MHL: Russian major junior hockey?
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10-27-2011, 01:01 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Originally Posted by
Looking at the MHL this year it is evident that one team Magnitogorsk (Stalnye Lisy--STEEL FOXES) is totally dominant--after 21GP they are first inthe standings with 50 pts--b ut it is how that are beating teams (b y lots) that stands out --they have 115goals for --the 2nd place team (44pts) has only 67 goals for ---3 teams in the league have the 2nd highest goals for (tied at 72)--so you can see how dominant the Steel Foxes are offensively compared to all the other teams in the league...Defensively they have given up 55 goals which is only 13th est of the 32 teams but stil close to the amounts of the 12 teams better than them in this stat --the point is that ON DIFFERENTIAL (GF-GA) they blow the other 31 teams off the charts by lots and win games easily..
So clearly they are an EXCEPTION to the overallcompetitiveness of the league...Why are they a super team ? Is it due to their stacking up on 19 -20 year old "vets" ?
Looking at their top forward scorers we see DANIIL APALKOV leading the league 16g+17a=33 pts and a whopping +26 already after 21 games...He was born Jan1,1992 ...
BOGDAN POTEKIN (JULY 10,1992) has 11g+15a=26 pts in 19GP and is +17;EVGENY SOLOVYEV (Feb 14,1992) has 12g+14a =26pts in 21GP and is +21; EVGENY GRIGORENKO (Aug 11,1992) has 14g+11a=25pts in 21GP and is +24; and KIRILL LEBEDEV (Oct.1,1991) has 12g=12a=24pts in 20GP and is +21....
So the question is are these older players really that special or just "dominating" on against younger competition (on average or median age per the composite of the other 31 teams?
In other words how good is the MHL? MAYBE Magnitogorsk would do well in any of the 3 CHL major Jr. Leagues-BUT how many of the other 31 teams compete as an average to good team in those leagues?
The answer is elusive ...the SUBWAY SERIES "could" anser some of these question---IF the Russkies send over a team loaded up with the dominating older stars of Magnitogorsk competing vs. the 'stacked" all-star squads put together from the QMJHL,OHL,and WHL --THEN we could measure if they themelves are that good as players OR if they do not shine,then we'll know it is just their stacked ages dominating relatively younger MHL squads that accounts for the domination...
HOWEVER-if the Ruskies send only 1 or 2 of the Steel Foxes older stars and instead want to look at a lot of younger MHL players -then IF the younger group holds its own vs. the CHL "select' squads we probaly can say the entire MHL is comptrative to the 3 CHL leagues ;if the younger group gets clobbered,then our first assumption that the Steel Foxes dominate solely due to an older median age for their team is the greater truth.
YET--there is a complicating factor---with a huge 32 team league like the MHL--one probably can put even a younger median age 'all-star" squad together that could be much better than the Steel Foxes and do very well vs. the CHL sqauds in the Subway Series games ... in that case,it is hard to deny that the overall strength of the MHL (the 32 team MHL "A "league) would compare to any or all leagues of the CHL(because the Q,OHL and Dub squads are also "all-star" selects representing their leagues--you assume each leagues club teams individually are not as good as the all star selects BUT that means you cannot say that the average CHL club team is any better than the average MHL club team.
Given all the above it would be very interesting to see a match between Magnitogorsk Steel Foxes and the top teams currently from each of the 3 CHL leagues,OR a match involving Magnitogorsk vs. a "selects" team taken from the other
31 teams in the MHL.
Here is what I would do if I were the Russkies prior to the Subway Series...I would hold a 3 game set involving the MHL Selects (selected from the other 31 MHL teams) vs. the dominant leader team of the MHL --Magnitogorsk Steel Foxes....THEN from those Subway Series Selection Games--take the best of everyone who shined...If it was still predominently players from the Steel Foxes--so be it;if however there was enough talent from the other 31 teams to provide better players -then skew the final roster that way...If it comes out about even betweem Magnitogorsk players shining and the Selects from the other 31 MHL teams shining,then allocate accordingly.
Remenber though IN ADDITION--Russia can include Jrs playing in the KHL plus Russian Juniors playing for CHL teams to compose their squad for the Subway Series...thus we know that not yet drafted russkies like NAIL YAKUPOV and MIKHAIL GRIGORENKO will play for Russia in games against their respective CHL leagues (Yakupov in the games vs. the OHL and Grigorenko in games vs. the Q) ...
What i am sayinis that the Subway Series COULD have been a clear measure of how competitive the MHL on average would be vs. CHL teams on average-BUT given all the muddle because of potential KHL Jrs and CHL russian Jrs added plus the possibility of "OVER-AVERAGING"the MHL by including lots of Magnitogorsk 19 and 20 year old stars -we probaly will not take away a clear picture assessment of the actual average level of play of the MHL to compare to what we think s the average level of play in the 3 CHL leagues.
So how good is the MHL? WE just can't say.
WE could say how god is Magnitogorsk -IF they just sent ONLY that entire team to play in the Subway Series-but they won't so we can't know that either.
All we can say is that Magnitogorsk is head and shoulders above the average or median level of play in the MHL -it is a SUPER TEAM for that one league (at least this year it is). Perhaps all the other 31 MHL teams would be near the bottom of any of the 3 CHL leagues ...but all-star team from those 31 other MHL teams could produce 1 roster squad that might be very competitive or even tops in any of the 3 CHL leagues,but that is theoretical). So the suspicion will remain that most of those 31 other MHL teams would fare poorly in any of the 3 CHL leagues --we just do not have the structure to prove otherwise so the bias that the CHL leagues are the best Jr. leagues depth -wise is going to prevail until proven otherwise.
Maybe the best way to solve the issue is to eliminate the top finisher team in each of the 3 CHL leagues plus theirconter-part for the MHL...
From all the teams remaing --take the 2nd 3rd 4th and 5th best teams in each of the 3 CHL leagues and hold a round robin with these teams plus the 2nd,3rd,4th and 5th best teams from the MHL... Call it round robin POOL "A" ...
Then take the worst,2nd worst,3rd worst and 4th worst finishes of each of the 3 CHL leagues and play then in a round robin pool including the worst,2nd worst,3rd worst,and 4th worst MHL teams...Call it round robin POOL "B"..
TALLY the points for the 8MHL teams vs, pts for the 8 teams for each of the 3 cHL leagues..
NOW we'll get a really good measure of the strength of the MHL level vs. any of the 3 CHL league levels...
Otherwise we are just doing a lot of guessing.
It is impossible to compare the two leagues now because they don't play each other. The MHL is a brand new league, so it is likely that it falls below the competitive balance of the CHL at this point. At the same time, the fact that Russia won the Subway Series last year for the first time with predominantly MHL players would suggest that the MHL plays at a high level for a new league. Most Russian fans believe that the MHL was a piece of the puzzle that was sorely missing in terms of making big improvements in the quality of Russian junior hockey. Prior to the KHL, Russian juniors had little or no competitive experience unless they were able to make a KHL or RSL roster and gain significant playing time. In a few years, a KHL-CHL World Junior team championship could be a very competitive and interesting matchup.
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