Player of the Month
The European Hockey.Net European Player of the Month is awarded to the player with the most oustanding performance over the course of the month
Nominations are collected at the end of each month, then a vote by the site's admin team decides the winner.
November 2005 - Vasily Koshechkin
November's European Hockey.Net Player of the Month award is heading to a 22-year old goaltender from Russia.
Lada Togliatti goaltender Vasily Koshechkin led the Russian Hockey League in save % and goals against average at the end of November. He enjoyed a great month in which he only allowed five goals in seven games along with no less than four shutouts.
Russia has had a great history of producing great goalies. One should only think of legendary Vladislav Tretiak to get a sparkling example. But also more recently the NHL has learnt of the skills of goaltenders like Nikolai Khaibulin.
Nevertheless since the 2001-02 season, just three Russian goalies managed to make it to the NHL (Khabibulin, Evgeny Konstantinov and Ilya Bryzgalov). A sign of things to come? Many Russian goaltenders opt to stay in Russia and the teams in the highest league even acquire North-American netminders.
Vasily Kosehchkin had not dreamt much about the NHL, except for that day in 2002 when he heard his name announced during the NHL Entry Draft. The Tampa Bay Lightning saw the raw skills of the young goalie and drafted him with the 233rd overall pick.
Having been stuck in the Lada system for most of his career, it looked as if the Tampa Bay Lightning gambled and lost. In the past two seasons, Koshechkin was handed a mere 12 games. However this year things are different.
Lada Togliatti coach Petr Vorobiev has given Koshechkin a chance to showcase his skills. The nearly two metres tall goaltender did not disappoint him. He benefits from the system that has been tuned to perfection by Vorobiev.
All of the teams coached by Vorobiev can rely on a solid structure, with the emphasis on defense. This is best reflected by the goalie stats. Regardless whether you look at Maksim Mikhailovsky (1.07 GAA and 95,4% save percentage) three seasons ago, Jean-Francois Labbe (1.40 GAA) two seasons ago or Finnish Jussi Markkanen (1.20 GAA) last season, the goaltending figures always speak volumes.
Despite Lada Togliatti being amongst the bottom of the league when it comes to goals scored, it has been in the top 5 of the league for most of the season and will be tough to crack come playoff time. Solid goaltending will be the key for them. Vasily Koshechkin has stepped out of the dark this season and has presented himself to the world. The question is whether he can keep it up for a whole season. If so, the Tampa Bay Lightning will consider inviting him over for training camp next season. With the low number of Russians between the pipes in the NHL in recent years and age on his side, Koshechkin will be more than pleased if he can fill the hole.
- March 2007 - Petr Sykora
- February 2007 - Bernd Brückler
- January 2007 - Martin Prochazka
- December 2006 - Martin Kariya
- November 2006 - Pavel Brendl
- October 2006 - Kimmo Rintanen
- September 2006 - Aleksei Morozov
- May 2006 - Kenny Jönsson
- April 2006 - Aleksei Morozov
- March 2006 - Reto von Arx
- February 2006 - Nicklas Lidström
- January 2006 - Patrick Yetman
- December 2005 - Miroslav Hala
- November 2005 - Vasily Koshechkin
- October 2005 - Tony Salmelainen
- September 2005 - Sergei Zinoviev
- May 2005 - Jaromir Jagr
- April 2005 - Henrik Lundqvist
- March 2005 - Henrik Lundqvist
- February 2005 - Marian Gaborik
- January 2005 - Jaromir Jagr
- December 2004 - Tim Thomas
- November 2004 - Marian Hossa
- October 2004 - Jukka Voutilainen
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