I probably should have done a little more research before I picked my “lockout team”. Of course, that would have flown in the face of the pact that Jason and I made early on never to research when sheer speculation and gut instinct could be used instead.
Chicago Blackhawks prospect Maxim Shalunov delivered a wicked cross check to the face of Slovakian defenseman Tomas Nechala in Russia’s opening game at the WJC, prompting a one-game suspension from the IIHF. On the ice, Shalunov was assessed a double minor penalty (four minutes) for the incident. Nechala received medical treatment for a facial laceration, but continued play in the game.
Russia ended up winning the game 3-2 in overtime after the Slovakians tied the game with less than a minute remaining in the third period. Surprisingly, the host Russians did not manage to sell out their team’s opening matchup — some observers on Twitter suggested there were as many as 2,000 empty seats out of the 8,000+ available for the game.
Chicago Blackhawks prospect Maxim Shalunov put in solid performances in the WHL leg of the Subway Super Series, including a goal and an assist in the final game in Victoria Thursday night. This guy is a dangerous skater, a real pleasure to watch. Here below be the pic I snapped of him at game 5 in Vancouver.
Everyone wanted to talk about Nail Yakupov. And don’t get me wrong, the #1 overall pick in the 2012 draft was every bit as dangerous as his billing. He’s explosive with the puck, and hungry for it, each and every single time he steps on the ice. There’s little doubt that if the NHL ever decides to play again, the Edmonton Oilers will cash in on this fellow, yet another young gun to add to their Halls and Eberles and Nugent-Hopkinseseses. Eses.
But the show on Wednesday didn’t belong to this superstar in waiting. It belonged to the goaltenders, who backstopped their teams to a scoreless draw after 60 minutes of fast, tough, hard-fought hockey in Vancouver.
So here’s to you, Laurent Brossoit and Andrei Makarov. You made great saves when you had to — Brossoit in the first 35 minutes, and Makarov in the final 25 — and you completely deserved the Player of the Game honours.
All photos are by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head. All rights reserved.