KHL Quarterfinals Over, the Semifinals Not Hard to Forecast

KHL star commentator Oleg Mosalev is back on THW to explain the logic of the KHL finals and Gagarin Cup competition.

Gagarin Cup is the KHL's most cherished trophy
Gagarin Cup – KHL’s most cherished trophy

THW: Hello again, Oleg. So the semifinals have just started and we can analyze the quarterfinals now. And then look into the future and try to foresee how the nearest matches will evolve. Speaking about the quarterfinals, the first question would be about Sibir vs Metallurg series: did the latter simply declassify the former? Or can we say that there was struggle as such in the games and in the series?

O.M.: The final result of the series (4:0 for Metallurg) shall not mislead you. The overall victory was not easy for the steelmakers and all the games were won with a minimum advantage. And, to be honest, Sibir deserved one game to be won, which especially refers to the third game, when the guys from Novosibirsk led in scoring (1:0) until the very end of the game but could not keep it at that. Higher class of Metallurg’s starting trio proved to be critical again, as was the fact with the series against Admiral!

THW: As you could foresee Barys could not keep it up on the level with Salavat Yulayev. But what made Salavat stronger than Barys?

O.M.: Salavat is a more experienced cup fighter. Besides, young Vasilevskiy has won the goalkeepers’ battle against more experience Yeremeyev, who had difficulties to play the entire matches of the whole series. I cannot help mentioning the loss of Zhailaouv (hockey fans must be aware of this absurd story) and absence of Dawes and Boyd – who jointly make up the striking force of Barys.

THW: During the regular season SKA seemed to be an incredibly strong team. In the quarterfinals the SKA boys stumbled over Lokomotiv. Again, you managed to foresee it, but why does this result seem logical to you?

O.M.: Lokomotiv has had a stronger desire to win, while SKA in the decisive moments could only show up with a palette of stars, not a team!

THW: And finally, the Lev vs. Donbass pair: was it indeed the political instability in Ukraine that prevented Donbass from going further in Gagarin Cup games? Can’t there be pure sportive reasons in Lev’s victory and the loss of Donbass?

O.M.: Of course, Donbass has experienced certain discomfort caused by political motives, but it was their opponents’ well-balanced game across all the lines, which ensured success of Lev. Effective power play, steady results of both goalies – are the ingredients enabling teams to win trophies! Lev has had all of this in the series against Donbass.

THW: Let us look at the semifinals now. The most interesting point here is whether we will witness seven-games-series. Why yes or why not?

O.M.: I think we will not witness seven-games-series this time. Magnitka (Russian cozy name for Magnitogorsk) will not let their opponents win more than 2 games (my forecast is 4:1 for Magnitka). Speaking of Lokomotiv, if it goes on full steam, the team will manage to win the series in 6 games (4:2).

Metallurg Magnitogorsk enjoys high chances for winning the Gagarin Cup in 2014
Metallurg Magnitogorsk enjoys high chances for winning the Gagarin Cup in 2014

THW: Please agree or disagree with the forecast by TheHockeyWriters: in the pair Lev vs. Lokomotiv the guys from Yaroslavl will prevail, and Metallurg will dominate and win against Salavat Yulayev.

I cannot agree more!!!! And I am looking forward to the Metallurg-Lokomotiv finals!

Lokomotiv Yaroslavl is going full steam in 2014

THW: Please say whether the tickets for the finals can still be bought. And how can foreign hockey fans do it, if they live in countries where the KHL is not represented with its clubs?

Speaking of tickets, it is hard to say for me, but I think that you can order them through the respective team!!!

THW: Thanks a lot for the interview, Oleg Mosalev (МОСАЛЕВ Олег), and wish you personally winning a place on the commentator’s team for the KHL finals!

P.S.: To vote for OIeg on the KHL-TV web page in the mentioned competition for a place in the commentator’s cabin of the KHL finals – go HERE.