Goalie: Edward Pasquale (Lokomotiv);
Forwards: Josh Currie (Metallurg), Taylor Beck (Dinamo Minsk), Jordan Weal (Ak Bars), Ryan Spooner (Avtomobilist), Daniel Audette (Vityaz), Corban Knight (Avangard), Eric O’Dell (Dynamo Moscow), Tyler Graovac (Dinamo Minsk), Philippe Maillet (Metallurg), Cody Kunyk (Barys).
The Canadians, led by Olympic champion Claude Julien, will skate for two games in Russia, facing the hosts today and Finland on Saturday as they prepare for the Olympic games should something go wrong with the original plans. The team’s roster is made up mostly of KHL players, with a few top-performers this season, like Ak Bars’ Jordan Weal and Vityaz’s Daniel Audette. Pasquale will likely start between the piping following his excellent play with Lokomotiv, while the defense will count on an in-form Trevor Murphy from Sibir, with veteran experience coming handy from SKA’s Mat Robinson. Team Canada’s game won’t count in the tournament’s standings.
The Swedes decided to bring to Moscow an almost optimal roster, with several KHL representatives who are mostly playing big roles in their respective clubs. Malte Stromwall has been in top shape of late, so has been Spartak’s blueliner Tim Heed. On goal, seeing HC Sochi’s Magnus Hellberg is no surprise — the large-framed Uppsala native is having a tremendous season for the Black Sea franchise and is likely to start in Moscow.
Goalie: Harri Sateri (Sibir);
It’s still unknown whether Jokerit’s representatives will be able to skate with the Leijonat — in case, Tommi Kivisto, Nicklas Friman, Kalle Kossila, and Teemu Turunen should be added to the mix. However, even without Jokerit’s players, the Finns will bring to Moscow a strong roster with plenty of veterans who can make the difference even at the international level. The Salavat Yulaev’s festy trio will likely lead the attack, with other players ready to make damage at both ends of the ice — especially SKA’s duo of Kemppainen and Komarov. Experienced Harri Sateri is likely to get at least one start at the Chennel One Cup.
The Czechs decided to bring to Moscow only a handful of KHL players, with D-man Libor Sulak being the lone Admiral’s representative at the tournament. The goaltending duo of Hrubec and Will is going to be hard to beat for the opposition, while Hyka and Sedlak are going to make good use of their chemistry at Traktor to cause havoc in the offensive zone. The Czech roster is also featuring plenty of former KHL players like Jan Kovar, Andrej Nestrasil, and Vladimir Sobotka.
Defensemen: Damir Sharipzyanov, Semyon Chistyakov (both — Avangard), Vyacheslav Voynov (Dynamo Moscow), Yegor Yakovlev (Metallurg), Artyom Minulin (Metallurg), Nikita Nesterov (CSKA), Alexander Yelesin, Alexei Marchenko (both — Lokomotiv), Alexander Nikishin (Spartak), Sergei Telegin (Traktor);
Forwards: Kirill Marchenko, Ivan Morozov (both — SKA), Vadim Shipachyov (Dynamo Moscow), Andrei Chibisov (Metallurg), Sergei Tolchinsky, Arseny Gritsyuk (both — Avangard), Pavel Karnaukhov, Mikhail Grigorenko, Vladislav Kamenev, Sergei Plotnikov (all — CSKA), Daniil Vovchenko (Severstal), Alexander Kadeikin (Salavat Yulaev), Artur Kayumov, Artyom Anisimov, Yegor Korshkov (all — Lokomotiv), Vladimir Tkachyov (Traktor), Artyom Galimov (Ak Bars).
Team Russia’s roster will miss a few players due to injuries (like CSKA’s Anton Slepyshev and Ak Bars’ Dmitry Voronkov), but it’s mostly comprised of the best players available to Alexei Zhamnov and his staff. Most of the players have already accumulated international experience, with Severstal’s forward Daniil Vovchenko having already skated with the team at the Karjala Cup in November.
Browsing the rosters, the Russians seem to be the team to beat, but the EHT often gives sensations to its spectators, thus it will be hard to say beforehand.
The four national teams will play a round-robin starting Thursday, Dec 16 through Sunday, Dec 19. Moreover, Team Canada will face Team Russia today and Team Sweden on Saturday, Dec 18.