The opening weekend of play in the IIHF World Championships in Quebec City and Halifax produced few surprises. The good teams were good, and the sketchy teams were, well, sketchy. Here’s a rundown of the first three days of action.
The Kids Are All Right –
Team USA’s oldest goal scorer in the tournament so far is 23-year-old Zach Parise. Six different players have tallied for the Americans, including Phil Kessel, who notched a hat trick in Team USA’s 5-1 win over Slovenia on Sunday.
All six Team USA scorers were chosen between first and 56th in NHL Entry Drafts from 2003 through 2007. Evgeni Nabokov, Please Pick Up the White Courtesy Phone –
Hope Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov is resting up after playing 129 minutes in net for San Jose last night. The Sharks dropped the game and the series, losing in quadruple overtime, but Nabokov made 53 saves. Many of them were stunning.
Now, his nation needs him.
Caps Russian goaltending prospect Simeon Varlamov suffered an ankle injury that will sideline him for the duration of the tournament, and Team Russia lost a second netminder on Sunday when Alexander Eremenko went down with a right ACL injury sustained in his team’s overtime win over the Czech Republic.
Now, Russia is down to one healthy netminder (Mikhail Biryukov) and it has applied for the insurance needed to add Nabokov to the roster. At Monday morning’s Team Russia practice, a local goaltender (Kevin Desfosses of the Quebec Remparts) from the QMJHL suited up for the Russians in practice.Big Game Coming Up –
A big Group B match between Team Canada and Team USA looms on Tuesday in Halifax. Both teams come into Tuesday’s tilt with an unblemished tournament record, having defeated Slovenia and Latvia. The Canadians outscored those two opponents by a combined 12-1 while Team USA defeated the same two teams by a combined 9-1 score.Belarus Bulks Up –
Team Belarus added four NHL players to its preliminary round roster just in time for Monday’s match with Switzerland. A trio of Montreal Canadiens (the brothers Kostitsyn; Sergei and Andrei, and Mikhail Grabovsky) and a member of the Colorado Avalanche (defenseman Ruslan Salei) joined Team Belarus after their respective teams were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Goaltender Peter Budaj – Salei’s Colorado teammate – has been added to Team Slovakia’s roster.
Here’s a quick check on the progress of the Capitals playing in the tournament:Alex Ovechkin (Russia) –
He has a goal and is plus-2 in two games while averaging 17:20 in ice time. Alexander Semin (Russia)
– Was named best Russian player for the game in his team’s 7-1 win over Italy. Semin had two goals and an assist and was a plus-4 in that game. Overall, Semin has two goals, four points and is plus-4 while skating an average of 18:43.Sergei Fedorov (Russia) –
Has an assist and is plus-3 while averaging 17:57.Simeon Varlamov (Russia) –
Injured in practice and sidelined for the tournament.
Nicklas Backstrom (Sweden) –
Had a goal and an assist and was plus-1 in Sweden’s lone game to date. Skated 20:06.Mike Green (Canada) –
Has a goal and is plus-2 while averaging 17:42 in two games.
Cristobal Huet (France) –
Was named best Team France player in his team’s 4-1 loss to Switzerland. Stopped 44 of the 48 shots he faced in that game.
Tomas Fleischmann (Czech Republic) –
Has two assists and is plus-3 while averaging 13:09 in two games.
Jakub Klepis (Czech Republic) –
Is without a point and is even while averaging 10:53 in two games.
Sami Lepisto (Finland) –
Did not dress for Finland’s opening game of the tourney. Also not in lineup for second game.Peter Guggisburg (Switzerland) –
Did not dress for Switzerland’s opening game of the tournament. Also not in lineup for second game.