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World Juniors: Nugent-Hopkins paces Canada to 4-1 win over Russia, semis berth


Ryan Nugent-Hopkins notched three assists, including one on Mark Schiefele’s game-winner, as Canada defeated Russia 4-1 in the final group game of the 2013 World Junior Championships.

With the win, Canada finished atop Group B with a perfect 4-0 record and earned an automatic spot in the tournament semifinals.

Schiefele’s deciding tally came after Russian forward Valeri Nichushkin was given a five-minute major and game misconduct for hitting Canadian defenseman Tyler Wotherspoon from behind.

Canada scored twice on the ensuing power play — one from Schiefele, one from Dougie Hamilton — with Nugent-Hopkins assisting on both.

The Nuge collected his third assist of the game on Jonathan Drouin’s second period insurance marker, and Jonathan Huberdeau salted the victory away with an empty-net goal late in the third.

Russia’s lone goal came courtesy Nikita Kuckerov, who scored with less than three minutes left in the opening frame to cut Canada’s lead to 2-1.

Russia had a chance for a second when Vladimir Tkachyov was awarded a penalty shot with 20 seconds left, but he was stoned by Canadian goalie Malcolm Subban, who stopped 20 of 21 shots on the night.


World Juniors: Team USA avoids relegation, pounds Slovakia 9-3

Boone Jenner “can’t wait” to play for Canada in WJC

Yakupov keeps Canada-Russia analysis tame after controversial remarks

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.

Flyers to start season with seven d-men; MacDonald sent to AHL

Andrew MacDonald, Matt Calvert
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Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.

Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.

Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)

Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.

But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.

They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.

Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.

Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.

Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?

So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.