Chicago, IL –Finally the tournament got to the secondary rounds and on this day it did not do well for Team USA who got shut out by Team Finland 2-0 and were thus eliminated from the tournament after winning top spot in group A.
You’d have to say that was a fail but give Team Finland credit. Not sure if Team USA was over confident after defeating Team Russia or they just had a bad day.
Our Blackhawks ended their tourney with Nick Schmaltz having 3 assists in total in six games played as he missed one day due to injury. Trevor Van Riemsdyk did not have the best of outings as he saw his minutes diminished as the tournament went on.
Still for both it was a good developmental experience. The one thing that stood out to me was Schmaltz needs to shoot more and just keep working on getting stronger. TVR maybe work on foot speed and skating. Good job guys representing hope you enjoyed your time in Cologne. See you at the convention I hope.
So Finland moves onto play Team Sweden who defeated Team Switzerland 3-1. So we have the classic rivalry once again renewed with Finland against Sweden.
Marcus Kruger did not hit the score sheet for Sweden but as I’ve said before Sweden does not really need him to. Sweden will probably be the favorite but you can never discount the Finns as Team USA just found out.
Team Russia faced Team Czech Republic and defeated them 3-0 in another showcase of their firepower.
The Czech team actually started off well and seemed to employ the USA model for playing in the Russian zone but the Russian team is so skilled and with their quick strike and fast transition game it proved to be too much for Team Czech Republic.
With Team Czech Republic now eliminated from the tournament Michal Kempny ended the event with 2G and 1A in seven games. All in all I thought he was solid and jumped into plays in the offensive zone throughout the tournament. I see a progression in his overall game from when he first came to the Hawks.
I sincerely hope he does get re-signed by the Hawks. To let him go would be a mistake in my opinion. He brings a physicality which the Hawks lack on the back end and he is pretty good on the power play as well. Good tournament Mr. Kempny.
Ah now onto Team Russia and our Breadman. Artemi Panarin was again placed on the third line with Tampa Bay Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov and Vladislov Namestnikov until Namestnikov left the game when he blocked a shot on the penalty kill. He was replaced by Evgeni Kuznetsov for the remainder of the game.
Russia struck fast on a breakaway goal by Gusev and then a power play goal by Kucherov. As I said it doesn’t take much for Team Russia to make you pay.
Panarin had some great chances in the second and third periods after going shotless in the first period.
In the second period he was robbed by the Czech goalie on his patented one timer and then he had rush up ice but hit the post so nothing for Artemi.
The third period saw him have another glorious chance on a breakaway but he couldn’t get control of the puck and missed the net. After these prime opportunities that he missed you could tell he was getting frustrated.
His talent though is just too much to keep suppressed for too long. He finally broke through with a goal on a beautiful 2 on 1 with Kucherov who set him up perfectly and pretty much sealed Russia’s ticket to the Semi Final round.
Panarin still leads all scorers with 14 points now followed by his current linemate Kucherov with 13 points. Artemi ended the game with 1 goal on 4 SOG and 17 + minutes of ice time.
After the game there was an interview with Russian media where you can see Panarin is very hard on himself for missing those opportunities. That’s ok Artemi it just shows us you are human.
Here is the link to the article by Russian hockey: http://fhr.ru/en/main/ofnews/card/?id_4=13661
He and Team Russia will now face Team Canada who defeated host Germany in a 2-1 win to set up another classic semi-final game. All the semi final games will not be played until Saturday so the teams can recoup and get ready for the next opponent.
I’ve got to say I have thoroughly enjoyed this tournament. For Team Russia to defeat Team Canada they will need to clean up their stick infractions and maybe cut down on over passing and tighten their defense in their own zone and they should be fine.
A few observations is that there is a lot of talent overseas and particularly watching Team Russia there are two that really stood out to me Sergei Andronov and Alexander Barabanov, who reminds me of a junior Panarin and he also plays on the PK. Now I have no idea if they want to come to the NHL but there is plenty of talent there and in the KHL.
Also on smaller hockey countries like Switzerland, Latvia, Germany ect.. there is plenty of talent and skill there you just might need to develop it for the NHL a bit.
Speaking of developing talent it was announced that the head coach for the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate Rockford IceHogs was hired. Jeremy Colliton who is coming fresh off of a coaching gig in Sweden. So there is talent even off the ice abroad.
I will be blogging on this in more detail later and what it means to the Blackhawks organization from a big picture perspective.
I’m glad this tournament does not play on Friday as the CHL Memorial Cup Tournament is starting on Friday with the St. John Sea Dogs taking on the Windsor Spitfires.
So Hawks fans tune in to see some Hawks prospects Matthew Highmore and Nathan Noel for the Sea Dogs and Graham Knott for the Spitfires. If you can’t I will try to cover in this blog.
Good Luck to all our Blackhawks and Blackhawks prospects aboard and here in North America.
Video taken from YouTube – IIHF