a game with my then boyfriend and now husband.
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