- © RIA Novosti. Grigory Sokolov
© RIA Novosti. Grigory Sokolov
MOSCOW, February 20 (R-Sport) – Lokomotiv Yaroslavl enters the KHL playoffs hampered by the absence of top scorer Sergei Plotnikov, who has been suspended for fighting.
Lokomotiv made the playoffs at the first attempt since reforming after an air crash wiped out the entire roster in September 2011.
Tom Rowe's team starts its Western Conference quarterfinal series against Severstal Cherepovets on home ice on Wednesday, but must cope without Plotnikov, a key player who racked up 30 points in the regular season.
The 22-year-old has been hit with a one-game suspension after coming to blows with Jori Lehtera in Sunday's 4-2 home defeat to Sibir Novosibirsk.
It is the second such incident for both players this season, which triggers an automatic ban.
Lehtera, who is just as important for Sibir with 48 points over the regular season, will miss Thursday's series opener against last year's runner-up Avangard Omsk.
Meanwhile, the same misconduct has led to the suspension of defenseman Mikhail Grigoriev, who won't be able to help Barys Astana in its clash with Traktor Chelyabinsk.