December 31, 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: Steve Spott
|#||Player Name||Pos.||NHL Rights|
|31||Jordan Binnington||Goalie||St. Louis Blues|
|15||Anthony Camara||Forward||Boston Bruins|
|21||Phillip Danault||Forward||Chicago Blackhawks|
|27||Dougie Hamilton||Defense||Boston Bruins|
|6||Scott Harrington||Defense||Pittsburgh Penguins|
|11||Jonathan Huberdeau||Forward||Florida Panthers|
|22||Boone Jenner||Forward||Columbus Blue Jackets|
|17||J.C. Lipon||Forward||2013 Draft Eligible|
|23||Nathan MacKinnon||Forward||2013 Draft Eligible|
|24||Mark McNeill||Forward||Chicago Blackhawks|
|14||Ryan Murphy||Defense||Carolina Hurricanes|
|9||Ryan Nugent-Hopkins||Forward||Edmonton Oilers|
|16||Xavier Ouelett||Defense||Detroit Red Wings|
|1||Jake Paterson||Goalie||Detroit Red Wings|
|8||Ty Rattie||Forward||St. Louis Blues|
|28||Griffin Reinhart||Defense||New York Islanders|
|4||Morgan Rielly||Defense||Toronto Maple Leafs|
|20||Brett Ritchie||Forward||Dallas Stars|
|19||Mark Scheifele||Forward||Winnipeg Jets|
|30||Malcolm Subban||Goalie||Boston Bruins|
|18||Ryan Strome||Forward||New York Islanders|
|26||Tyler Wotherspoon||Defense||Calgary Flames|
Last year: Canada opened the scoring in every game of preliminary-round play en route to earning the top seed in Group B. In four victories, it outscored the opposition, 26-5, but was defeated by Russia in its first game of the medal round, 6-5. Canada earned the bronze medal by defeating Finland.
2013 NHL Draft watch: There are three draft-eligible players on the roster, which is a first for the Canadian National Junior Team. Linemates Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin of the Halifax Mooseheads in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League are first-year eligible, and J.C. Lipon of the Kamloops Blazers in the Western Hockey League is in his final year of eligibility after being passed over in the past two drafts. MacKinnon and Drouin are rated No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, among skaters in the QMJHL on Central Scouting's preliminary league list.
Schedule: Dec. 26, Germany, 4:30 a.m. ET (NHLN-US); Dec. 28, Slovakia, 4:30 a.m. ET (NHLN-US); Dec. 30, United States, 4:30 a.m. ET (NHLN-US); Dec. 31, Russia, 9 a.m. ET (NHLN-US).
Outlook: The NHL work stoppage has enabled Canada to stockpile some exceptional assets. Take, for instance, the addition of Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who will serve as captain. In addition to the 2012 Calder Trophy runner-up, there's Jonathan Huberdeau (Florida Panthers), Mark Scheifele (Winnipeg Jets), Ryan Strome (New York Islanders), Dougie Hamilton (Boston Bruins) and Scott Harrington (Pittsburgh Penguins). Forward Mark McNeill (Chicago Blackhawks) was a late addition when Charles Hudon (Montreal Canadiens) suffered an injury. Unlike last year's team, the Canadians are solid up the middle, but as has been the case in recent tournaments, goaltending -- Jordan Binnington (St. Louis Blues); Jake Paterson (Detroit Red Wings); Malcolm Subban (Boston Bruins) -- will make or break the team. Look for Canada to finish third in Group B.