Author: NationalTeamsOfIceHockey (page 2 of 66)

Canadian teens cut from the NHL shift focus to starring at world juniors

By Michael Traikos – National Post

One dream has been put on hold. Another is about to begin.

A day after the Florida Panthers returned Owen Tippett to the Ontario Hockey League, the 10th overall pick in this year’s draft was back practising with the Mississauga Steelheads on Tuesday.

If he was bitter or disappointed, he didn’t show it. Instead, Tippett was already looking ahead to the next challenge: winning a spot on Canada’s roster for the world junior championship.

“I’ve dreamed about playing for Team Canada at the world juniors ever since I was a little kid, so to play in that tournament would be a really special feeling,” said the 18-year-old forward. “I obviously can take a lot back from what I learned there and implement it here.”

Tippett, who unexpectedly made Florida’s roster out of training camp, scored a goal and had 17 shots — only once did he fail to register a shot — in seven NHL games for the Panthers.

“What I like about him is he wants the puck and he wants it in critical situations,” GM Dale Tallon told Postmedia News in September. “I think his game is well suited to the pros.”

At times, Tippett looked like he might stick. He had seven shots in his NHL debut. On his goal, he showcased his speed when he grabbed a turnover and sprinted up the ice before converting on a give-and-go against John Gibson of the Anaheim Ducks. But he was in and out of Florida’s lineup; he averaged 11 minutes of ice time and watched nearly half the games from the press box.

At 18, Tippett needs to play so he can develop. That’s why he was sent back to junior on the same day the Edmonton Oilers returned 22nd-overall pick Kailer Yamamoto (no goals and three assists in nine games) to the Spokane Chiefs of the Western Hockey League.

“I’ve realized now it’s not as big of a jump as some people might say,” said Tippett. “Anyone who’s my age who gets to start out with an NHL club at the start of the year (has) a great experience. I obviously can take a lot back from what I learned there and implement it here.”

The hope now is that both players will represent their respective countries — Yamamoto is American — at the world junior championship, which begins in Buffalo over the Christmas holidays next month. For Canada, getting a player with NHL experience, even if it’s only seven games, is a benefit.

“I think they came back with tremendous confidence. That’s first and foremost,” Hockey Canada head scout Brad McEwen said in a phone interview from Swift Current, Sask., where he was watching the first leg of the Canada-Russia series.

“We’re always looking for offence and ways to produce offence. And (Tippett) can do that. We expect him to be part of the offence and certainly in the mix. But he has to prove it right away.”

While it appears no draft-eligible player will find his way onto Canada’s roster, McEwen is “crossing his fingers” that several players currently on NHL rosters will be made available. Some, such as Columbus forward Pierre-Luc Dubois and Montreal defenceman Victor Mete, are long shots. Others, like Colorado’s Tyson Jost and Samuel Girard, could be last-minute additions.

The biggest name out there is No. 2 overall pick Nolan Patrick, who has played nine games with Philadelphia, but has been out of the Philadelphia’s lineup since Oct. 24 with a head injury. Once healthy, the Flyers have to decide whether to keep Patrick past the 10-game threshold or return him to the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings.

Another question mark concerns Michael McLeod (12th overall, 2016). The Devils prospect tore his meniscus during a pre-season game and has been recovering from knee surgery ever since. It’s doubtful New Jersey will keep him around once he’s healthy.

“The information that we get is that his rehab is going real well and it’s getting close to the point where he’s going to get cleared,” McEwan said of McLeod, who had two goals and one assist in seven games for Canada at last year’s world juniors. “We’ll communicate with the Devils and see what’s in the plans. He would be a nice addition, having played last year and being a veteran guy.”

The Matt Duchene trade could affect whether Canada ends up with a couple of key players.

At one time, it looked like Jost (10th overall, 2016) might become available, since he was in and out of Colorado’s lineup and averaging only 13 minutes a game. But with Duchene gone from the Avalanche, Jost could see an increase in ice time moving forward. Another difficult assessment concerns Girard (47th overall, 2016), who looked like he would be loaned for the world juniors after getting demoted to Nashville’s AHL affiliate. But that was before he was traded to Colorado.

“Now that Samuel’s been traded, I don’t know what the plan is there, and that’s fine,” said McEwen, who is also keeping an eye on Mete’s declining minutes with the Canadiens. “He played a ton of minutes early and now it’s come down. For me, that’s not an indicator of whether we’re going to get him back or not. We’re just waiting and seeing where it all plays out.

“We prepare the names that we have now, and if those guys come back, it will be a bonus.”

HART FAVOURED TO START IN GOAL

Canada’s selection camp for the 2018 world junior championship is still a month away, but it appears Carter Hart has the inside track on the No. 1 goaltending position.

The 19-year-old, who is one of six potential returning players who won silver at last year’s tournament, posted a shutout in a 7-0 win Monday in the Canada-Russia super series in Moose Jaw, Sask. It was a good first step for the Philadelphia Flyers prospect, who had played sparingly this season because he had been sick with mono.

“I thought Carter Hart was really good,” said Hockey Canada head scout Brad McEwen. “Even though it was 7-0, he was great, which was great to see.”

Hart, who was selected 48th overall in the 2016 draft after being named CHL goalie of the year, is expected to battle Vancouver Canucks prospect Michael DiPietro for the starting job.

DREAMING OF THE OLYMPICS

By Dhiren Mahiban – IIHF.com

On 25th October Wolski received a call from Hockey Canada to be a part of Team Canada at the Karjala Tournament – an opportunity for the 31-year-old to showcase his game with the hopes of making the Canadian roster for PyeongChang.

“I thought if I do come back, this is one of the things that’s going to be a goal of mine to try to make Team Canada and play in the Olympics so at this point to be named to the team for this upcoming tournament it’s just another opportunity to try and solidify a spot so I’m really excited about it,” said Wolski. “It’s definitely something I’ve been thinking about and something that’s been keeping me motivated.”

Wolski, who was born in Poland but moved to Toronto at the age of four, has never played in an IIHF-sanctioned event before.

“For many years it’s something that eluded me that I couldn’t seem to grasp,” he said. “It was always just something I wanted to do, but couldn’t and wasn’t good enough or wasn’t invited to (participate). 

“To be playing well now and to be given the chance is special.”

Wolski is one of 26 players on Canada’s roster for the Karjala Tournament, which begins today with a match-up against Switzerland. Representing the Canadians are 11 players who didn’t participate in either the Sochi Hockey Open or the Tournament of Nikolai Puchkov in Russia over the summer. 

With NHL players not being available for the Olympics, Hockey Canada is using events such as the Karjala Tournament to audition eligible players in an effort to put together a strong roster for the February Olympics. 

“If you had asked me even last year, I wouldn’t think I would be in this position, all the players would be in this position,” said Wolski. “We have a really tremendous opportunity to play in the Olympics and that’s very special for any player, any athlete. Anyone playing a sport, to be able to be given a chance to play in the Olympics is an incredible thing.”

Wolski’s hockey career nearly ended last October during a KHL game. While playing for Metallurg Magnitogorsk, Wolski was chasing down a loose puck and decided to dive in an attempt to knock the puck away from Barys Astana’s Vladimir Markelov, but caused Markelov to fall on top of him.

The impact of Markelov falling on Wolski, who collided headfirst into the boards on the play, caused him to break his neck.

Wolski was stretchered off the ice thinking he was paralyzed. He spent 10 weeks in a neck brace and required surgery for one of the damaged vertebrae wiping out any chance of a return for the 2016/17 season. 

In June, Wolski signed a two-year contract with Chinese KHL team Kunlun Red Star, despite doctors recommending that he perhaps put an end to his hockey career. 

“I wasn’t sure after the surgery how things would go,” he said. “Also, if I should play. Some of the doctors I’m close with and friends with, that I really rely on and have really relied on over the years, suggested that it was maybe better to retire. 

“It was tough to hear that from them knowing that they were coming from a place of wanting to help me and give me the best advice possible. They’ve been there for many, many years and they’ve always helped me so hearing from them that I should probably retire is pretty tough.” 

Wolski not only returned to the ice, but is playing some of the best hockey of his career. The six-foot-three (190 cm), 220-pound (100 kg) forward has a team-leading 25 points in 25 games. 

It’s been a nice change for Wolski, a veteran of 451 NHL games with the Colorado Avalanche, Phoenix Coyotes, New York Rangers, Florida Panthers and Washington Capitals. Originally a first-round pick (21st overall) by Colorado in 2004, Wolski netted 99 goals and 267 points over eight NHL seasons, but admitted the inconsistency issues on the ice caused him to deal with depression – something he saw a therapist for while playing in New York. 

To be producing at a point a game pace in the KHL this season has helped put the fun back into hockey for Wolski. 

“The last couple years I kind of found my game again, I won a (KHL) championship,” he said. “It’s definitely been a lot more fun and knowing that I’m in my 30s now and I have kids, at this point I’m just trying to enjoy the game as long as I can, as much as I can, knowing that I’m closer to the end now than to the beginning. It gives you perspective and things like last year really give me perspective on life and hockey and the significance of what I’m doing.” 

After spending the first four years of his KHL career in Russia, Wolski is also enjoying the change of scenery off the ice in China. 

“Shanghai is an incredible city. It really reminds me of New York a lot,” Wolski said. “There’s so many cool pockets in the city that you can go see and they’re so different from each other.

“One of the reasons that I signed here is to be able to live in a bigger city, have my family here and experience a little bit of normalcy away from the rink. That’s been pretty incredible.”

Beijing will play host to the 2022 Olympics. The NHL also scheduled a couple pres-eason games in China earlier this season in an effort to grow the game there, but hockey is still in its infancy in terms of popularity, according to Wolski. 

“It’s definitely not one of the big sports,” said Wolski. “It’s breaking ground and we’re trying to attract as many people as we can to the sport, especially young kids. Trying to get them involved so they can further the program and advance it on the international level. It’s at the beginning, but for sure in a couple years it’ll catch on.” 

Wolski has no plans for an NHL return. His focus now is on producing for Kunlun and having his kids watch him play a high level of hockey. 

“I’ve got a family, I’ve got kids, I’m happy with where I’m at,” he said. “I enjoy the responsibilities I have within the team playing big minutes and to be able to live in Shanghai and experience what we have here is pretty outstanding so I think (the NHL is) something, at this point, I really don’t think about anymore.

“My son is almost three. I’d like to play 3-4 more years. I’d like to have him around the rink, I’d like to see him watch me play and the excitement on his face. I think I’m still playing well. I just battled back from a big injury so I want to enjoy it as much as I can.”

Ice skating in Kathmandu

By  The Week Bureau

Parents could also be spotted at the mall getting their kids to the ice skating rink. While some wanted to get their children to experience this unique sport, others were simply accompanying kids who insisted on coming to the rink. 

“I was extremely excited to try ice skating for the first time,” says Tensing Norgay Sherpa, 15, while trying his skating skills on an artificial ice rink here in the capital city Kathmandu.

“I think this is a very good way to utilize your holidays. At least you aren’t cooped inside your home all day. I plan to come here often,” he adds. Situated at Civil Mall, Sundhara, this avenue for ice-skating opened its doors to the public just a couple of weeks ago and, by the looks of it, is gaining quite the traction among children and young adults alike already. Most people The Week met at the ice rink seemed extremely excited to enjoy this recreational sport and for many it was their first time ever. 

“The floor is not made of real ice. Synthetic marbles are used to create an artificial ice rink,” says Sabin Maharjan, trainer at Synthetic Ice Skating Rink. “But it is as good as real. You will not know the difference. You just have to try it once to believe it,” he says. When asked about his experience as a trainer Maharjan he says, “I get to interact with new people every day. And because the concept of ice skating is relatively new in Nepal, people are mostly in jolly moods and also very eager to step inside the rink. It is fun to train people who want to learn a new sport. This is indeed an exciting job.”

Parents could also be spotted at the mall getting their kids to the ice skating rink. While some wanted to get their children to experience this unique sport, others were simply accompanying kids who insisted on coming to the rink. “I came here with my father. I wanted to try ice skating so he obviously had to accompany me. He had no other option,” says Amian Ghale Gurung with a sly smile. Amrita Shrestha, on the other hand, brought her her 13-year-old daughter to the newly opened rink so that she could enjoy an outdoor sport and try something new and different at the same time. “Children these days are only into gadgets and indoor sports. I want her to experience new things and develop new interests rather than being glued to a screen,” says Shakya. “She seems to like ice skating a lot. It has only been half an hour and she is doing quite well too,” she adds. 

Tushita Aryal, a 15-year-old student, was happily tying her ice skating shoes when we spoke to her. “This is my first time and I already love these shoes,” says Aryal. According to trainer Maharjan the shoes used here at the rink are called hokey skating board. “We do not get ice skating boots here in Nepal. That is the reason we are using hokey skating board right now. These are shoes used by athletes when they play ice hockey,” says Maharjan.  

The skating rink mostly seemed to be teeming with school and college children. “This place gets a lot of customers when it is a public holiday. That is because mostly school and college students come to try ice skating,” says Maharjan. Some kids confessed that while they were excited to ice skate, there were also concerned about slipping on the ice while skating. “I hope I don’t fall while skating. That will be really embarrassing,” says Aryal. Gurung, on the other hand, proudly exclaimed that he fell only once in the entire half hour session. But that could also be because he was extremely conscious about his moves and skated with caution. 

However, Maharjan points out that the rink equips its customers with sturdy helmets and a bunch of trainers are always around to make sure everybody is safe and enjoying themselves as well. “Everyone falls while learning how to skate for the first time. That’s quite normal. The trainers are around to make sure that no one has any real injury. You can be sure about that and try to focus on learning how to skate and have a good time,” concludes Maharjan. 

Russians battle back for 4-3 win in Swift Current

By 2017 CIBC Canada Russia Series

Swift Current, SK – New Jersey Devils prospect Mikhail Maltsev’s second of the night with 7:54 left in the third period completed the comeback as Russia battled back from a 3-0 deficit to defeat Team WHL 4-3 in Game 2 of the 2017 CIBC Canada Russia Series.

Maltsev’s shorthanded game winner rounded out a three-goal third period for the Russians as the series transitions to the Ontario Hockey League on Thursday night in Owen Sound tied 3-3 in points.

Russia scored three times on eight third period shots, battling back to silence a sold out Credit Union iPlex in Swift Current as Winnipeg Jets prospect Mikhail Berdin made some timely saves to close out the win.

“They played us a lot harder tonight and we expected that,” said Team WHL’s Sam Steel (Regina Pats). “We had a couple of bad bounces, a couple of turnovers and they capitalized on those. They got a good performance in net and we didn’t capitalize the way we did last night.”

New York Islanders draft selection David Quenneville (Medicine Hat Tigers) scored twice in the loss while Calgary Flames pick Dillon Dube (Kelowna Rockets) had a goal and two assists and Steel registered three helpers.

“It seemed like every shift we got a little bit more comfortable, started making more and more plays,” Steel noted of his line alongside Dube and Tyler Steenbergen (Swift Current Broncos). “You don’t get a chance to play with guys like that too often, so it was a lot of fun.”

After registering just 20 shots on Monday the Russians came out firing in Game 2, outshooting Team WHL 17-6 in the opening frame as Edmonton Oilers prospect Stuart Skinner (Lethbridge Hurricanes) was big when called upon.

Though outshot, the WHL took out the game’s first lead on the power play just 1:27 into action as Dube finished on his own rebound from close quarters with assists from Steel and Jake Bean (Calgary Hitmen).

Team WHL passed a big test in the opening frame, killing off a five-minute major charged to Tanner Kaspick (Brandon Wheat Kings) to enter the second period up 1-0.

After Skinner stopped Russian defenceman Artyom Minulin (Swift Current Broncos) on an early second period odd-man rush the WHL power play went back to work as Quenneville increased the lead to 2-0. Quenneville finished off a Dube cross-crease feed at 6:17, beating a sprawling Berdin across the crease.

Quenneville struck again on the power play just over two minutes later at 8:33, giving Team WHL three power play goals in a single game for the first time since 2011. Dube and Steel picked up assists once again as Team WHL was in full control up 3-0 midway through the contest.

Russia caught a break later in the second after Berdin stopped Kole Lind (Kelowna Rockets) on a penalty shot attempt.

Mikhail Maltsev scored Russia’s first goal of the series with 3:38 left on the clock, keeping a puck in at the offensive blue line before working with Alexey Polodyan and Maxim Tsyplakov to wrist a shot past Skinner from the high slot.

Team WHL led 3-1 after two periods, outshooting Russia 17-8 in the second frame.

The opportunistic Russians came on strong early in the third period as big defenceman Artyom Maltsev couldn’t beat Skinner on his first attempt from the right faceoff circle, but followed up on his own rebound at 6:28 to cut the WHL lead to 3-2.

Chicago Blackhawks third round selection Andrey Altybarmakyan took advantage of a Team WHL miscue to knot the score at three midway through the third. His unassisted goal saw him pick off an errant WHL outlet pass and out-wait a sprawling Skinner on the forehand.

Mikhail Maltsev completed the comeback, taking advantage of a fortunate bounce off the boards that saw a loose puck bounce back out into the slot where he quickly sent a release past Skinner from the high slot at 12:06.

Team WHL pulled Skinner in the game’s final two minutes but couldn’t solve Berdin, settling for split decisions against Russia to open the 2017 CIBC Canada Russia Series.

Russia took the shooting column 33-32, marking the first time they’ve outshot Team WHL in the event since November 15th, 2012. Team WHL finished the night 3-for-6 on the power play and finished 57% (34-of-60) in the faceoff circle.

Dillon Dube (Kelowna Rockets) led the WHL in series scoring with five points (2-3–5) over two games. He becomes just the second WHL player in event history to register five points in a series, joining Collin Shirley (Kamloops Blazers) who did so in 2015.

The Western Hockey League wraps up the series with an all-time record of 20-7-1-2, sending the series to Owen Sound for Game 3 on Thursday against Team OHL.

Thursday’s matchup can be seen on Sportsnet Ontario, East and Pacific when the puck drops at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre at 7:00pm ET/4:00pm PT.

Karjala Cup Primer: Who to Watch on Every Team

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By Steven Ellis – Eurohockey.com

The 2017 Karjala Cup is upon us. Here’s a look at all six teams participating at the first leg of the Euro Hockey Tour this season.

If you weren’t from one of the four participating countries, you likely haven’t paid much attention to the Euro Hockey Tour or the Karjala Cup in previous years. Sure, it’s a men’s level tournament and features a lot of players trying to make future national teams, but without many big stars each year, it stayed as a tournament that was only important to Russia, Finland, Sweden and the Czech Republic.

But for this year’s Karjala Cup, the tournament has seen the addition of Switzerland and Canada, who aren’t even from Europe. For all six teams, this tournament means more than usual thanks to it being part of the lead-up to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. The tournament will take place from November 8-12, mostly in Helsinki, Finland, and will serve as the first real pre-Olympic competition since the Sochi Hockey Open back in August.

In order to prepare for the first leg of the Euro Hockey Tour for 2017-2018, let’s take a look at all the teams participating in this week’s international break event.

Canada

It all starts in goal for Canada, and Ben Scrivens is Canada’s go-to guy leading up to the Olympics. Scrivens has had a few tough seasons in the NHL after stealing the show with the Los Angeles Kings back in 2013-2014 when Jonathan Quick was injured. In 2014, Scrivens out-played former Toronto Maple Leafs goalie partner James Reimer and earned Canada’s starting role heading into the quarter-finals. He had some so-so moments at the Nikolai Puchkov Tournament but for the most part, he looked good enough to get the job done.

Saying Andrew Ebbett could be one of Canada’s best players sounds extremely odd when given some of Canada’s key players at previous Olympics. But for Canada, it’s a reality. The former AHL star has proven to make a good partnership with SC Bern teammate Mason Raymond and will be a big duo a few months from now. But at the Karjala Cup, both will get a chance to showcase the skill they showed at the Spengler Cup last December and the Sochi Hockey Open in August.

Former second line forward Rene Bourque is someone who will need a good tournament to help further his chances at a spot. Bourque wasn’t on the radar during the summer, but with a great start this season in Sweden, he’ll be given a chance. Chris Lee, a defenceman who couldn’t secure an NHL deal after a good year in the KHL, will make his national team season debut at the tournament just months after shining at the World Championships.

Linden Vey never had much of an NHL career, but the former Calgary Flame has been battling for the top scoring spot in the KHL with Ilya Kovalchuk and Nikita Gusev all season long. That alone gives him a chance to be a top six contributor at the Karjala. And don’t sleep on Eric O’Dell, Canada’s top line centre for much of the Sochi Hockey Open, and forwards Brandon Kozun and Wojtek Wolski, two forwards with a lot to prove in hopes of some day returning to the NHL.


Czech Republic

The last team to announce their roster and perhaps the weakest team on paper, the Czech Republic will have a mountain to climb if they want to win just their second tournament title ever. Champions back in 2012, the Czech’s, like many teams, were hit big due to the NHL keeping players from competing at the Olympics.

But unlike Canada, Russia or USA, the team doesn’t have that big of a pool to choose from. In fact, despite bringing many long-time national team players to the Karjala Cup, the team doesn’t have a talent pool chock-full of NHL castoffs waiting in the wings.

The team’s goaltending, however, do have a familiar face. Marek Mazanec was a back-up in the NHL for many years before signing with HC Slovan Bratislava in the KHL this past season, where he currently acts as the starting goalie.

Former NHLers Ladislav Smid and Jiri Sekac will get extended roles with the squad. Smid missed all of last season with the Calgary Flames and signed in his native land to hopefully get his career back on track. Sekac’s failed NHL experiment lasted only two seasons between four teams before joining AK Bars Kazan last year, and after a good start this season, he’s done a good job to keep himself going strong.

Dominik Kubalik, the top scoring player in the Czech league over the past two years, will likely receive extensive ice time up front for a team that will be desperate for goals. Jan Kovar isn’t up to his usual KHL scoring numbers with Metallurg but after ripping it up last year with 12 points in seven Euro Hockey Tour games, this could be the way to turn his season around.

Other big names for the Czech’s include Detroit Red Wings prospect Lukas Radil, Michal Repik and Michal Birner. Still, while the team have some players who have represented the squad in various international tournaments, there isn’t a lot of game-changing players that will help them win the Karjala Cup.

Finland

When you ask fans which teams will have a strong Olympics, Finland seems to be almost a for-sure choice in the top four. Their Euro Hockey Tour team may not have a whole lot of star power, but with a solid goaltender, strong defense and a couple of highly-touted prospects, the team is set up for success this year.

The Finns could have one of the top goaltenders in the entire tournament with Mikko Koskinen. Sure, he’s lost his starting role for SKA St. Petersburg to 21 year old Igor Shestyorkin, but losing your job to one of the best goalies in the league isn’t a knock on his ability. They still give him a lot of starts, and his stats, albeit on the KHL’s most dangerous team, have been great. Koskinen is always one of the best goalies when called upon in Euro Hockey Tour action and Finland in general, especially at the 2016 World Championships.

Up front, the team will hope to get some good offense out of 2013 World Championships star Petri Kontiola. At 33, he’s lost some of his speed and isn’t producing like he used to in the KHL but when he does get called upon for Finland, they tend to get a good performance out of the former Chicago Blackhawks prospect.

There will be a lot of eyes on Nashville Predators first-rounder Eeli Tolvanen. The 18-year-old is extremely quick and is a magician with the puck, whether it be his wicked release or his accurate passing ability. He’s close to a point-per-game in the KHL with Jokerit this season, which is an impressive task given how he played in the USHL the past two seasons, He was one of Finland’s few bright spots at last year’s World Juniors and can use his experience when he makes his men’s team debut this week.

Former Edmonton Oilers forward Teemu Hartikainen is also off to a good start in the KHL this year, fifth with Ufa. He has a tendency to disappear in international events for Finland, but with no NHLers to worry about over the next few months, he could prove his offensive worth. Veli-Matti Savinainen was one of Finland’s best players in international play last year and will be counted on to replicate his strong performance again this year.

On the back end, there’s no question veteran Sami Lepistö will be the leader in almost all situations. Dallas Stars first-rounder Miro Heiskanen will also earn lots of ice time thanks to a great start in Liiga play this year with HIFK. Overall, Finland should be a competitive squad on home ice, but with a deeper talent pool this year overall, they’ll have to get scrappy.

Russia

2018 Olympic champions, Russia? Sure, that’s the expectation, but the Karjala Cup is just the next step for Russia on their quest for gold.

It all begins in net with Igor Shestyorkin, who could very well compete for the top goalie award in the KHL this season. Henrik Lundqvist’s future replacement in New York, Shestyorkin’s 15-1-2 record to start off the year has been too much to handle for most other teams. Russia does have other good veteran goalies to choose from, but Shestyorkin is having too good of a season to ignore at this point, even if his team has been lights out at every other position.

The Russians will be without scoring stars Ilya Kovalchuk, Pavel Datsyuk and Vadim Shipachyov, but that shouldn’t hurt them too much. The all-time KHL leading scorer, Sergei Mozyakin is, well, good, even at 35. He lead the league in scoring last year and already is playing at over a point-per-game midway through the season. Then there is Mikhail Grigorenko, who was arguably Russia’s best player at the Sochi Hockey Open in August following a brutal few years in the NHL. How about future Minnesota Wild and upcoming Russian superstar Kirill Kaprizov? He had four points in three games in last year’s EHT and has dominated the scoring charts in practically every event he’s played in internationally.

Nikita Gusev has garnered NHL chatter in recent months and for good reason. Vegas recently acquired his rights from Tampa Bay and if he ever makes it over, he’ll be an immediate top six scoring star. Sergei Plotnikov, Sergei Shirokov and Ivan Telegin will act as veteran role players to supplement youngsters Valeri Nichushkin and Pavel Kraskovsky.

Russia’s biggest issue? Defence, but with the amount of goals they’ll likely score, they should be able to follow up their championship at the Karjala a year ago with another title.

Sweden

Sweden could end up going with either Jhonas Enroth or Magnus Hellberg in net. Both goalies have NHL experience in recent years, but there’s a good chance that Enroth will get an extra start to eep Sweden in the Karjala title contention. Enroth will likely get the nod due to his past experience with the team and overall better record in pro hockey, but Hellberg, being a young gun, will want to take every opportunity he can to make himself the starter when it matters most in February.

The top defence pairing will likely consist of at least one of Patrik Hersley or Steffan Kronwall.  Hersley, a former draft pick of the LA Kings, is a big defenceman capable of creating plays from his own zone effectively.  A member of the super SKA St. Petersburg squad in the KHL, Hersley is on pace for career-high numbers with 23 points in 25 games this season. Hersley has never played for Sweden at the World Championships, but he’s always a major fixture in Euro Hockey Tour play. For Kronwall, the former Toronto Maple Leaf is a proven veteran who shines every time he’s called upon for Sweden and will end up being a major leader heading up to the Olympic games.

All eyes, however, will likely land on Rasmus Dahlin. The consensus favourite to go first overall at the upcoming NHL Draft, there’s a chance Dahlin could play at the Karjala Cup, Channel One Cup, Carlson Hockey Games, Sweden Games, World Junior Championships, World Championships and U18 World Championships this season alone. Dahlin played in two exhibition contests last year for the men’s team, but this will really be his first chance to prove himself against men in international competition.

Sweden will have a good mix of speedy forwards that can chip in a few goals every now and then. Oscar Moller, a former LA Kings forward, fits that bill. In 16 games with Skellefteå AIK this season, Moller has been good for 15 points, already beating his total from last year. Moller has a lot of experience in EHT tournaments and is always a top contributor each season, making him worth a watch. Anton Lander, an Edmonton Oilers castoff, had a really good season with the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors last year but his initial foray into the KHL hasn’t seen much offense with just two goals in 27 games. Dick Axelsson, Linus Omark and Johan Ryno bring valuable skill to the team and should grab a few points each, while Joakim LIndstrom, Robert Nilsson and Joel Lundqvist all bring veteran experience and some offense to boot.

Switzerland

No matter what event it is, the Swiss never seem to just lay down and take what’s giving to them. They always put up a fight, and their first ever Euro Hockey Tour event is going to be a challenge, no doubt. But with a team full of players that have stuck together for years, it’s no question the team could steal a game or two against some of the stronger hockey powers.

Leading the way between the pipes will be Jonas Hiller, Switzerland’s goalie at the previous two Olympics. The former Anaheim Ducks star played for his nation at the World Championships last year for the first time since 2007, and it’s safe to say it was a rocky run. Hiller could be called upon due to his experience, but if he falters at any point, Gilles Senn will be called upon to make just his first tournament start for the Swiss.

On defence, former NHL depth defender Raphael Diaz will be the go-to guy to get the puck moving. Diaz doesn’t score that often, but he does a solid job of making plays happen and creating scoring opportunities for his teammate. Diaz will be counted on to be a workhorse defencemen, perhaps paired with veteran Eric Blum. Blum had only skated in five games prior to getting named to Switzerland’s roster or the Karjala Cup, but has looked decent when he has played. He’s represented the Swiss in international competition for many years, and with no Roman Josi to worry about, Blum will need to step up.

The Swiss always have a lot of familiarity on their roster, and this year is no different. The roster features seven HC Davos players, including star Andres Ambuhl. Ambuhl has been one of Switzerland’s best players in international in recent years and has had a good season with Davos this season. Reto Suri, Pius Suter, Simon Moser, Denis Hollenstein, Gregory Hofmann, Fabrice Herzog, Cody Almond and Luca Cunti are all veterans of the national team will some good scoring ability, while Vincent Praplanis fresh off of leading Switzerland in team scoring at last year’s World Championships.

Women’s Hockey Rivals Prepare for the Olympics by Playing Each Other — Again and Again

By 

Three days after the United States women’s hockey team lost to Canada, 5-1, in an exhibition game here on Oct. 25, USA Hockey unexpectedly added Cayla Barnes, an 18-year-old freshman at Boston College, to its roster.

The move may just be insurance for the coming Four Nations Cup, which begins Tuesday outside Tampa, Fla., and is the last major women’s hockey tournament before the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Or inserting Barnes, a prodigious defender who has won three consecutive under-18 world championships, into the lineup could be a shrewd psychological and tactical ploy.

After all, Barnes is one of the few players on the American team who is somewhat unknown to Canada.

Her addition is one example of the chess-like maneuvering within the most intense rivalry in women’s hockey. By mid-December, the two teams will have played up to eight games against each other — including one on Wednesday — in the span of two months, plotting their final moves of a four-year buildup to an expected meeting in the gold medal game in Gangneung, South Korea, on Feb. 22.

“I use the analogy of going into it like a test,” forward Sarah Nurse of Canada said. “The better prepared you are when it comes down to that time in February when we play these guys again, we want to know what they’re going to throw at us. We don’t want any surprises. We want to be 100 percent prepared.”

Since women’s hockey became an Olympic event in 1998, the United States and Canada have dominated the sport. They have combined to win all five gold medals and have met in all but one Olympic final (Sweden defeated the United States in the semifinals in 2006). Canada has defeated the United States in the last two finals. The teams have met in all 18 world championship finals, with the United States winning seven of the last eight.

The fact that no other national teams have consistently reached the North Americans’ level of excellence has created an unusual situation in which the United States and Canada always have an eye toward one-upping each other.

The Americans have not won an Olympic gold medal since 1998, further motivating them to find an edge. Forward Hilary Knight, who took home silver medals in 2010 and 2014, has said that since those crushing losses, she wakes up every morning thinking about revenge against Canada.

Both sides expect their opponents to have an encyclopedic knowledge of their tendencies come the Olympics. In 2014, Canada won, 3-2, in overtime of what many consider to be the greatest women’s hockey game ever played.

Ice Hockey – Women’s Gold Medal Game – Canada v USA | Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics

With little discrepancy in talent between the teams, the Americans are not so much seeking to find some undiscovered weakness in Canada’s armor during the pre-Olympic series, but rather to prove that they can dictate the pace of play. They also must hone their chemistry and accountability to carry them through the tense sequences that will most likely decide another gold medal match.

“I remember in 2010, always trying to play catch-up,” Knight said. “In 2014, we were the better team and then we had sort of mental lapses. What’s different now than in years past, this team really looks internally for motivation.”

Since Canada’s Marie-Philip Poulin scored the golden goal in Sochi four years ago, fans have eagerly awaited a rematch of a game that drew almost five million viewers on NBC.

In North America, the audience for women’s hockey has grown with the creation of the National Women’s Hockey League in 2015 and the expansion of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League. Last March, the American players garnered national news media attention when they won a battle for equitable support from USA Hockey, their governing body.

With a greater platform, the American team changed their pre-Olympic plans, focusing only on exhibitions with Canada. In past cycles, the national team also played college squads. But not only does Canada provide the best competition, it is also the top box-office draw.

The game here on Oct. 25 was sold out, with an announced crowd of 6,298 at Boston University’s Agganis Arena. Up to five of the remaining games between the rivals will be played in N.H.L. arenas.

“From a competition standpoint, I’d rather play Canada every single night, maybe Finland,” Knight said. “But when all is said and done and we’re looking from a women’s hockey exposure standpoint, we should be playing other teams. But I think that’s a little bit later down on in the future.”

She added that she would like to see stronger initiatives from the International Ice Hockey Federation to develop women’s hockey in more countries.

For now, even when they aren’t playing Canada, the Americans try to create the best facsimile, scrimmaging against college-age men’s teams in Tampa, where the national team has been based since September. It is a tactic used by the Canadians since 2002; this year, they will play about three games per week against 18-and-under teams in Alberta.

Jocelyne Larocque, a 2014 gold medalist, said those events had also helped grow women’s hockey throughout the province, as the games fill smaller rinks with hundreds of fans.

The American forward Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson said playing against men’s teams had been beneficial because the scrimmages replicate Canada’s speed and strength. But they leave something to be desired in terms of gravitas.

It’s good to get that competition,” Lamoureux-Davidson said, “but it’s not the same playing them.”

For the United States women’s hockey team, “them” can only mean one thing.

Saskatchewan product Lind leads WHL to victory in Moose Jaw

By 2017 CiBC Canada Russia Series

Moose Jaw, SK – Shaunavon, Sask. product Kole Lind led the way with two goals and an assist as six different players had multi-point outputs in a 7-0 Team WHL victory in Game 1 of the 2017 CIBC Canada Russia Series in Moose Jaw.

Lind joined another fan favourite in Moose Jaw Warriors captain Brett Howden in playing a prominent role while Los Angeles Kings prospect Kale Clague (Brandon Wheat Kings) recorded three assists on the night.

“We had a good start to the game, that’s what we carried on throughout the whole game. They had little spurts of their chances, but we definitely capitalized when we needed to and Hartsy [Carter Hart] definitely stood out tonight too.”

“We’re definitely a really fast team too,” Lind continued. “That showed tonight.”

Philadelphia Flyers prospect Carter Hart (Everett Silvertips) became the third WHL goaltender in event history to record a full 60-minute shutout, turning away all 20 shots that came his way including a number of early high quality scoring chances.

Hart provided a trio of big saves off Russian attackers Vladislav Kara, Artyom Manukyan and Maxim Tsyplakov in the opening half of the first frame before Lind opened the scoring for Team WHL at 13:31.

Just as a WHL power play expired, Lind wired a high shot over the shoulder of Vladislav Sukhachev with assists from Howden and Clague.

Team WHL increased its lead 5:13 into the second period as Clague sent a shot goalward that caromed off the skate of Calgary Flames prospect Matthew Phillips (Victoria Royals) and past Sukhachev. Josh Mahura (Regina Pats) also picked up an assist on the goal.

Lind picked up his second of the night less than five minutes later at 9:52 on a tremendous play by Detroit Red Wings prospect Michael Rasmussen (Tri-City Americans). Battling past a Russian check, Rasmussen lost his footing but managed to centre the puck for an oncoming Lind who had an open net to make the score 3-0 at the midway point of the game.

Hometown hero Howden brought the Moose Jaw faithful to their feet with 2:17 remaining in the second, increasing the WHL lead to 4-0 on a deflection in the slot. Howden got a stick on Dennis Cholowski’s (Prince George Cougars) point wrister while Tanner Kaspick (Brandon Wheat Kings) also picked up an assist.

WHL scoring leader Tyler Steenbergen (Swift Current Broncos) wrapped up a four-goal second period with 36 seconds left on the clock as Dillon Dube (Kelowna Rockets) centred for Sam Steel (Regina Pats) before the puck found the stick of an open Steenbergen who provided the finish to make the score 5-0 after 40 minutes.

Russia made a goaltending change after two periods as Sukhachev gave way to Alexey Melnichuk after surrendering five goals on 26 shots.

Lind’s standout performance continued early in the third period as he entered the zone off the rush to find Cody Glass (Portland Winterhawks) streaking down the right wing to make it 6-0 at 1:23. Rasmussen also picked up an assist to give him two on the night.

Clague collected his third assist of the night moments later at 4:59, springing Dube in alone as he beat Melnichuk on a second effort to round out the WHL scoring in a 7-0 final.

Team WHL outshot Russia 33-20 in the victory, going 0-for-5 on the power play to Russia’s 0-for-1 mark. Team WHL was also effective in the faceoff circle, winning 69 percent (35-of-51) of their draws on the night.

The decisive win marks the fifth time in event history that Team WHL has put up at least seven goals in a game. Kale Clague’s three assists make him one of six WHL players in event history to record three helpers in a game.

“It’s not an easy thing to do to put lines together and develop chemistry,” said Team WHL head coach Tim Hunter (Moose Jaw Warriors) as he reflected on the win. “They seemed to click. I don’t know if we’d change anything for tomorrow night. We talked about the possibility of changes, but we looked pretty good tonight. Overall, right through the lineup, the lines seemed to click and have good chemistry.”

Team WHL’s Brett Howden (Moose Jaw Warriors) left the game with an injury in the third period and did not return.

The 7-0 Team WHL win marks the ninth time in event history that Russia has been shutout. They look to rebound in Swift Current on Tuesday as the two clubs clash in Game 2 of the 2017 CIBC Canada Russia Series at the Credit Union iPlex.

Tuesday night’s matchup can be seen live on Sportsnet Ontario, East and Sportsnet ONE when the puck drops at 8:00pm ET/7:00 pm CT.

KHL could pull out of Olympics over doping investigation

Players playing for KHL teams, like Metallurg Magnitogorsk the 2016 champions, might not be allowed to take part in the Olympics.

By Associated Press

The Kontinental Hockey League may withdraw its players from the Pyeongchang Olympics in protest at doping investigations into Russian athletes, the league president suggested on Saturday.

The Moscow-based KHL, widely considered the strongest league outside the NHL, contains leading Russians but also many players who could represent the United States, Canada, and various European nations.

Canada’s current Olympic roster includes 15 players from the KHL including goalie Ben Scrivens (Salavat Yulaev Ufa) as well as forwards Wojtek Wolski (Kunlun Red Star), Brandon Kozun (Lokomotiv Yaroslavl), Eric O’Dell (HC Sochi), and Matt Frattin (Barys Astana). That team begins play in the Karjala Cup in Helsinki, Finland, starting Wednesday.

In a statement, KHL president Dmitry Chernyshenko said the International Olympic Committee “is destroying the existing world order in sports” by pursuing doping cases against Russians in other sports who are suspected of using banned substances around the time of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Chernyshenko referenced the NHL’s absence from Pyeongchang this February after failing to reach a deal with the IOC, and said “the KHL is ready to respond accordingly.”

IOC commissions “suspend athletes without a basis of real facts confirming doping,” Chernyshenko said. A Russian gold medallist in cross-country skiing was stripped of his title by an IOC panel on Wednesday using evidence of Russian doping coverups and tampering with sample bottles.

Chernyshenko previously headed Russia’s organizing committee for the Sochi Olympics, where Russia has since been accused of operating a state-sponsored program of drug use and cover-ups.

Russians were being unfairly targeted by the IOC, Chernyshenko said. He referred to a recent speech by Russian President Vladimir Putin in which Putin accused the U.S. of lobbying the IOC for Russia’s exclusion from the Pyeongchang Olympics or trying to force IOC officials to make Russians compete under a neutral flag.

Olympic ambitions for winter sports

By China Daily

If it were not for the spectators chanting in Chinese, the intense scene at the skating rink at Beijing’s Joy City shopping mall on Oct 28 could easily have been at an ice hockey game in North America.

The yelling of the junior players coupled with the sounds of skates cutting hard on the ice and the shoulder pads colliding easily attracted passers-by at the world-standard rink, where the opening game of the Beijing Minor Hockey Leagues 2017-18 season took place.

The junior league, initiated by the parents of around 60 hockey-loving children in 2008, has developed into the biggest of its kind in Asia with 2,554 players from 162 teams registered with the Beijing Hockey Association to compete in five age groups, from under-6 to under-14, this season.

The rise of junior ice hockey in the Chinese capital has underlined the surging popularity of winter sports as a whole, driven by the country’s commitment to involve 300 million people in winter sports activities in the lead up to the 2022 Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

As urged by General Secretary Xi Jinping at the opening session of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China last month, preparing for the 2022 Olympics while raising the profile of winter sports is a top priority for the country’s sports governing body.

Gou Zhongwen, minister of the General Administration of Sport of China, called for full support from the country’s sports sector in order to further promote winter sports.

“The winter sports sector remains underdeveloped in our country. We shall invest in building more facilities and conduct better promotion to boost winter sports participation to new heights,” he said.

Despite a late start compared to winter sports powers in the West, infrastructure upgrading in recent years has turned winter sports from a niche interest isolated to northeastern China into a mass sporting activity widely embraced across the country.

When Song Andong, the first Chinese player drafted in the North America-based National Hockey League, started to learn the sport in early 2000s, he had to share a small rink with children practicing figure skating, as it was the only facility available in downtown Beijing.

Now there are around 30 indoor rinks in Beijing and 66 more will be built by 2022, according to the Beijing Municipal Sports Bureau’s winter sports development plan.

“The change has been dramatic in recent years, especially since Beijing’s successful bid for the 2022 Olympics. Skating is now an accessible exercise for kids in Beijing,” said Song, who was selected by the New York Islanders in the 2015 NHL Draft.

At the elite level, international competition is now part of the life of urban winter sports fans across China, even in the south.

After staging the NHL’s first ever China game between the Los Angeles Kings and the Vancouver Canucks in September, Shanghai is now hosting a stretch of home games of the Kunlun Red Star men’s team in the Russia-based Kontinental Hockey League.

Meanwhile, the club’s female squad will kick off a four-game home run in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League in Shenzhen, Guangdong province.

Kevin Westgarth, NHL vice-president of business development and international affairs, said the consistent exposure to high-level competition will help increase the appetite for winter sports.

“It’s an exciting time to see the pace that things happen in China… I think the potential is endless,” said Westgarth. “Most importantly, 2022 won’t be the end. It will still be part of the beginning.”

Meanwhile, skiing has become a major outdoor leisure activity in China.

As one of the most-visited skiing destinations in China, Wanlong Ski Resort in Chongli, a county in Beijing’s 2022 co-host city of Zhangjiakou in Hebei province, was busy preparing ski slopes and testing cablecars over the weekend to prepare for the 2017-18 snow season.

Featuring 22 slopes, the resort received 450,000 skiers in the 2016-17 season and is expected to serve more than 600,000 this year, according to Wang Lin, manager of its service department.

“It’s a challenge for us to upgrade our facilities and services to meet the growing demand from skiers,” said Wang.

Since winning the joint bid with Beijing to become the host of all snow events of the 2022 Winter Olympics, major resorts, including Wanlong, have been built in Chongli, bringing the total there to seven. More than 2.6 million skiers visited the county last winter, generating total revenue of 1.89 billion yuan ($285 million).

Still, the country has set its sights on bigger gains by rolling out an ambitious winter sports development plan.

China aims to build a total of 650 skating rinks and 800 ski resorts by 2022, laying the foundation for the winter sports sector to generate industry value of 1 trillion yuan from spending at venues, equipment production and training fees by 2025, according to the plan unveiled at the end of 2016.

China had 646 ski resorts in operation and 11.3 million skiers, who ski at least once a year, by the end of 2016, according to the annual report on the development of the ski industry in China.

The plan also called for expanding winter sports education to 2,000 schools as part of their PE curriculum by 2022, while Beijing alone has selected 52 schools for a pilot program to offer such training at local rinks and resorts.

Despite the government push, observers warn that promotions should be cautiously implemented with integrated thinking and planning in staff training, construction design and environmental protection.

“To avoid a waste of resources after the Olympics, local governments should take tourism, infrastructure and education plans into consideration,” said Yang Hua, a sports sociology expert from Beijing Sport University.

Team WHL opens series in Saskatchewan

By CHL Canada Russia

It’s a Saskatchewan affair in the Western Hockey League as the 2017 CIBC Canada Russia Series opens on Monday in Moose Jaw before heading west on the Trans-Canada Highway to Swift Current for Game 2 on Tuesday.

With the 100th Mastercard Memorial Cup coming to Regina in the spring and excellent starts to the season by both the host Broncos and Warriors, action is heating up on the prairies.

“Lots of competition makes everyone better,” said Moose Jaw Warriors bench boss Tim Hunter who will lead Team WHL from behind the bench next week. “Our division has some very capable teams this season and we need to be at our best every night.”

Hunter returns as an assistant coach with Canada’s National Junior Team this Christmas after last year’s heartbreaking shootout loss to the United States that resulted in a silver medal finish. He’ll have the opportunity to participate in two separate outdoor games this season including the first at the World Juniors on December 29th when Canada takes on the United States at New Era Field in Buffalo. Additionally, his Moose Jaw Warriors will battle the Regina Pats at Mosaic Stadium on February 18th.

Hunter will coach Team WHL alongside provincial coaching rivals in Swift Current’s Manny Viveiros and Regina’s John Paddock.

“I tease those guys,” he laughed. “I’m just a coach and I get two GM’s to work for me as assistant coaches. They’ll both have some responsibility. John is going to run the penalty kill and the defence and Manny is going to oversee the power play and the forwards. I’m looking forward to working with both of them.”

Hunter ran the Team WHL bench last season when they split decisions against Russia, suffering a 3-2 overtime loss in Prince George before rebounding with a 4-1 victory in Edmonton.

Seven WHL players were a part of Canada’s National Junior Team last year including returning goaltender Carter Hart (Everett Silvertips), Team WHL captain Dillon Dube (Kelowna Rockets) along with defencemen Jake Bean (Calgary Hitmen) and Kale Clague (Brandon Wheat Kings).

With several prominent names having graduated to the pro ranks, jobs on this year’s World Junior Team are there for the taking. Hunter and the brass at Hockey Canada have gone about their approach of preparing the players a little differently this time around, intiating that process back in August at the Summer Showcase in Plymouth, Mich.

“You always have to be making adjustments and so we’ve taken a little bit of a different approach,” said Hunter. “We’re looking for that edge that we didn’t have last year that allowed the United States to win and us not to. We’re building on some of the things we did well, but we’re adding some new wrinkles and adjusting our mindset a little bit.

“This will be beneficial for the new guys joining us and will provide our returning players with a fresh outlook.”

Notable members of the Team WHL roster include current league leading scorer Tyler Steenbergen of the Swift Current Broncos. The Arizona Coyotes prospect will play in front of his home crowd at the Credit Union iPlex on Monday. The 19-year-old has 21 goals, 14 assists and 35 points in 13 games this season.

Trailing close behind him in the WHL scoring department is diminutive 5-foot-7 Calgary Flames prospect Matthew Phillips of the Victoria Royals. Phillips sits one point back of Steenbergen with 15 goals, 19 assists and 34 points over 17 contests.

Last year’s WHL Player of the Year Sam Steel of the Regina Pats is also included on the roster. The Anaheim Ducks first round pick nearly cracked Canada’s National Junior Team roster last December and has 17 points (4-13–17) through his first 12 games of the 2017-18 season.

WHL ‘On The Run’ Player of the Week Brett Howden will represent Team WHL for the first time, doing so in front of a home crowd on Tuesday in Moose Jaw. The Tampa Bay Lightning pick had seven points (5-2–7) over three games last week and has 19 points (9-10–19) over 13 games this season.

A highlight of last year’s CIBC Canada Russia Series, Vancouver Giants forward Tyler Benson has been ruled out of this year’s event. The Edmonton Oilers prospect returned to the lineup last weekend after recovering from a pair of offseason sports hernia surgeries, but isn’t ready to suit up for Team WHL. He’ll be replaced by San Jose Sharks prospect Noah Gregor of the Moose Jaw Warriors.

Team WHL enters play with an all-time record of 19-6-1-2 in the CIBC Canada Russia Series. The event returns to Swift Current for the first time since 2008 when Team WHL took a 5-0 win. Moose Jaw hosts the event for the first time since 2011 when Russia prevailed by a score of 7-5.

NOTES

Forward Noah Gregor (Moose Jaw Warriors) has been added to Team WHL’s roster for the 2017 CIBC Canada Russia Series. He will replace forward Tyler Benson (Vancouver Giants)

Eight CHL players will be featured on Team Russia 

The WHL players competing in Moose Jaw on November 6 and in Swift Current November 7 include forward Alexander Alexeyev of the Red Deer Rebels and Broncos defenceman Artyom Minulin who will compete before his home crowd in Game 2.

For OHL games in Owen Sound on November 9 and in Sudbury November 13, Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Alexey Lipanov of the Barrie Colts will compete alongside Edmonton Oilers prospect Dmitri Samorukov of the Guelph Storm and Minnesota Wild prospect Dmitry Sokolov of the Game 4 host Wolves.

In the QMJHL games taking place November 14 in Charlottetown and November 16 in Moncton, Columbus Blue Jackets prospect and reigning QMJHL Player of the Year Vitalii Abramov of the Gatineau Olympiques will compete for Russia with Nashville Predators prospect Pavel Koltygin of the Drummondville Voltigeurs and Philadelphia Flyers prospect German Rubtsov of the Chicoutimi Sagueneens.

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