Lafreniere Hurt, Canada Humbled 6-0 By Russia at World Juniors
World Cup of Hockey game updates, Team USA face “must-win” situation & more in your NHL morning headlines.
NHL.COM: A potential game-tying goal by Team Russia’s Alex Ovechkin with seven seconds remaining in the third period was waved off upon review as Team Sweden held on for a 2-1 victory in World Cup of Hockey preliminary round play. Ovechkin, who scored Russia’s only goal, had his second goal overturned when video review revealed he knocked the puck into the Swedish goal with his hand. Ovechkin claimed the puck struck his stick after he batted it down with his hand before entering the net.
The Swedes took a 2-0 lead on second-period goals by Gabe Landeskog and Victor Hedman. Ovechkin got the Russians within one at 19:27 of the third. Swedish goalie Jacob Markstrom, filling in for a sidelined Henrik Lundqvist (flu), made 27 saves for the win.
Team North America got goals from Jack Eichel, Johnny Gaudreau, Jonathan Drouin and Nathan MacKinnon as they cruised to a 4-1 win over Team Finland. The North Americans nearly had four more as Finnish goalie Pekka Rinne struggled between the pipes. One shot struck the goalpost, two near-goals were swept away by his defense and a goal was waived off due to goalie interference.
NEW YORK POST: If Team Europe defeats the Czech Republic this afternoon and Team USA loses to Team Canada on Tuesday, the Americans will be eliminated from the World Cup of Hockey. Team USA suffered a 3-0 upset loss to Team Europe during its preliminary round opener on Saturday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The American management is coming under criticism for the composition of the roster, relying too much on physical players at the expense of team speed. They’re also being criticized for naming John Tortorella as head coach, who faced second-guessing for his decision to scratch big offensive blueliner Dustin Byfuglien from the lineup against Team Europe. If the Americans are eliminated tomorrow, expect significant changes in the process of selecting management, coaches and players for future Team USA pro rosters.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: As former Sabres forward Thomas Vanek faces a career crossroads, he’s enjoying his opportunity to play for Team Europe in the World Cup of Hockey. He’s also looking forward to joining the Detroit Red Wings this season. Bought out by the Minnesota Wild in June, Vanek signed a one-year contract with the Wings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Vanek doesn’t significantly improve this season, his NHL playing days will be over.
NBC SPORTS: Dallas Stars forward Radek Faksa is listed as day-to-day after suffering an upper-body injury skating for Team Czech Republic in his 6-0 loss to Team Canada on Saturday.
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH: A potential impasse in Vladimir Sobotka’s efforts to buy his way out of his KHL contract could prevent him from rejoining the Blues this season. Sobotka spent the last two seasons playing for Avangard Omsk, who reportedly require a fee from him before agreeing to a buyout.
THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche prospect forward Mika Rantanen will miss the next two-to-four weeks with an ankle injury.
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