Prospect season returns...
Novgorod 2 vs. Ufa 3 (SO)
Andrey Vasilevskiy, Ufa, DNP
Season totals: 0 GP, 0-0-0, 0 SO, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 sv%
Ex-Flyer Stefan Ruczika had 1 goal and 1 assist for Ufa in their 3-2 shootout win over Novgorod.
Dynamo Moscow 3 vs. Magnitogorsk 1
Vasily Koshechkin, Magnitogorsk, Loss, 26/29, 3.06 GAA, .897 sv%
Season totals: 1 GP, 0-1-0, 0 SO, 3.06 GAA, .897 sv%
Vasily Koshechkin dropped the season-opening loss of his second stint with perennial Russian power Magnitogorsk. Ex-Lightning draft pick Marek Kvapil had a helper on Dynamo's 3rd goal. Ex-Lightning draft pick Dmitri Kazionov had 4 penalty minutes in the loss for Magnitogorsk. This season will mark the second straight Koshechkin will play with a Kazionov brother. The younger, Denis, played with Koshechkin for Cherepovets last year.
Donetsk 4 vs. Bratislava 2
Jaroslav Janus, Bratislava, Loss, 31/34, 3.02 GAA, .912 sv%
Season totals: 1 GP, 0-1-0, 0 SO, 3.02 GAA, .912 sv%
Ex-Lightning prospect Michal Sersen was -2 in Bratislava's 4-2 loss to Donetsk. Bratislava's blueline also continues to feature former Lightning first rounder Vladimir Mihalik, who was even in the match.
Zagreb 7 vs. CSKA 1
Nikita Gusev, CSKA, DNP
Season totals: 0 GP, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM
Somehow, Nikita Gusev has found his way back into the CSKA organization where the forward did not play in their 7-1 loss to Zagreb. The forward had been traded from CSKA to Khabarovsk last season for a 1st round draft pick. Zagreb got 2 goals from ex-NHLer Jonathan Cheechoo and 2 goals and 2 assists from ex-Springfield Falcon Ryan Vesce in their KHL premier.
Elsewhere, Denis Kazionov had a helper for Omsk as they were flattened 5-1 by SKA St. Petersburg.
Apologies for the delayed observations but personal circumstances have necessitated a combined summary of impressions from several days I attended.
The bulk of the following observations stem from last Wednesday's 3-on-3 tournament action (I was unable to make it Tuesday) although some does come from the on-ice sessions last Sunday and Monday. Here are some thoughts on a limited number of camp participants, from those I went out of my way to watch and those my eyes kept being drawn to:
On the heels of a national holiday, 32 prospects--most drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning, others signed as free agents and a handful of invitees--gathered on the ice Saturday at the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon to begin several days of on-ice and off-ice conditioning as well as instruction in organizational values and the culture of professional hockey for both returning and first-time participants.
"Let's call this what it is: summer hockey," Lightning head coach Jon Cooper told assembled media. "Part of what [the players] get out of this camp is the chance to get to know myself, Rob Zettler, the staff. Getting to know expectations and being a pro."
"A lot of these kids are coming from juniors programs, college, all these different walks of life, but here at the Tampa Bay Lightning we've got a certain code of conduct," Cooper noted. "This is where it starts."
Having concluded fitness testing and physicals, players hit the ice and rounded out their day with an hour-long practice spent completing basic drills as well as a forty-five minute power skating session.
"The first day is always kind of a feel out day," Cooper said. "Some of these guys, I'm sure, have been skating and some haven't been."
Keeping in mind that the 3-on-3 tournament scheduled to begin Tuesday and wrap-up on Wednesday, the final day of camp, will provide better opportunities to gauge player abilities and hockey sense, here are some brief and selected observations:
The Tampa Bay Times is reporting the Tampa Bay Lightning have signed free agent left winger Retu Suri out of Zug in the Swiss NLA league. Suri, 24, had 14 goals and 25 points in 46 games last season in the top Swiss men's league. Suri will remain in Switzerland for the upcoming season in the hopes of earning a spot on Switzerland's Olympics team in Sochi before joining the Lightning organization for the 2014-2015 season.
Despite standing at just 6'0" 185 lbs, Suri has a reputation as a hard charging, north-south style forward with a game that seems like it should adapt well to North American hockey. Red Line Report ranked Suri their 11th best European Free Agent of Interest this year also noting the forward's quick release, quick hands in tight, and his penchant for scoring big goals. Suri scored the shootout winner against Canada in this year's World Championships Round Robin for the Swiss on their improbable, Silver-medal winning run to the tournament's championship game.
Russia 3 vs. USA 8
Ben Bishop, USA, DNP
Tournament totals: 5 GP, 3-2-0, 0 SO, 2.83 GAA, .876 sv%
Matt Carle, USA, 0-0-0, +2, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament totals: 8 GP, 0-2-2, +2, 0 PIM
Nate Thompson, USA, 1-0-1, +1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Tournament totals: 8 GP, 1-2-3, +1, 8 PIM
Vasily Koshechkin, Russia, DNP
Tournament totals: 1 GP, 0-1-0, 0 SO, 2.04 GAA, .895 sv%
USA recovered from their 4-1 loss in the final game of the round robin by clubbing Russia 8-3 in the Quarterfinals. Colorado's Paul Stastny had 2 goals and 2 assists to help Team USA en route to the snowman. Nashville's Craig Smith also chipped in 5 helpers. Ex-Lightning first rounder Alex Svitov had a goal in defeat for the Russians, but also posted an ugly -4 rating. Vasily Koshechkin did not suit up in the match for the Russians. Ben Bishop sat backup to young John Gibson for Team USA.
Finland 4 vs. Slovakia 3
Jaroslav Janus, Slovakia, DNP
Tournament totals: 2 GP, 0-2-0, 0 SO, 3.00 GAA, .875 sv%
Tournament star Petri Kontiola had 2 goals and 3 points as Finland squeaked by Slovakia 4-3 to advance to the tournament Semifinals. Ex-NHLer Branislav Mezei had 3 assists in defeat for the Slovakians. Jaroslav Janus did not suit up in the match.
Canada 2 vs. Sweden 3 (SO)
Steven Stamkos, Canada, 1-0-1, +1, 2 PIM, 4 SOG
Tournament totals: 8 GP, 7-5-12, +6, 6 PIM
Buffalo's Jhonas Enroth recorded 39 saves to lead Sweden to a 3-2 shootout win over Team Canada. Steven Stamkos scored the opening goal of the match on the power play for Canada, but did not take an attempt in the shootout session. Ex-Lightning netminder Mike Smith made 30 saves in defeat.
The tournament is now over for the Russians, Slovakians, and Canadians. Team USA advances to face Switzerland on Saturday in one Semifinal match while co-host nations Sweden and Finland will square off in a rivalry match in the other Semifinal tilt.