Chicago, IL — Day eight for our Blackhawk players started with the Czech Republic taking on Slovenia in what ended up being a 5-1 route. The Czech Republic dominated the entire game pretty much.
Michal Kempny had a beauty of a goal, his first of the tourney. Again his great puck moving abilities were exhibited as well as he had good physical presence in the corners and the crease of his own zone. This is something which I don’t the Hawks have enough of which is why I really hope the Hawks re-sign Kempny.
With that decisive win the Czech Republic stands second in group B just behind Canada. They will next play Sunday against Team France.
Day eight was capped off by Team Sweden vs Team Italy in a 8-1 thumping. Marcus Kruger did not hit the score sheet but then again Sweden didn’t really need him to. Their next game will be Sunday against a very good Danish team.
Day nine started very early 5 AM Chicago time with Team USA taking on a very good Team Latvia. I should mention Team Latvia and the USA were tied in Group A for second coming into this game so to say it was a very important game is pretty apparent.
Team Latvia is coached by a familiar name to NHL people Bob Hartley yeah that Bob Hartley formerly of the Calgary Flames and let me just say he has this team playing very well but the true test would be against Team USA that is basically an NHL team. Yes they are young but they mostly all have NHL experience and some NHL playoff experience so don’t let their youth fool you.
I was happy to see that Nick Schmaltz made it back from injury into the line-up. Welcome back Nick he had an assist on a Nick Bjugstad goal how by getting to the net and slot area where Bjugstad was able to get a rebound but it was all set up by Schmaltz. He nearly scored on another opportunity but no.
Trevor Van Riemsdyk was in as well on the USA blue line primarily paired again with Boston Bruins D-man Charlie McAvoy. I think this pairing is great it give TVR a chance to be the veteran and maybe cover up some d zone deficiencies of a young D man who has limited NHL experience.
This experience for both Schmaltz and TVR will only help them in the development. The USA was down early 3-0 and had to find the resolve to come back and not only win the game but win it in regulation time 5-3 in a tight one. Team USA plays Sunday against Team Slovakia.
That is huge win for the USA in a tournament like this as they gained a whole 3 points on Latvia and now sits second in group A behind Team Russia. Speaking of Team Russia they were the second game of day nine.
The bad thing no Artemi Panarin. He was out of the line-up with injury and is day to day. I watched the game any way because well Team Russia is flat out fun to watch and I wanted to see how his usual line-mates Vadim Shipachyov and Evgenii Dadonov did.
Dadonov had two goals and an assist and Shipachyov ended with three assists which now vaulted him into a tie with Panarin for scoring leaders in the entire tournament.
Any NHL team looking for scoring punch I would be giving Mr. Dadonov a call unless Las Vegas GK already have. Granted he will not be getting this much room in front of the net in the NHL but the guy has skill no question
So Team Russia ended up with a 6-0 win over Slovakia that reaffirmed Russia the number one spot in Group A.
Team Russia next plays on Monday against Team Latvia but the big one everyone will be watching comes Tuesday when Team Russia plays the USA. I surely hope Artemi is back by then.
Again most games can be caught on NHL Network or NBC sports app for team USA games. Good Luck to all our Blackhawks stay healthy boys.