Category Archives: KHL

Chicago Blackhawks – Casting Central Minnesota Wild

Chicago, IL — Next up I am looking at the Minnesota Wild who Hawks fans are probably very familiar with from not only being a Central Division rival but a post season foe for several years.

While the Hawks have had their way with the Wild in the post season in the recent past, this year the Wild had the upper hand in the regular season winning the series with the Hawks 3-2 and making the post season.

Again we see the Hawks only got 4 point out of a potential of 10 so not even 50% which won’t land you in the playoffs.

If there is any consolation the Wild are now out in five games having run into a very talented, young Winnipeg Jets team.

Like the Hawks I look for the Wild to making changes this offseason if they want to compete in the Central. I would also say they are one of the oldest teams in the NHL certainly in the Central.1

All the previous teams I looked at even including the Hawks are all younger than the Wild with the Avs being the youngest in the NHL.

But like the Hawks the Wild have contracts that are pretty much not movable and also involve their core players like Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, Mikko Koivu who are all this side of 30.

Matt Cullen who is in his 40’s will most likely retire.

The Wild is one team I considered last summer as one that really got hurt by the Las Vegas expansion draft. They moved Erik Haula and prospect Alex Tuch  and lost a lot of speed and youth in the process.

Both players have done well with the Golden Knights and have played key roles this year in Vegas and contributed to that team’s success. So we see all teams have what I would call moments where they want a “do-over”.

The lesson to be learned for all teams is before you give up on young talents you better be truly sure they can not help your team, but I will move on because all teams make mistakes in judgements and assessments of players that is easy to see in hindsight.

The Wild also have to think of their future with 9 UFA/RFA coming up in 2018. They are : 5 Forwards incl Jason Zucker and Matt Cullen; 3D Dumba being one & 1 G Niklas Svedberg. In 2018 both Zucker and Dumba each had 2mil contracts and are both in for raises.

Nick Seeler D coming off ELC so if the Wild want to keep him which I’m sure they do they will have to ante up for him as well. Ah got to love that Cap.

.The Wild are already cap strapped depending on where the Cap rises to someone on the team may need to be moved so they may not have been able to afford Haula anyway.

A couple of years back the Wild moved on from Mike Yeo who is now coaching the St. Louis Blues which I will look at later in this series and went with Bruce Boudreau so the Wild style has changed a bit.

I also heard what I thought was an interesting comment on NHL Network sorry I don’t recall who said it but it was essentially the Wild have been so consumed with focusing on the Chicago Blackhawks rightfully so, they dispatched them three years in a row in the playoffs, that they did forget to focus on the other Central Divisions teams like the Jets, Predators ect.. valuable lessons learned for all here.

So Lets look at the Wild from Offense to Defense.

Nine players on the team had above 10% shooting percentage.2 Overall as a team they were 10% in team shooting.  35% of their shots were missed and missed wide so they were probably shooting for posts.

What I found interesting was the largest % of goals came from wristers 55%.

The rest of the shots like snap shots, tipped, deflections, slap shots and backhanders were all evenly pretty evenly used.

Snapshots and backhands were 10% of their goals with Slap shots and tips @9% and finally deflections were 6%.

So again in summary so far the Avs use deceptive shots and Dallas uses a variety of shots which the Wild are more like the Stars in using variety with more of an emphasis on wrist shots.

The Wild ended the regular season ranked 11th in goals for and 27th in Shot per game and  16th in Face offs. So they are pretty accurate overall as a team in shooting so you probably don’t want to give them too much room or get the stick in their way.

Special Teams middling 18th PP  – 13th PK. The Wild were also one of the worse Corsi teams so again they are not a puck possession team.

Defensively The Wild ended the regular season ranked 11 th in GA and in SAG last year so pretty consistent here. I would say they have changed a bit from a trapping team to a more of a block and collapsing team to the house like the Avs.

The Wild were last overall in hits so they are not going to muscle you and 5th overall in block shots. Overall they are pretty balanced between offense and defense

Now lets look at their future.

The Wild did not have any first round picks in 2017 or 2013 and I already said their 2014 pick in now in Vegas. Their 2012 pick was their only top ten first round pick so you can bet they will be holding on to Dumba. The bolded picks are playing on the Wild currently.

None Kunin-F Eriksson-EK-F Tuch-F None Dumba-D

Prospects Kirill Kaprizov is currently in KHL with CSKA down in series 1-3 going for the Gagrin Cup.  He is a highly skilled offensive talent that is probably NHL ready but he’s under contract with CSKA til 2020 so luckily we will not be seeing him in Central any time soon. He has Panarin potential so lets hope he stays in the KHL.

Mike Reilly – the UFA they signed remember him? The Hawks wanted him too but the Wild won him and have since flipped him to the Montreal Canadians for a 5th rd draft pick in 2019 so there you go. He was signed by the Wild as a free agent after his junior season at the University of Minnesota. He had been previously drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 4th round of the 2011 draft.  Columbus tried to sign him, but Reilly exercised his draft rights to expire to declare free agency.

Luke, Kunin –  has tremendous upside up the middle if he can return to form after suffering an ACL injury which sidelined him half the year. He spent time in the AHL Wild to get conditioning and back up to speed. He is a scorer so look out.

Jordan Greenway – Is just a physical beast & true power forward and something the Wild lack and could sorely use. He will help them with possession and board battles for sure.  He elected to leave NCAA Boston Univ and turn pro this year.

Louis Delpedio – Offensive defenseman with tons of skill to power plays. Probably needs work on the defensive side as most rookies do. Scouting reports say he has a very good shot and could assist the wild on special teams.

Eriksson-EK – a big Swedish center who may need time in the NHL to get used to the North American game and style. He is still young, and his skillset is very desirable and hopefully he will only get better for the Wild.

So the Wild have some decisions to make as to what will get them over the hump because now it isn’t just the Hawks they have to worry about but the entire central and how does their style translate let alone transcend which they so far have not been successful in figuring out.

Next up will be taking a look at the Nashville Predators.

  1. Taken from The Athletic article by James Mirtle entitled Sizing up the NHL: 2017-2018 NHL teams by age, height and weight.
  2. taken from



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NHL – My Las Vegas Golden Knights

Chicago, IL — Ok Vegas you are on the clock. In what has to be the most entertaining of things we all get to play NHL GM with an expansion team. Let me just say being GM is not easy. I do not envy George McPhee or coach Gerald Galant.

I quickly pulled this together with not a whole lot of thought or research since the unprotected lists came out this morning and boy I had a hard time as there is several ways you can go.

Surprisingly there were some teams that failed to protect some really good assets I’m looking at you Minnesota, Saint Louis, Florida, Columbus and NY both teams. While others left you with hardly anything to choose from looking at you Edmonton, Arizona & San Jose.

Ok let me just say my list is based on a couple of philosophies. One I can make trades with any team I want and there are so many that need quality goalies or back-ups and defenseman.

two if I was a GM in the Pacific I would definitely not be kind to teams in my division and would not bargain with them. For example it is rumored that Anaheim while leaving Sami Vatanen unprotected a deal was cut with Vegas to not take him.

Hmmm a quality 26yr old NHL D man that I would have to face in my division ah NO ANAHEIM sorry I will take Mr. Vatanen thank you very much for my team. As you can see I would not play nice especially in my division or conference.

So Here is who I would take:


Arizona – Alexander Burmistrov C 25 yrs old * RFA

Calgary – Troy Brouwer RW 31 yr old

Colorado – Mikhail Grigorenko C 23 yrs old * UFA

Columbus – William Karlsson C 24 yrs old

Florida – Jonathan Marchessault C 26 yrs old

Montreal – Charles Hudon LW 22 yrs old

Nashville – James Neal RW 29 yrs old

New Jersey – Devante Smith Pelly RW 24 yrs old

NYI – Brock Nelson LW 25 yrs old

NYR – Oscar Lindberg C 25yrs old *RFA

STL – David Perron LW 29 yrs old

San Jose – Barclay Goodrow RW 22 yrs old *RFA

Toronto – Kerby Rychel LW 22 yrs old

Vancouver – Brendan Gaunce C 23 yrs old *RFA

Winnipeg – Marko Dano C/W 22 yrs old


Anaheim – Sami Vatanen   26 yrs old

Chicago – Trevor Van Riemsdyk   25 yrs old

Dallas – Dan Hamhuis  34 yrs old

Detroit – Xavier Ouellet 23 yrs old RFA

Edmonton-  Griffin Reinhart 23 yrs old RFA

Los Angeles –  Brayden McNabb 26 yrs old

Minnesota – Marco Scandella 27 yrs old

Ottawa – Marc Methot 31 yrs old

Tampa – Andre Sustr  26 yrs old RFA

Washington – Karl Alzner 28 yrs old UFA


Boston – Malcomb Subban  23 yrs old * RFA

Buffalo – Anders Nilsson  23 yrs old *UFA

Philadelphia – Michael Neuvirth – 29 yrs old

Pittsburgh – Marc Andre Fleury – 32 yrs old

Ok the bolded UFA/RFA are the ones that have contracts expiring now so I would work a deal to extend them if possible. The players in green are definetly on my team and not being traded unless there is some serious pay back for me. The rest are negotiable and would be used as trade bait.

My teams current Cap hit is 10,405,001 under but remember you have to deduct Vadim Shipachyov’s 4.5 mil salary which leaves approx. close to 6 mil left to sign those UFA/RFA’s.

Try TSN’s draft simulator which was updated today with all of the available players. Have fun.

Of the UFA/RFA’s I would make every effort to sign Grigorenko, Lindberg & Sustr. If I had money left I would seriously try to convince the Russians to either come over or sign.

My first order would be to get Evgeni Dadanov out of the KHL and I would strongly think about Radulov or Kovalchuk . If I could not get any of these I would be looking at Patrick Sharp or Justin Williams as both have Stanley Cup experience.

I love that D with the highlighted players my avg D age is 27 which is perfect.

The forwards have a lot of young talent with Rychel, Marchessault, Hudon, Smith-Pelly ect with some veterans like Brouwer, Perron and Neal.

This was fun and difficult. I’m interested to see what Vegas does and the deals they make and what their final roster looks like.

Welcome to the fun Vegas not that your any stranger to that but looking forward to my Chicago Blackhawks playing you and a trip to Las Vegas is always called for.

Good Luck to you and go burn up that Pacific Division.





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Chicago Blackhawks – IIHF Men’s World Championships Semi-Finals

Chicago, IL — Heading into the Semi Final games today there were some classic rivalries scheduled with Team Russia taking on Team Canada and the second tilt Team Sweden taking on Team Finland. Now you could not ask for any better match-ups as far as rivalry goes.

The best of these was the Team Russia vs Team Canada match-up. It featured the classic opposite styles with Team Russia playing the European puck possession game vs Team Canada and their straight ahead north south North American style physical game.

Although I thought Team Canada would win simply because Team USA seemed to handle Team Russia pretty well and they really did not match up well against the North American game I was still rooting for Team Russia because of Artemi Panarin.

Sorry Team Canada you don’t have any Chicago Blackhawks on your team it’s nothing personal.

Panarin was on the third line with Nikita Kucherov and Evgeni Kuznetsov. Namestnikov was in the game but Russian coach Oleg Znarok decided to stick with the same line that ended last game when Namestnikov was replace due to injury.

Canada was the home team and thus had last change so Jon Cooper pitted a line of Alex Killorn, Sean Couturier and Matt Duchene to keep in check Panarin’s line as they were the only true NHL line.

The Canadian line did a pretty good job of keeping the Kurcherov, Panarin, Kuznetsov line in check but with all that skill you knew it would only be a matter of time til they busted through.

Watching the Russian passing plays is like watching the Bolshoi ballet it is so rhythmic and beautifully orchestrated and on this day the choreographer was Artemi Panarin.

There was a gorgeous tic tac goal play from Kucherov to Panarin who went cross ice to a waiting Kuznetsov by the side of the net for easy tap into an open net to get the scoring started.

Team Russia had a lot of chances on the power play early and were stopped however they finally broke through when maestro Panarin got things rolling into the Canadian zone setting up another tic tac goal play. This time it was Panarin to Shipachyov to Guzev and just like that it was 2-0 Team Russia.

The third period however was all Canada as they mounted what has to be a heartbreaking comeback for Russia to win the game 4-2 in regulation. The partisan Russian crowd looked very disappointed and can you blame them Russia led through most of the game.

So Team Russia will now be relegated to playing for the Bronze medal tomorrow against Team Finland. Team Russia should be favored in this game but you never know.

Panarin added two more assists to his total which keeps him in the lead in scoring but I’m sure Artemi would’ve rather won the game.

So Panarin ended the game with 2 apples, 2 SOG and 16:45 TOI. Panarin has 4G and 12A so far in the tournament with one more game to go. Panarin was named one of three players of the game for Team Russia.

His ice time was limited in the third period with all the penalties Team Russia took while Canada did not score on them they did however keep out of the game their more skilled offensive players as they were forced to penalty kill.

Seven penalties is too many and this is something Team Russia needs to clean up as they ran into the same problem against Team USA.

The second Semi Final game saw Team Sweden easily defeating Team Finland 4-1. This game was a typical Sweden vs Finland game tight checking and defense first type game. Yet Team Sweden managed to close this out pretty easy.

Marcus Kruger got on the score sheet with an assist on old buddy Joakim Nordstrom’s goal. Kruger and company have now punched their ticket for the opportunity to play Team Canada for the Gold medal tomorrow.

The Bronze medal game will be first at approximately 9:00 Am Chicago time and then the Gold medal game will be 1:00pm CT. You can catch these games on either NHL Network or the NBC sports app.

Good Luck Artemi and Marcus!

Video taken from YouTube IIHF

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Chicago Blackhawks – IIHF Men’s World Championships Quarterfinals

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:

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



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Chicago Blackhawks – IIHF Men’s Worlds Day 12 Team USA vs Team Russia

Chicago, IL — Day 12 had scheduled another match-up of Team USA vs Team Russia for the bragging right of being #1 in Group A and maybe more importantly for the winner to plant a seed of doubt should they meet again.

Whenever you have these two teams playing each other it always has the potential to be a classic and this one did not disappoint. It was everything I thought it would be and more.

I had some questions of my own I wanted to see and hoped I would get answers to and I did.

Firstly could a young fast USA team beat a seasoned Russian team on big ice?  Would the NHL/North American game translate to big ice?

How would our Blackhawks on both sides do? I was really curious how Artemi Panarin would do against an NHL team and how Nick Schmaltz would do against a skilled veteran Russian team.

Team USA maybe young, but they are fast, resilient and most of all fierce. Facing what was a Russian favored crowd and having to come back from being behind three times they answered the call and stepped it up when they needed to. When they took the lead they never looked back.

You basically had a NHL team in Team USA against a mix of NHL/KHLers for Team Russia but you would have to say that the USA would be an underdog on big ice. Well taking away time and space I guess works no matter what ice you are playing on.

Team Russia is very good in transition which did burn Team USA on several occasions. This is something they will need to tighten up going forward. Watching these two great skating teams was fun.

Coming into the game Artemi Panarin was the tournaments leading scorer with 13 points and Team USA kept him from getting any points while handing Team Russia its first defeat.

What I found interesting was Panarin and his line of Nikita Kucherov and Vladislov Namestnikov were put up against Schmaltz’s line with Dylan Larkin and Brock Nelson.

Now I’m not sure if this was Team Russia’s decision or Team USA’s choice,  but we all see how this turned out. For the most part Schmaltz covered this line pretty well he had one slip up where Kucherov schooled him but in the end it was Schmaltz’s line that had the final say.

Schmaltz had no points himself but either did Panarin. Larkin and Nelson ended up with goals so Artemi’s line was -2. I’d say they did pretty well defensively covering Team Russia’s only true NHL line.

Panarin had a glorious chance late to tie up the game when shorthanded he stepped on the ice and sticked the puck past a defender and was stopped on a breakaway by Jimmy Howard. From there with Vasilevski pulled Nelson potted an empty netter for the 5-3 final.

I’m sure no one feels worse than Panarin for missing what was a golden opportunity.

As a side note Team USA management is Stan Bowman and Dale Tallon. Yeah I’m sure Bowman was there taking in this one.

Trevor Van Riemsdyk only played one minute yes that is correct. Must be punishment for his getting turned inside out the day.

Team Russia took to many stick penalties and were a bit undisciplined. There is no question Team Russia plays with passion maybe a little too much passion and emotion and Team USA made them pay. They played like professionals all the way. Team Russia was getting frustrated as the Americans kept them pinned in their own zone which is not where Team Russia wants to play.

But if these two teams meet up again which is highly likely don’t expect Team Russia to make these same mistakes.

In paying attention to Panarin and Schmaltz I think while they both are very talented they each can still improve their games.

Artemi Panarin is so gifted but he does need to play in the NHL. Watching this tournament he will only be challenged in the NHL,  and if he wants to keep developing his game the NHL is where he can achieve this. He just needs to learn how to make room when none is given on the ice and maybe work on the defensive side of the puck.

For Schmaltz I’d say he needs to get stronger on the puck on the boards and shoot baby shoot. He may need to bulk up a bit but other than that he is good. His on ice vision is very good and tournaments like this will only help him in development.

With this win Team USA now will play Team Finland who ended up fourth in Group B.  Team Russia will now take on Team Czech Republic who finished third in group B. Team Sweden who finished third in Group A will now play team Switzerland who finished second in Group B.

The medal rounds start on Thursday. Good Luck to all the Blackhawks!

Video taken from You Tube IIHF



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Chicago Blackhawks – IIHF Men’s World Championship Day 10 & 11

Chicago, IL — We are winding down in the preliminary round of the IIHF tournament. Day 10 saw several games with our Blackhawks in them. The first of which was Team USA taking on Team Slovakia.

Not much happened in this game for our Hawks as the USA went on to a 6-1 landslide. Nick Schmaltz did not hit the score sheet.

There was one play where Trevor Van Riemsdyk  I’m sure would like to have back. He zigged when he should have zagged thus letting attacker in behind him and it accounted for the only goal against. Luckily Team USA only needed one point and still got three to advance to second round.

The real test for Team USA will come Tuesday against Team Russia who has been rolling and looks almost unstoppable.

The second game with our Hawks in it was Team Czech Republic thumping 5-2 Team France. Michal Kempny had an assist on of our Repik”s two goals. The win put Czech Republic in second place in Group B and moving them into the second round.

Lastly Team Sweden defeated Team Denmark 4-2 which saw Marcus Kruger with a set up of Joel Lundqvist on Sweden’s first goal.  With the win Sweden is now in third place in group A behind Teams Russia and USA. They will advance to the second round.



Day 11 only had Team Russia vs Team Latvia for our Blackhawk players. Luckily Artemi Panarin was back from his upper body injury and to say he dominated the game was an understatement. He was all over the ice in a total domination by Team Russia of 5-0 over a very good Latvian team.

Artemi ended up with three assists which put him back into the scoring lead with 13 points for the tournament. He also had new line mates in what you’d have to call a NHL line with Vladislov Namestnikov and Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Let’s just say they clicked pretty well. The line ended up with seven points. Panarin set up D man Bogdan Kiselevich for the first Russian goal and it was an offensive onslaught  for the remainder of the game.

Surprisingly the contest was pretty testy especially around the Latvian crease.

Panarin had a beauty of a cross ice pass to Namestnikov on a two on one which the Latvian goalie had no chance on. This goal was actually on the power play but it was a thing of beauty.

Maybe only rivaled by Panarin’s final assist from behind the Latvian goal line to set up Kucherov in the slot which again the goalie had not chance on. As the Canadian announcer said Wow yeah that pretty much summed up that set up. By this time the game was firmly controlled by Team Russia.

Panarin actually had several more opportunities but they just didn’t get buried. For how good Team Latvia has been there really was never any doubt as Team Russia controlled the tempo and puck the entire game.

The real test for Team Russia will be tomorrow in what should be a dandy against Team USA. It will be interesting to see who comes out of this one with the lead in Group A.

Team Russia is only getting stronger with the additions of Washington Capitals Dmitri Orlov and Yevgeni Kuznetsov. So Team Russia is pretty much a mix of KHL/NHL high end talents. Team USA is fast, very fast. If there is one team however that can rival them both in skating and stick handling it is Team Russia.

Team USA probably is the faster skating team but Team Russia is probably the more creative skating team with all of their turns and cut backs, lets just hope the ice is good so it does not hamper either teams skating skills.

Both teams are very good with their sticks but I would probably give the edge to Team USA here especially along the boards but give Team Russia the edge in creativity of making plays.

I would assume Vasilevski will be in net for Russia and Howard for the USA. It should be a great game. If you can I would advise tuning into NHL Network at 9 AM CT to catch this contest as each goes for the right to lead group A. Both teams are already into the second round so this is just for bragging rights.

Video taken from You Tube belonging to IIHF.

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Chicago Blackhawks – IIHF Men’s Worlds days 8 & 9 how did they do?

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.





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