Team Europe’s Leon Draisaitl scores in overtime against Team Czech Republic in World Cup of Hockey preliminary action.
World Cup of Hockey scores and updates, latest on Valeri Nichushkin & more in your NHL morning headlines.
NHL.COM: Leon Draitsaitl’s overtime breakaway goal lifted Team Europe to a 3-2 victory over Team Czech Republic in World Cup of Hockey preliminary round play. Mats Zuccarello assisted on Draisaitl’s goal and also tallied earlier in the third period.
The European squad is now 2-0 in Group A, putting pressure on Team USA to defeat Team Canada tonight or fail to reach the semifinal. The Czechs picked up a point but need help if they’re to advance in the tournament.
Team Russia got four second period goals from Vladislav Namestnikov, Nikita Kucherov, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Vladimir Tarasenko and held on for a 4-3 victory over Team North America. Auston Matthews, Morgan Rielly and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored for Team North America, but goalie Matt Murray was driven from the net in the second period.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Team Europe has proven thus far to be the surprise club of the World Cup, as this largely veteran-laden squad made up of players from eight countries wasn’t expected to have much chance against younger, deeper clubs in this tournament. As for the North Americans, defensive breakdowns against the Russians proved costly. Their inexperience was evident in this game.
SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad suffered a mild concussion playing for Team North America against Finland in the World Cup of Hockey. He was sidelined for the North Americans game against the Russians.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ekblad’s absence was also a contributing factor in the North Americans loss to the Russians.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars restricted free agent winger Valeri Nichushkin is reportedly on the verge of signing a two-year contract with CSKA Moscow of the KHL. A report out of Russia claiming Nichushkin didn’t like playing for Stars coach Lindy Ruff was denied by Dallas GM Jim Nill.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sounds like this move could also be a pressure tactic by the Nichushkin camp to pressure Nill into making the winger a better offer. Given Nichushkin’s struggles and the fact he’s coming off an entry-level contract, it’s doubtful the Stars will give in to such pressure. If Nichushkin bolts, Nill’s addition of veteran winger Jiri Hudler this summer will take on more importance in the upcoming season.
NEWSDAY: While New York Islanders RFA winger Ryan Strome has until September 22 to re-sign or face missing the upcoming season, he’s confident he’ll be under contract and attending training camp. The Isles have a policy of cutting off all negotiations with their RFAs if unsigned when training camp opens.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been an effective tactic by the Isles, as it sets a hard deadline for their RFAs to re-sign and avoids negotiations dragging on through training camp.
TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild invited unrestricted free agent Tomas Fleischmann to training camp on a tryout basis.
THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks signed UFA forward Jack Skille to a professional tryout offer.
NBC SPORTS: The logo for the 2017 NHL All-Star Game has been unveiled.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Las Vegas NHL expansion club reached it’s season-ticket cap of 16,000.