Archive for International Hockey
Team USA made a laugher out of their game with Switzerland today, taking a 10-1 lead in the first two periods and preserving that lead for the victory. Brandon Halverson made his first appearance in the tournament, taking over when USA was already up 8-1 halfway through the second period. Halverson made 20 saves.
The other total domination today was Finland bowling over Slovakia 8-3. Adam Huska stopped 40 shots for Slovakia, but they were no match for Finland. Aleksi Saarela added another goal to his already impressive tournament totals (3-1-4 in three games). Both Huska and Saarela have had impressive tournaments thus far.
Adam Huska (Slovakia) made 32 saves on 34 shots, but Slovakia lost to the Czech Republic 2-0 in today’s early morning game. Huska has stopped 76 of 80 shots (.950 SV%) in two games this tournament. Not bad for a seventh round pick.
Team USA lost to Sweden 1-0, another game in which Brandon Halverson did not play. Swedish goalie Linus Soderstrom (Isles property) stole this game with 46 saves. USA is 1-1 in this tournament.
Aleksi Saarela, the third and final Rangers prospect to play today, scored twice against a strong Russia team in a 6-4 loss. Finland was actually up 3-1 early in the second before giving up four straight to Russia to close out the period.
The 2016 World Junior Championships began yesterday, with the biggest shocker coming in the late game. Team USA shocked Canada by a score of 4-2 with Louie Belpedio scoring the winning goal with 3:18 left on the clock. Auston Matthews adding an insurance tally 41 seconds later.
Aleksi Saarela tallied an assist in Finland’s 6-0 dismantling of Belarus earlier in the day.
The only Rangers prospect in action today was Adam Huska for Slovakia, taking on Belarus this morning. Slovakia won the game 4-2. Huska stopped 24 of 26 shots in the win.
Sergey Zborovsky was cut from Team Russia the day before the tournament began.
The New York Rangers will have four prospects playing in this year’s World Junior Championships, held this year in Helsinki, Finland.
- USA: Brandon Halverson (2nd round, 2014)
- Finland: Aleksi Saarela (3rd, 2015)
- Russia: Sergei Zborovsky (3rd, 2015)
- Slovakia: Adam Huska (7th, 2015)
Saarela is definitely the most talented prospect the Rangers have going, with a line of 10-15-25 in just 27 games in the Finnish Liiga. Zborovsky, whom many thought was a bit of a reach in the third round, has been showing why the Rangers drafted him this high. He’s improved this season, and this will be our first real look at him on a big stage.
As for the goalies, Halverson played for the USA last year, but his use was limited. He will be fighting for the starting gig this year. Huska has been having a stellar year in the USHL, and it shows why Gordie Clarke was so happy to get him in the seventh round. It will be interesting to get a look at him against the next level of competition.
The World Cup of Hockey will be back next September in Toronto, prior to the beginning of the 2016-17 NHL season. Scouting for the national teams has already begun, with GMs and coaches announced and the expectations of rosters being set sometime in March. We’ve seen snubs and surprises in the 2014 Olympics, so let’s go over some expected changes in the rosters.
Over the next few months, before the rosters are announced, we’ll take a look at the possible additions and subtractions to the World Cup teams, and how certain countries may look different than what we expect.
Adam Graves has been appointed as Special Assistant to the General Managers of Team North America for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. Graves will report to Peter Chiarelli and Stan Bowman. Former Ranger Pat Verbeek was named as Director of Player Personnel.
Per Frank Seravalli, ex-Ranger head coach John Tortorella will be named as the head coach for Team USA for the World Cup of Hockey. Torts was fired by the Rangers after a disappointing playoff run in 2013, and was replaced by Alain Vigneault. Torts landed with the Canucks, but was fired after one season.
Per Travis Hughes, the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) is set to play its inaugural season this fall with four teams: Boston Pride, New York Riveters (based out of Long Island), Connecticut Whale, and Buffalo Beauts. There is currently a women’s team in Boston as a part of the CWHL (additional teams in Calgary, Montreal, Toronto, and Brampton), so it will be interesting to see how two women’s teams in Boston works out.
The teams will play an 18 game season, one game per week, and have two weeks of playoffs in February.
This is a big step for women’s hockey, as this will be the first paid professional league. It will be interesting to see if the league will get TV time, but I think the biggest point of interest –aside from the hockey– is to see how it will coexist with the CWHL. The CWHL doesn’t pay (as is my understanding). If the league is profitable, which is, unfortunately, the most important factor of the business (it is a business), I can see these two leagues merging at some point.
Puck Daddy has more information about the league and its commissioner Dani Rylan. Check it out as well.
The NHL and NHLPA have officially announced that ESPN will have the exclusive TV rights for the World Cup of Hockey, returning in September 2016. ESPN will air all tournament games, from round robin through the finals, with most games appearing on ESPN and ESPN2. This has been widely speculated since the announcement of the return of the tournament last month.
My best guess is that this is a feeler for both ESPN and the NHL/NHLPA. The network gets to gauge the hockey market, both locally and globally, for a possible future investment when NBC Universal’s exclusive deal is up in ten years. The league/players union gets to see how ESPN will broadcast the games, and see if a potential deal is feasible in the future.
The World Cup of Hockey is back. Gary Bettman announced the return of the tournament today, slated for September 2016. The tournament will be two weeks, beginning on September 17, 2016 at the Air Canada Center in Toronto. Eight teams will be competing in the tournament: Canada, USA, Russia, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, Team Europe (the remaining European countries not included in the “Big Four” European countries), and the North American Youngstars.
Each team will have three pre-tournament games, followed by three round robin games. The top four teams will play in a single elimination semi-finals round, and the winners will play a best of three finals. Each team will consist of 20 skaters and 3 goalies.
The plan is to have the tournament every four years.