Date: December 2, 2016

Entry list for hockey at the 2017 Asian Winter Games

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By National Teams of Ice Hockey

The 2017 Asian Winter Games will have the biggest ice hockey competition every with 20 men’s teams and 5 women’s teams.

The format will look like this for the Men 20 teams in total.  4 teams in top division, 6 teams in division 1 and 10 teams in division 2.  Division 2 will be two groups of 5 each playing a round robin. The two top teams play off for 11th/12th places and the two second placed teams play off for 13th/14th.

For the Women 6 teams in the women’s competition

Note: Oman, India and North Korea not taking part.

MEN

Top Division : 1. Japan, 2. China, 3. Kazakhstan, 4. South Korea

Division 1: 1. Hong Kong, 2. Malaysia, 3. Singapore, 4. Thailand , 5. United Arab Emirates,
6. Chinese Taipei

Division 2: 1.  Mongolia, 2. Macau, 3. Indonesia, 4. Philippines, 5. Bahrain, 6. Qatar,
7. Kyrgyzstan, 8. Turkmenistan, 9 Kuwait, 10 Iran

WOMEN

Top Division: 1. Japan, 2. China, 3 South Korea, 4. Kazakhstan, 5. Thailand, 6. Hong Kong

New York Rangers prospect Shestyorkin continues to shine in KHL

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By Justin Starr – Blue Line Station

New York Rangers goalie prospect Igor Shestyorkin continues to impress as the starting goalie for SKA (Saint Petersburg) in the Kontinental Hockey League. The 20-year-old is one of five goalie prospects in the Rangers system and is priming himself to make the move to New York in a due time.

Pundits have claimed that the Rangers window for a chance at the Stanley Cup is closing with Henrik Lundqvist aging. The same analysts claim life without Henrik Lundqvist in net and in his prime will return the New York Rangers to their dark years. Many of those people don’t know that the Rangers have been building up a strong group of goalie prospects. Igor Shestyorkin leads that group.

Shestyorkin is currently the starting goaltender for SKA (Saint Petersburg) in the Kontinental Hockey League. Shestyorkin earned the starting spot during the off-season this summer and he has not regretted it. Shestyorkin has played in 26 games this season, putting up a remarkable 20-2-1 record with 8 of those wins coming by shutout. Shestyorkin’s 1.51 GAA has him among the top three in the KHL

Of Shestyorkin’s shutouts, four of them came in consecutive games. Shestyorkin was minutes shy of breaking the KHL all-time shutout streak. The Rangers 4th round pick of the 2014 draft is having a career year and SKA (Saint Petersburg) made sure that he wasn’t going to be the one that got away.  Shestyorkin inked a three-year contract extension which will keep him in Russia until the 2018-2019 season.

Along with his 94.2 SV %, the 20-year-old Russian goaltender has also added two assists to his stat line this season. SKA (Saint Petersburg)’s next game is on Thursday, December 1st against HC Kunlun Red Star where Shestyorkin will look to improve on his already stellar season.

Regardless of whether Shestyorkin continues to improve on his incredible season, he is still only twenty-years-old and is still growing and maturing. He is playing among men in the KHL and the top KHL goalie in the month of October is more than holding his own.

There should be no worries for the Rangers organization in net, as New York may have found the heir to Henrik Lundqvist’s throne. Shestyorkin’s numbers in the KHL are unprecedented, and he still has plenty of time to improve.

Should Shestyorkin continue to develop positively, the Rangers may have found another gem in the middle-late rounds of the NHL Draft. Only time will tell what happens from here.

Potential KHLers start to snub home league because ‘the NHL is the NHL

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By Michael Traikos National Post

As far as reputations go, there is no debate.

Pavel Datsyuk is one of the best. A three-time Selke Trophy winner as the league’s top defensive forward, he also won two Stanley Cups and four Lady Byng Memorial Trophies and was a finalist for league MVP. Whenever he decides to hang up his skates, his place in the Hall of Fame is almost assured.

So when Datsyuk left the Detroit Red Wings to return to Russia last summer, the NHL lost one of its most respected players. But it was hardly a sign that the league was losing ground to the KHL.

If anything, Datsyuk’s departure was another example of the growing chasm between the leagues.

The KHL was not getting Datsyuk in his prime, but rather a 38-year-old who scored 16 goals and 49 points last season and was coming home for family reasons. On the flip side, two of the KHL’s top free agents — Alexander Radulov and Nikita Zaitsev — followed in the footsteps of 2016 Calder Trophy winner Artemi Panarin and were making the trip to North America.

For the NHL, it was more than a fair trade.

Radulov, who signed with the Montreal Canadiens, is in the top-30 in league scoring with 18 points in 20 games. And Zaitsev, who signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs, is tied for third among rookie defencemen in ice time and is fourth in scoring with eight points in 21 games.

“It’s a really good league, but it’s the second league in the world,” Zaitsev said of the KHL. “The NHL is the NHL. It’s a really different league. I’ve got a dream to play here — that’s why I’m here.”

Zaitsev’s situation is not exactly unique. While the KHL was initially perceived as a talent-poaching threat to the NHL when it opened operations — according to QuantHockey.com, the number of Russians in the NHL dropped from an all-time high of 73 in 2000-01 to just 29 in 2012-13 — the cases of players leaving are becoming few and far between.

If anything, the reverse is happening. KHL teams are folding. Sponsorships are drying up. And because of a ruble that is now worth .65 cents on the U.S. dollar, players are no longer making the kind of money that they once were.

There is still the threat of players going back to the KHL. But often it involves bubble players, like Valeri Nichushkin, who retreated back to Russia after scoring 29 points in 79 games last season. If you are able to play in the NHL, chances are that you are in the league already — or will be once your contract ends.

Forty-one Russians were in the NHL last season, not including New York Rangers rookie Pavel Buchnevich, who has four goals and eight points in 10 games. And more appear to be on their way after the instant success of Panarin, Radulov and Zaitsev.

“Panarin’s success obviously helps,” said player agent Tom Lynn, who represents Panarin. “It helps lead the way, and everyone kind of rushes over to ride the wave of success. There clearly is a large uptick for guys in the 15-18 year range coming over. I’m getting two of these requests five years ago. Now, I’m getting one a month.”

According to the Canadian Hockey League, there were only 11 Russians selected in the 2011 import draft. That number grew to 22 players last year. At the same time, there were 17 Russians selected in each of the last two NHL Entry Drafts — an increase from the eight who were selected in 2013. But it’s the older players who have made the biggest impact.

For years, the NHL has mined the NCAA for affordable free agents who for one reason or another fell through the cracks and went undrafted. Brian Burke used to say it was like finding a wallet and discovering there was money inside. But in the last couple of years, Russia holds even more of a windfall.

“The established players know the league they’re playing in is crap, so they are going to the best league in the world. And the NHL needs cheaper players,” said a player agent who requested his name was not used. “Radulov might not be a cheap player (his $5.75-million cap hit is second among Montreal forwards), but for what he delivers every night, he is a cheap player. Zaitsev and Panarin are entry-level players.

“More and more teams are sending scouts out to Russia to watch the KHL. There are many more out there that can play in the NHL and do well. They’re coming.”

Indeed, the Leafs have signed two free agents out of Russia in the last two years and selected five Russians, including Yegor Korshkov (31st overall), in the last two drafts. Still, general manager Lou Lamoriello did not agree that the KHL is becoming a feeder league for the NHL.

“The danger out there is thinking that maybe this is a trend, but you’ve got to be careful. There isn’t a mass exodus from Russia,” said Lamoriello. “We’re getting two or three players this year, but it’s not something that we’re going to see every year.

“Not every player works out.”

Maybe not. But from Panarin and Radulov to Zaitsev and Buchnevich, the KHL is losing more top-end players than they are gaining. And the NHL is better for it.

Dylan Strome embracing leadership role with Team Canada

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By Mike Zeisberger – Toronto Sun

As the face of the Canada’s world junior team, Dylan Strome still flashes the odd grimace when he thinks about the twist his career has taken. And understandably so.

For the first seven weeks of the NHL season, the rookie forward would walk into the Arizona Coyotes dressing room on gameday and look at the lineup board on the wall, searching to see if his number would be part of the team’s four lines or was listed among the healthy scratches.

All that changed a week ago when word came down from management: You are being returned to the Ontario Hockey League’s Erie Otters.

“I’m not going to lie — it sucked,” Strome said from Erie on Wednesday, discussing his candid feelings about being sent back to junior.

It’s easy to relate to the kid’s disappointment, his frustration, his concerns. At the same time, he’s using these emotions as positive motivation, fanning his determination to overcome the immediate challenges that lie ahead.

Moreover, he must concentrate on his own game — and not of those from his draft class who are up in the pros right now.

On Tuesday night, for example, each of the top five players taken in the 2015 NHL draft had a positive impact for their respective teams.

First overall pick Connor McDavid registered two points for the host Edmonton Oilers in a 4-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

No. 2 selection Jack Eichel returned from a high ankle sprain and registered a successful regular season debut, accruing a goal and an assist to help his Buffalo Sabres defeat the Ottawa Senators 5-4.

Back in Edmonton, fourth selection Mitch Marner chipped in with an assist in the Leafs victory, pulling him into a temporary tie with Winnipeg Jets phenom Patrik Laine atop the NHL rookie scoring race with 19 points,

And in New York, Carolina Hurricanes defenceman Noah Hanifin, the fifth overall pick, finished a respectable plus-1 in a 3-2 loss to the Rangers.

Of course, none of those members of the Class of 2015 had a more lucrative night than Strome. Just hours after Hockey Canada announced he was a no-brain inclusion on the Team Canada roster, Strome shredded Mississauga for a goal and four assists in a lopsided 9-2 Erie victory, upping the gifted centre’s point total to 10 in just three games since rejoining the Otters.

The key difference here: McDavid, Eichel, Marner and Hanifin all are still in the NHL. Strome isn’t.

But this isn’t a story of a bitter young player who feels he was hard done by. Far from it.

Indeed, Dylan Strome is more focused than ever to succeed, beginning with the upcoming world junior championship.

“I’m a different person from the guy who was here a year ago,” he said. “Being at the NHL level, I learned life lessons. I learned about being a team player. I learned that you get treated the same, whether you make $800,000 or $5 million. And I know I have to work on getting to pucks quicker and getting stronger.”

In his short time back in Erie, the Otters braintrust already can see the change in Strome. According to general manager Dave Brown, the coaching staff has observed Strome working out diligently in the weight room after each game.

“I’ve noticed a huge difference in his approach,” Brown said. “We had a sit-down chat Monday at ice level after practice Monday and he told me: ‘If I can’t help significantly right now (in Arizona), I want to do it here.’”

It’s that glass-half-full attitude that has Team Canada officials optimistic about Strome’s ability to educate the younger players on what to expect at the world junior, which takes place in Toronto and Montreal in less than a month.

After posting a poor 1-2-1 record in the preliminary round of the 2016 tournament in Helsinki, Finland, Team Canada faced a brutal quarterfinal match-up against the hosts and ended up dropping a heartbreaking 6-5 decision, stripping Strome and his teammates of the opportunity of playing for any medal, no matter what the colour.

According to Hockey Canada officials, no one took Canada’s early exit more to heart than Strome, who was crushed by the loss to Finland. His raw emotion is one of the reasons he is expected to be a top candidate to be named captain for the 2017 tournament along with Coyotes’ Lawson Crouse, who would be the favourite to wear the ‘C’ in the unlikely event Arizona makes him available to play.

With training camp just two weeks away, Strome, 19, feels Team Canada has some “unfinished business.”

“I want to stress to the young guys how hard this tournament is. I want them to know every game is important — otherwise you might end up with a tougher match-up in the quarters and semis than there needs to be. I want them to understand that the entire country will be watching and, even though there is pressure, it’s a good thing.

“The tournament is in Canada. The fans are going to be wild. Being from the Toronto area, I’ll have the chance to play in front of lots of friends and family. It’s going to be great.

“It’s all there in front of us. But to be successful, we can not take anything for granted.”

In the end, Strome says he is a much more “mature” player than he was during his previous stint in Erie. Those words are music to the ears of Team Canada officials, who will be relying in so many ways on the kid who has totalled 240 points over his past two full OHL seasons.

OH BROTHER, HOCKEY ISN’T EASY

The roller-coaster ride Dylan Strome is on right now is not an unfamiliar one to the young centre.

Given what older brother Ryan has been through the past couple of seasons, Dylan knows all too well how fickle life in pro hockey can be.

The fifth overall pick in the 2011 draft by the New York Islanders, Ryan Strome, 23, had a breakout season in 2014-15, compiling 50 points. But he regressed last season, one that included just 28 NHL points, a stint in the American Hockey League and three games as a healthy scratch during the playoffs.

The 2016-17 campaign has been just as turbulent, with Ryan Strome having been forced to watch his team’s past two games in civvies heading into play Wednesday.

“(Ryan) thinks it sucks, obviously, but he says you have to be a good teammate no matter what,” Dylan Strome said. “That’s what he passed on to me when I was sent down to Erie.

“Here’s a guy who scored tons of points in junior (106 in 2010-11), had a great second year with the Islanders and now is having a hard time. It just goes to show that you can’t take anything for granted.”