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Motown flavor: Yzerman, Lidstrom head ’14 IIHF Hall of Fame class

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Former Detroit captains Steve Yzerman and Nicklas Lidstrom headline the list of five players that will be inducted into the International Ice Hockey Federation’s 2014 class, the organization announced on Friday.

Yzerman, Lidstrom, the late Ruslan Salei (another former Red Wing), Vyacheslav Bykov and Andrei Khomutov will all be enshrined in May during the World Championships in Belarus, along with one entrant in the builder’s category — Murray Costello, who won the Wayne Gretzky International Award during last year’s U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Yzerman and Lidstrom’s NHL exploits are well known, but both starred on the international stage as well. Yzerman represented Canada at the World Juniors, Canada Cup, World Championships, World Cup and Winter Olympics, capturing two golds, three silvers and a bronze medal.

Lidstrom appeared in numerous tournaments for Sweden and won a pair of gold medals — at the World Juniors in 1991, and the Winter Olympics in 2006.

Salei, a longtime participant for Belarus’ National team, died in the tragic Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash of 2011. He has since been inducted into the Belasurian Hockey Hall of Fame and his No. 24 has been retired by the Belarusian Ice Hockey Association for international competition.

Bykov and Khomutov were stars of the former Soviet Union teams in the 80s and 90s. Bykov captained the team to five World Championships and a pair of Olympic gold medals in 1988 and ’92, starring as a center on a line with Khomutov as his winger.

Bykov would later go on to coach the Russians at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Khomutov, who actually won three Olympic golds — he captured one in ’84 at the Sarajevo games — also went on to coach internationally, including a stint as Kazakhstan’s bench boss.

Panarin impresses ‘Hawks with his preseason debut

Artemi Panarin
AP Photo

Will Artem Panarin‘s overwhelming success in the KHL translate to North America? The 23-year-old forward has a lot to prove, but his first big test was a success.

Playing on a line with Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov, Panarin made his preseason debut in Chicago’s finale on Saturday. He registered two assists while giving his teammates reason to be optimistic about him.

“For not being on the ice he looks really relaxed. He’s great with the puck, has nice moves and I think we’ll see a lot of this,” Marian Hossa told CSN Chicago. “He has unbelievable skill. People here in Chicago are going to have a good time watching this guy dangling.”

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was impressed by Panarin as well and liked that line as a whole.

The fact that the trio seemed to hit it off quickly has to come as a relief after an upper-body injury prevented Panarin from getting the most out of this year’s training camp. At the end of the day though, the fact that he was able to at least get in one preseason contest is a big silver lining. How smoothly his adjustment goes from here is still a big X-factor, but at least now he’s going into the regular season with a better idea of what to expect.

Panarin is attempting to establish himself in the NHL after leading the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg to a championship last year. He was the team’s scoring leader, topping ex-NHL star Ilya Kovalchuk.

Gustavsson secures one-year contract with Bruins

Jonas Gustavsson
AP Photo
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There was stiff competition for the backup goaltending job in Boston, but with a signing this afternoon, it seems likely that the matter has been resolved.

The Boston Bruins announced that Jonas Gustavsson has agreed to a one-year, $700,000 deal. It’s a one-way contract, according to the Boston Globe’s Amalie Benjamin.

That contract is still small enough that the Bruins could bury it in the minors if they so desire, but it does set him apart from his last competitor for the goalie position, Jeremy Smith, who has a two-way deal. The fact that Boston went this route seems to imply that Gustavsson will serve as Tuukka Rask‘s understudy, although both netminders attended Sunday’s practice.

In Smith, the Bruins would be getting a 26-year-old goaltender who was dominant with the AHL’s Providence Bruins last season, but has no NHL experience. By contrast Gustavsson, 30, has played in almost 150 NHL games.

Boston sent Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban to the minors last week, but an argument could be made that either one of them is worthy of the backup job. However, both of them have a lot of potential and it’s not surprising that the Bruins felt they were better served by staying in the minors where they can play regularly and focus on honing their game.