December 28, 2012
9:00 AM Eastern
Ufa Arena, Ufa, Russia
Absent a formal gave preview, I’m including with the team rosters the NHL.com preview written for each team.
Coach: Mikhail Varnakov
|#||Player Name||Pos.||NHL Rights|
|27||Kirill Dyakov||Defense||2013 Draft Eligible|
|28||Yaroslav Dyblenko||Defense||2013 Draft Eligible|
|25||Mikhail Grigorenko||Forward||Buffalo Sabres|
|21||Kirill Kapustin||Forward||2013 Draft Eligible|
|19||Alexander Khokhlachev||Forward||Boston Bruins|
|29||Pavel Koledov||Defense||2013 Draft Eligible|
|18||Yaroslav Kosov||Forward||Florida Panthers|
|16||Nikita Kucherov||Forward||Tampa Bay Lightning|
|20||Andrei Makarov||Goalie||Buffalo Sabres|
|22||Andrei Mironov||Defense||2013 Draft Eligible|
|11||Yevgeni Mozer||Forward||2013 Draft Eligible|
|9||Nikita Nesterov||Defense||Tampa Bay Lightning|
|15||Valeri Nichushkin||Forward||2013 Draft Eligible|
|7||Artyom Sergeyev||Defense||Tampa Bay Lightning|
|8||Maxim Shalunov||Forward||Chicago Blackhawks|
|12||Andrei Sigaryov||Forward||2013 Draft Eligible|
|17||Anton Slepyshev||Forward||2013 Draft Eligible|
|14||Vladimir Tkachyov||Forward||2013 Draft Eligible|
|1||Igor Ustinski||Goalie||2013 Draft Eligible|
|30||Andrei Vasilevski||Goalie||Tampa Bay Lightning|
|10||Nail Yakupov||Forward||Edmonton Oilers|
|5||Albert Yarullin||Defense||2013 Draft Eligible|
|26||Danil Zharkov||Forward||Edmonton Oilers|
Last year: After an emotional victory over Canada in the semifinals of the medal round, Russia dropped that 1-0 decision to Sweden in the final. The Russians rallied for three straight medal-round victories against Finland, Sweden and Canada but couldn't solve Swedish goalie Johan Gustafsson, who stopped all 17 shots in his direction in the final. Russia finished second in Group A with three victories and a 4-3 overtime loss to Sweden, outscoring its foes, 23-5.
2013 NHL Draft watch: A number of top prospects will be featured, including forward Valeri Nichushkin. Nichushkin, a 6-foot-4, 196-pound right wing, is rated No. 1 in NHL Central Scouting's preliminary ranking of Russian draft-eligible skaters.
"[Nichushkin] is a big, strong two-way winger," Central Scouting Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb told NHL.com. "He's tough to stop when driving to the net from either wing -- a defenseman's nightmare in one-on-one situations when at top speed. He handles the puck well in traffic, makes good decisions in those situations. [He] has a high overall skill level and moves well for a big guy, smooth hands, good playmaker."
Schedule: Dec. 26, Slovakia, 9 a.m. ET (NHLN-US); Dec. 28, United States, 9 a.m. ET (NHLN-US); Dec. 29, Germany, 9 a.m. ET (NHLN-US); Dec. 31, Canada, 9 a.m. ET (NHLN-US).
Outlook: Edmonton Oilers prospect Nail Yakupov has a strong supporting cast around him with Mikhail Grigorenko (Buffalo Sabres), Nikita Kucherov (Tampa Bay Lightning) and Alexander Khokhlachev (Boston Bruins). Offensive-defenseman Nikita Nesterov and goalie Andrei Vasilevski, highly regarded prospects of the Lightning, should play vital roles for the host country. Russia also has goalie Andrei Makarov (Buffalo Sabres) returning between the pipes. The star-studded lineup on home ice makes Russia the odds-on favorite to finish first in Group B.
"Russia is always strong and this year's team is as strong as the gold medal-winning group two years ago," Stubb said. "The goaltending is better now."
Coach: Phil Housley
|#||Player Name||Pos.||NHL Rights|
|16||Riley Barber||Forward||Washington Capitals|
|18||Cole Bardreau||Forward||Free Agent|
|22||Tyler Biggs||Forward||Toronto Maple Leafs|
|15||Alex Galchenyuk||Forward||Montreal Canadiens|
|13||John Gaudreau||Forward||Calgary Flames|
|35||John Gibson||Goalie||Anaheim Ducks|
|30||Jon Gillies||Goalie||Calgary Flames|
|14||Shayne Gostisbehere||Defense||Philadelphia Flyers|
|23||Rocco Grimaldi||Forward||Florida Panthers|
|21||Ryan Hartman||Forward||2013 Draft Eligible|
|3||Seth Jones||Defense||2013 Draft Eligible|
|7||Sean Kuraly||Forward||San Jose Sharks|
|12||Mario Lucia||Forward||Minnesota Wild|
|19||Jake McCabe||Defense||Buffalo Sabres|
|10||J.T. Miller||Forward||New York Rangers|
|5||Connor Murphy||Defense||Phoenix Coyotes|
|20||Blake Pietila||Forward||New Jersey Devils|
|6||Mike Reilly||Defense||Columbus Blue Jackets|
|29||Garrett Sparks||Goalie||Toronto Maple Leafs|
|25||Vince Trocheck||Forward||Florida Panthers|
|8||Jacob Trouba||Defense||Winnipeg Jets|
|26||Jim Vesey||Forward||Nashville Predators|
Last year: The U.S. team is coming off a seventh-place finish, its worst showing since finishing eighth in 1999. An 11-3 victory over Denmark in its opening game was followed by losses to Finland (4-1), Czech Republic (5-2) and Canada (3-2). The Americans needed a 12-2 victory over Latvia in their opener of the relegation round in order to secure a position in the top division of this year's tournament.
2013 NHL Draft watch: There are two promising 2013 draft prospects on the roster: defenseman Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks in the WHL and forward Ryan Hartman of the Plymouth Whalers in the OHL. Jones likely would have been a member of last year's team if not for a shoulder injury he sustained in the last exhibition game. The son of former NBA player Popeye Jones is rated No. 1 among WHL skaters in NHL Central Scouting's preliminary league rankings. Over the summer, Jones (6-foot-3.5, 208 pounds) served as captain for the U.S. team at the World Under-18 Championship, totaling eight points in six games as the United States won the gold medal. Hartman is No. 11 among skaters in the OHL. The versatile 5-11, 187-pound forward made a big impression on the U.S. managerial team at training camp.
Schedule: Dec. 27, Germany, 9 a.m. ET (NHLN-US); Dec. 28, Russia, 9 a.m. ET (NHLN-US); Dec. 30, Canada, 4:30 a.m. ET (NHLN-US); Dec. 31, Slovakia, 5 a.m. ET (NHLN-US).
Outlook: The only time last year's finish was even discussed during training camp was when the media inquired about it. The biggest difference in this year's group is the enthusiasm and energy each player is willing to exert every practice and each shift. The three returnees -- defenseman Jacob Trouba, forward J.T. Miller and goaltender John Gibson -- are ready to lead by example. Expect the Americans to rebound in a big way and earn a second-place finish in Group B.