Hockey late last night.
Two games tonight! We got:
Stars @ Blues, 8:00ET, Blues lead 2-1
Sharks @ Predators, 9:00ET, Sharks lead 2-1
Actual name: Canada
Do I know any of these people? Brad Marchand, of course. A lot of Canada’s NHL superstars will give the WHC a pass, but it’s Canada so there’s still talent aplenty. Connor McDavid (EDM), Taylor Hall (EDM), Max Domi (ARI), and Mathew Dumba (MIN), to name a few. Team Canada is the only team in the WHC whose entire roster comes from the NHL.
Possible NHL reinforcements: Oodles, but expect the younger ones. Perhaps Jamie Benn (DAL), Ryan Johansen (NAS), John Tavares (NYI), Derrick Pouliot (PIT), Justin Schultz (PIT), or Martin Jones (SJS).
Jersey grade: C
The Team Canada jerseys have always felt corporate-looking and boring to me. It’s possible that they’re using these jerseys instead, which would be an improvement:
Actual name: Росси́я (Rossija)
Do I know any of these people? Definitely. Right now about half of Russia’s roster unsurprisingly comes from the KHL, but there’s a ludicrous amount of firepower that can come over from the NHL Playoffs. Russia is pretty much the Dallas Stars of the WHC – lots of offense but not much defense or goaltending. NHLers on Russia’s roster at the moment include Pavel Datsyuk (DET?), Nail Yakupov (EDM), Semyon Varlamov (COL), Sergei Bobrovsky (CBJ), Alexei Emelin (MON), and others. If you want a last look at Maxim Chudinov before he ditches the Bruins, here’s your chance. You have a chance to see how Alex Semin is doing these days.
Possible NHL reinforcements Valeri Nichushkin (DAL), Nikolai Kulemin (RUS), Evgeni Malkin (PIT), Vladimir Tarasenko (STL), Nikita Kucherov (TBL), Vadislav Namestnikov (TBL), Nikita Nesterov (TBL), Andre Vasilevskiy (TBL), Alex Ovechkin (WAS), Evgeny Kuznetzov (WAS), Stanislav Galiev (WAS), Dimitry Orlov (WAS). If the Capitals and Lightning are eliminated in Round Two, that’ll be a lot of very angry and very talented players coming over.
Jersey grade: B+
Just the right amount of ostentatiousness. The imperial look suits Team Russia well. The lettering is a nice touch.
While the Stanley Cup Playoffs are in full swing, there’s another major hockey tournament about to start – the IIHF World Hockey Championships.
It’s the world’s most prestigious annual international ice hockey tournament and it’s a major point of national pride for hockey-loving Europeans. It’s also a great opportunity to watch players from the European leagues, especially the KHL, Swedish Elite League, and Finnish Elite League. In North America, the WHC is seen somewhat as the “loser’s tournament”, as players who get eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs often make their way over to Europe for the WHC. It gives the tournament a sort of Royal Rumble feel, with new contestants entering the tournament as it progresses. It’s also one of the three events required for the Triple Gold Club: a Stanley Cup Championship, an Olympic Gold Medal, and a World Hockey Championship gold medal. Patrice Bergeron is a member of the Triple Gold Club, along with such luminaries as Sidney Crosby, Jaromir Jagr, Niklas Lidstrom, Igor Larionov, and Håkan Loob.
Only one game tonight and it’s the Washington Capitals at the Pittsburgh Penguins. Why didn’t the NHL start either the St Louis or San Jose series a day later to do two and two? Good going NHL. Continue reading