Alexei Kovalev Head Coaches KHL Red Star In First Game

alexei kovalev

The Kunlun Red Star of the KHL currently have Alexei Kovalev behind the bench as a head coach because Curt Fraser can't join the team due to Covid-19 protocol. The former NHLer has taken over the head coaching duties after two years as an assistant with the Beijing-based franchise.
It’s been a tough summer for Kunlun. China’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak forced the team to relocate from Beijing to the outskirts of Moscow, while cross-border bureaucracy has made it impossible for the club to bring back its North American-based players and coaching staff. The players, for now, are waiting for the paperwork to enable to the join the team.

Kovalev’s first challenge as the Red Star head coach; assemble a roster. The current plan has been to summon up Russian players without contracts and offer them a try-out with Red Star. Those who survive the cull at camp will then get the chance to prove their worth when the imports finally become available.

That plan went into effect today as the Red Star had their first pre-season game against Vityaz.

Vityaz iced a strong line-up and got its rewards when summer signing Justin Danforth opened the scoring. Alexander Semin doubled the lead midway through the third and the game seemed all but over. 

However, the hastily-cobbled Kunlun Red Star hit back. 

Ivan Nikolishin pulled a goal back and former Traktor and SKA forward Alexei Kruchinin tied the game. When Andrei Maximov, veteran of just two KHL games in three seasons scored in the last minute, it looked like Red Star might have stolen an improbable win.

That wasn’t the case; Vityaz hit back late to tie the game and won it in a shoot-out.

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