NHL.com -- There's no better way to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 1972 Summit Series than to have two familiar hockey powers collide in the 2012 Canada-Russia Challenge, beginning Thursday in Yaroslavl, Russia.
|Hamilton is competing for Team Canada
The Canada-Russia Challenge will feature Canada and Russia's national junior programs meeting two times in Russia (Thursday and Friday) and twice more in Halifax, N.S., on Aug. 13-14. The event replaces Canada's national junior team summer development camp and will feature players from both sides who could be participating in the 2013 World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia.
"I fully expect a Game 7-type of atmosphere," Team Canada coach Steve Spott told NHL.com. "Anytime you get these two countries together, especially when you consider the fact Russia beat Canada last year in Calgary and the year before in Buffalo [at the WJC], I think that there will be some motivation once the boys hit the ice for warmups."
The roster for Team Canada offers seven players who earned a bronze medal at the 2012 World Junior Championship in Alberta last January. The list includes defensemen Dougie Hamilton of Niagara (OHL), Scott Harrington of London (OHL) and Ryan Murray of Everett (WHL) and forwards Jonathan Huberdeau of Saint John (QMJHL), Boone Jenner of Oshawa (OHL), Mark Scheifele of Barrie (OHL) and Ryan Strome of Niagara (OHL).
Murray, who was selected by the Columbus Blue Jackets with the second pick at the 2012 NHL Draft, is also one of seven Canadian players on the roster chosen in the first round in June at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.
"The strength of this particular team will be on the back end, so we're very fortunate to have a number of world class defensemen," Spott said. "We probably could have invited six others to camp. A number of these players could start in the NHL once the season commences, so we're going to need some help from NHL teams with the likes of the [Jonathan] Huberdeaus and [Ryan] Stromes."
The 6-foot, 201-pound Murray was followed by defensemen Griffin Reinhart (No. 4, New York Islanders), Morgan Rielly (No. 5, Toronto Maple Leafs), Mathew Dumba (No. 7, Minnesota Wild), Cody Ceci (No. 15, Ottawa Senators), forward Thomas Wilson (No. 16, Washington Capitals) and goalie Malcolm Subban (No. 24, Boston Bruins).
"What I told the players is they have the inside track [on making the final roster in December]," Spott said. "We will continue to evaluate the players that are eligible to play on this team that are in the Canadian Hockey League and NCAA. We will take the best group of guys to Calgary for our tryout camp in December."
Spott admits he hasn't finalized a number for the December camp, but "my gut feeling is it will be smaller than in the past because we're going to have a good book on these kids from [the Canada-Russia Challenge]."
The 29-man Russian roster has 11 players who won a silver medal at the 2012 WJC, including forwards Nail Yakupov of Sarnia (OHL) and Mikhail Grigorenko of Quebec (QMJHL) and goalie Andrei Vasilevski of Tolpar Ufa (MHL). All three players were also selected in the first round of the June draft -- Yakupov was chosen No. 1 overall by the Edmonton Oilers, Grigorenko went No. 12 to the Buffalo Sabres and Vasilevski was chosen by the Tampa Bay Lightning with the 19th pick.
Yakupov finished the tournament with nine assists and a plus-4 rating; Grigorenko had two goals, five points and a plus-2 rating; and Vasilevski went 4-1 with a 2.01 goals-against average, .953 save percentage and two shutouts.
Russia scored a 6-5 victory over Canada in the semifinal round of the WJC last January to grab a 16-15-2 lead in the all-time series in games played at the event.
The Russians, who will be coached by former Soviet national team wing Mikhail Varnakov, will have 20 players on the roster eligible for the 2013 draft at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. Canada boasts 28 players on its roster, including two eligible for the 2013 Draft -- forwards Sean Monahan of Ottawa (OHL) and Hunter Shinkaruk of Medicine Hat (WHL).
Both camps will ultimately pare their rosters to 22 players before the start of the 2013 WJC from Dec. 26, 2012, through Jan. 5, 2013.
"It's definitely a challenge [to create a final roster]," Spott said. "We were kidding that we could probably play five defensemen on our power play, so it's good enough to make difficult decisions. We're going to have to find that guy who will give us consistent goaltending each night and we'll have to see if we can get some players back from NHL teams who will help strengthen our December camp even more."
The Canada-Russia Challenge will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 1972 Summit Series between Canada and the Soviet Union, an unforgettable eight-game tournament held in September that year. Canada won the series 4-3, with one tie.
The top point producer for the Russians in the '72 Summit Series was Alexander Yakushev, who struck for seven goals and 11 points in eight contests. Hall of Fame goalie Vladislav Tretiak finished 3-4-1 with a 3.88 goals-against average and .882 save percentage. For the Canadians, Phil Esposito led the team with seven goals and 13 points. Ken Dryden (2-2-0, 4.75 GAA, .838 save percentage) and Tony Esposito (2-1-1, 3.33 GAA, .882 save percentage) split time in net.
Team Canada roster
Goalies: Malcolm Subban, Belleville, OHL (Boston Bruins); Laurent Brossoit, Edmonton, WHL (Calgary Flames); Maxime Lagace, P.E.I., QMJHL (Dallas Stars).
Defense: Mathew Dumba, Red Deer, WHL (Minnesota Wild); Cody Ceci, Ottawa, OHL (Ottawa Senators); Dougie Hamilton, Niagara, OHL (Boston Bruins); Morgan Rielly, Moose Jaw, WHL (Toronto Maple Leafs); Scott Harrington, London, OHL (Pittsburgh Penguins); Griffin Reinhart, Edmonton, WHL (New York Islanders); Xavier Ouellet, Blainville-Boisbriand, QMJHL (Detroit Red Wings); Ryan Murphy, Kitchener, OHL (Carolina Hurricanes); Ryan Murray, Everett, WHL (Columbus Blue Jackets); Adam Pelech, Erie, OHL (New York Islanders).
Forwards: Phillip Di Giuseppe, University of Michigan, CCHA (Carolina Hurricanes); Hunter Shinkaruk, Medicine Hat, WHL (2013 draft eligible); Charles Hudon, Chicoutimi, QMJHL (Montreal Candiens); Jonathan Huberdeau, Saint John, QMJHL (Florida Panthers); Thomas Wilson, Plymouth, OHL (Washington Capitals); Kevin Roy, Lincoln, USHL (Anaheim Ducks); Ryan Strome, Niagara, OHL (New York Islanders); Mark Scheifele, Barrie, OHL (Winnipeg Jets); Sean Monahan, Ottawa, OHL (2013 eligible); Phillip Danault, Victoriaville, QMJHL (Chicago Blackhawks); Boone Jenner, Oshawa, OHL (Columbus Blue Jackets); Lukas Sutter, Saskatoon, WHL (Winnipeg Jets); Ty Rattie, Portland, WHL (St. Louis Blues); Brendan Leipsic, Portland, WHL (Nashville Predators); Lucas Lessio, Oshawa, OHL (Phoenix Coyotes).
Team Russia roster
Goalies: Denis Perevozchikov, Ak Bars Kazan, MHL (2013 draft eligible); Andrei Makarov, Saskatoon, WHL (2013); Andrei Vasilevski, Tolpar Ufa, MHL (Tampa Bay Lightning).
Defense: Andrei Pedan, Guelph, OHL (New York Islanders); Artyom Sergeyev, Val-d'Or, QMJHL (2013); Alexei Vasilevski, Tolpar Ufa, MHL (2013); Albert Yarullin, Ak Bars Kazan, MHL (2013); Mikhail Naumenkov, CSKA Moscow, MHL (2013); Nikita Nesterov, Traktor Chelyabinsk, KHL (Tampa Bay Lightning); Ivan Kuznetsov, Khimik Voskresensk, MHL (2013); Kirill Diakov, Yugra Khanty-Mansisk, KHL (2013); Maxim Osipov, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, VHL (2013); Vsevolod Sorokin, Spartak Moscow, MHL (2013).
Forwards: Nikolai Prokhorkin, CSKA Moscow, KHL (Los Angeles Kings); Maxim Shalunov, Traktor Chelyabinsk, MHL (Chicago Blackhawks); Nail Yakupov, Sarnia, OHL (Edmonton Oilers); Anton Slepyshev, Metallurg Novokuznetsk, KHL (2013); Andrei Sigarev, Dizel Penza, VHL (2013); Alexander Kadeykin, Mytischi Atlanti, MHL (2013); Sergei Tverdokhlebov, Mytischi Atlanti, MHL (2013); Daniil Romantsev, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, VHL (2013); Anton Zlobin, Val-d'Or, QMJHL (Pittsburgh Penguins); Yaroslav Kosov, Metallurg Magnitogorsk, KHL (Florida Panthers); Pavel Buchnevich, Almaz Cherepovets, MHL (2013); Kirill Kapustin, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, VHL (2013); Bulatov Khammatov, Tolpar Ufa, MHL (2013); Sergei Shmelev, Mytischi Atlanti, MHL (2013); Artem Fedorov, Khimik Voskresensk, MHL (2013); Mikhail Grigorenko, Quebec, QMJHL (Buffalo Sabres).
Author: Mike G. Morreale | NHL.com Staff Writer