The Euro Hockey Tour will play its second stage in Moscow from Dec. 17-20 at the CSKA Arena. The first stage in Finland was claimed by the Russian U20 national team. At the Channel One Cup, up to 3,000 spectators will be allowed to visit the games. The KHL will be well-represented, with 69 players taking part in the action. But let’s see them in greater detail.
KHL representatives: Simon Hrubec (Avangard), Roman Will (Traktor), Dominik Furch (Dinamo Minsk); Andrej Sustr (Kunlun Red Star), David Sklenicka (Jokerit), Ondrej Vitasek (Dinamo Riga), Dominik Masin (Amur); Dmitrij Jaskin (Dynamo Moscow), Andrej Nestrasil (Metallurg), Lukas Sedlak (Traktor), Lukas Radil (Spartak).
The Czech’s head coach Filip Pesan decided a similar approach to the November tournament and called 11 KHL representatives for the 2020 Channel One Cup. However, this time the roster seems to be even better, especially thinking that in Finland, Dmitrij Jaskin wasn’t called to the team. The KHL’s top scorer is in excellent shape, and it will be hard to contain for the other sides. Pesan also called Spartak’s Robin Hanzl, but he had to renounce due to an illness and was replaced by Adam Zboril, at his debut with the national team. In Finland, the Czechs finished the tournament in second place — Pesan will try to do even better.
KHL representatives: Juho Olkinuora (Metallurg); Ville Pokka and Oliwer Kaski (Avangard), Niklas Friman (Jokerit), Tony Sund (Dinamo Riga), Veli-Matti Vittasmaki (Severstal), Juuso Hietanen (Dynamo Moscow), Otso Rantakari (Neftekhimik); Julius Junttila and Henri Ikonen (Jokerit), Mikael Ruohomaa and Juuso Puustinen (Sibir), Jere Karjalainen (HC Sochi).
For the Channel One Cup, Jukka Jalonen decided to go with an experienced roster with plenty of players from the KHL. Initially, it was thought that only players from the KHL would make the roster, but then also SHL representatives joined, and a few players had to waive participation due to injuries, like Veli-Matti Savinainen — in fantastic shape of late — and Jori Lehtera. Nine players from the 2019 IIHF WC gold medallist team will play in Moscow, with three debutants. One of them will be Otso Rantakari. The 27-years-old is having a decent season in Nizhnekamsk, and his call to the national team is quite logical. The Lions will also have at their disposal Harri Pesonen, who recently left Metallurg. Expect the Finns to have a much stronger show than the home stage at the Euro Hockey Tour.
KHL representatives: Anders Lindback (Jokerit), Magnus Hellberg (SKA); Klas Dahlbeck (CSKA), Oscar Fantenberg and Lucas Bengtsson (SKA), Lawrence Pilut (Traktor), Viktor Loov and Jonathan Pudas (Jokerit), Philip Holm (Metallurg); Jacub Berglund and Pontus Aberg (Traktor), Oskar Lindberg and Magnus Paajarvi Svensson (Dynamo Moscow), Mario Kempe (CSKA), Linus Johansson (Neftekhimik), Dennis Rasmussen (Metallurg), Malte Stromwall (SKA).
Johan Garpenlov also decided to go heavy on KHL selections for the Russian stage of the Euro Hockey Tour and called up 17 players from the league. Interestingly four of these players recently changed teams — Oscar Fantenberg, Philip Holm, Linus Johansson, and Malte Stromwall. Fantenberg and Stromwall, both signing with SKA, already found their groove for their new team. The D-man is logging big minutes on the Armymen’s blueline, while Stromwall scored two goals in his first three games with St. Petersburg. It will also be interesting to follow Lawrence Pilut’s return to the national team after spending the latest two seasons in North America. The offensive D-man is having an excellent season in Chelyabinsk. And interestingly enough, his teammate Pontus Aberg will be at his debut with the Swedish senior national team.
KHL representatives: Alexander Samonov (SKA), Ivan Fedotov (Traktor), Daniil Tarasov (Salavat Yulaev); Rushan Rafikov and Alexei Marchenko (Lokomotiv), Danila Galenyuk, Viktor Antipin and Igor Ozhiganov (SKA), Nikita Lyamkin and Dmitry Yudin (Ak Bars), Yegor Yakovlev and Artyom Minulin (Metallurg), Dmitry Samorukov (CSKA); Vladimir Tkachyov, Anton Burdasov, Kirill Marchenko, Andrei Kuzmenko, Ivan Morozov (SKA), Vadim Shipachyov (Dynamo Moscow), Andrei Chibisov (Metallurg), Nikita Soshnikov, Maxim Mamin, Pavel Karnaukhov (CSKA), Dmitry Voronkov (Ak Bars), Denis Zernov and Sergei Tolchinsky (Avangard), Yegor Korshkov (Lokomotiv), Alexander Kadeikin (Salavat Yulaev).
In Finland, the Russians won the tournament sending their U20 team. In Russia, it will be different. For the home stage, the staff led by Valery Bragin tried to call the best possible roster, but even with this ambitious goal, debutants made their way to the national team. Among them is Andrei Chibisov — the Magnitogorsk forward is one of the best for his team, with 26 (11+15) points accumulated so far. Bragin also picked up an interesting group of goalies — at this point it’s hard to predict who will be the starting netminder between Samonov, Fedotov, and Tarasov and it’s likely that they will play a game each. There will also be other debutants, like Ak Bars’ Dmitry Voronkov and CSKA’s Dmitry Samorukov, who is currently leading all D-men in the league with a plus-22 rating. Expect the Russians to be once again the top contenders for the Russian EHT stage.
The 2020 Channel One Cup starts on December 17 at the CSKA Arena in Moscow, Russia. The four teams will compete on a three-game round-robin through Sunday, December 20.