NHL Lockout: 5 KHL Teams NHL Fans Need to Follow
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With no end to the NHL lockout in sight, sports fans who need some exciting hockey to watch during the holiday season will have to turn their attention to the KHL.
There are many NHL superstars making highlight-reel plays on a nightly basis overseas, and unfortunately for hockey fans, the KHL might be the best place to watch professional hockey over the next few months.
Let's look at five KHL teams that every NHL fan must follow during the work stoppage.
Washington Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin is Russia's biggest NHL star and currently the face of the Dynamo Moscow franchise.
Ovechkin has just six goals and eight assists for 14 points this season, but his amazing offensive talents help make the Dynamo Moscow a must-watch KHL team.
The team's offense is also bolstered by the playmaking ability of Ovechkin's Capitals teammate Nicklas Backstrom, who recently joined the team and has one goal and one assist through three games.
Dynamo Moscow is one of the top teams in the KHL, and after finishing ninth during the 2010-11 season, the club won the league championship last year. It is currently leading the league's Western Conference with 45 points.
This is one team that every hockey fan should follow for the duration of the lockout.
Evgeni Malkin is one of the most talented NHL stars playing in the KHL during the lockout and his team is Metallurg Magnitogorsk, which is third in the Eastern Conference standings.
Other notable NHLers on the Magnitogorsk roster include Sergei Gonchar of the Ottawa Senators and Nikolai Kulemin of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Former New York Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello is also on the team.
Malkin has been spectacular in the early part of the season and ranks third in the league in points (24) and assists (17).
Anyone who likes to watch the Pittsburgh Penguins will also enjoy Metallurg Magnitogorsk. The team scores a lot of goals and is one of the best clubs in the KHL.
If the 2012-13 season is lost because of the lockout, Magnitogorsk would likely become the favorite to win the KHL championship.
Sitting in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, CSKA Moscow boasts an impressive roster that includes several of the best offensive players in the KHL.
Former Nashville Predators forward Alexander Radulov is currently leading the league in scoring with 28 points (he also ranks first in assists with 18). Radulov is not the only notable NHLer who fans will recognize on the team's roster.
CSKA's roster also includes Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings, Mikhail Grabovski of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ilya Bryzgalov of the Philadelphia Flyers.
Even though CSKA has a lot of offensive depth, goaltending is the strength of the team. Stana Rastislav leads the KHL in save percentage and GAA and is ranked second in shutouts with three.
If you want to watch a high-scoring team that has many skilled playmakers who excel in a fast-paced style of play, pay attention to CSKA Moscow.
Dinamo Minsk is currently in ninth place in the KHL's Western Conference and has a roster full of NHL stars.
Some notable NHLers on Minsk's roster include Winnipeg Jets forwards Evander Kane and Tim Stapleton, San Jose Sharks forward Joe Pavelski and Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne. This is one of the most impressive groups of NHL players in the KHL right now.
If you want to watch an exciting team with lots of goal scorers, follow Dinamo Minsk throughout the lockout.
The team has struggled to win games consistently this year, but Minsk does play an entertaining style of hockey that fans enjoy.
SKA Saint Petersburg
If you want to watch a high-scoring team that produces highlight-reel goals almost every game, then make sure you check out a few SKA Saint Petersburg games during the lockout. It is one of the most talented and deepest teams in the league.
With a roster that includes talented goal scorers such as Ilya Kovalchuk of the New Jersey Devils and top prospect Vladimir Tarasenko of the St. Louis Blues, it's no surprise that Saint Petersburg has the most wins (14) of anyone team in the KHL.
Kovalchuk already has nine goals and 14 assists for 23 points, while Tarasenko is also playing well with eight goals and seven assists for 15 points.
SKA leads the KHL in goals scored, and with Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky also on the roster, Saint Petersburg will be a top contender to win the league championship this season if the lockout continues into the new year.
Nicholas Goss is an NHL Lead Writer at Bleacher Report. He was also the organization's on-site reporter for the 2011 Stanley Cup Final in Boston. Follow him on Twitter.
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