2011 NHL Winter Classic Practice

Ovechkin, Malkin headline Russian Olympic team; Semin, Gonchar snubbed


The host nation has named its Olympic roster and, as expected, it’s loaded up front.

Led by Pavel Datsyuk, Evgeni Malkin and reigning NHL MVP Alex Ovechkin, Russia trotted out a star-studded group on Tuesday, though there were some omissions that caught the hockey world by surprise.

Carolina’s Alex Semin — playing very well of late, and a member of the ’10 Olympic squad — won’t be playing in Sochi, nor will veteran defenseman Sergei Gonchar.

Other notable omissions from the Russian roster include Florida’s Dmitry Kulikov, Edmonton’s Nail Yakupov and New Jersey’s Anton Volchenkov.

As for those that made the team…

Russia embraced its youth by selecting 18-year-old Dallas rookie Valeri Nichushkin and 22-year-old Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko. They’ll be joined by 25-year-old Viktor Tikhonov, a former first-round pick (Phoenix, 2008) that’s currently playing for SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL.

In goal, the Russians made no surprises by going with Sergei Bobrovsky and Semyon Varlamov. The third spot went to Alexander Yeryomenko, a 33-year-old KHL veteran.

On defense, the team went NHL-heavy with six of eight blueliners coming from North America. They include Edmonton’s Anton Belov, Montreal’s Alexei Emelin and Andrei Markov, Columbus’ Nikita Nikitin and Fedor Tyutin, and Los Angeles’ Slava Voynov.

It is at forward, though, where the Russians are most dangerous. In addition to the aforementioned Datsyuk-Malkin-Ovechkin trio, the club also features Nichushkin, Tarasenko, Artem Anisimov, Nikolai Kulemin and Ilya Kovalchuk.

Here is the full roster, per TSN:

Goalkeepers: Sergei Bobrovsky, Semyon Varlamov, Alexander Yeryomenko.

Defenders: Anton Belov, Alexei Emelin, Andrei Markov, Evgeny Medvedev, Nikita Nikitin, Ilya Nikulin, Fedor Tyutin, Slava Voynov.

Forwards: Artem Anisimov, Pavel Datsyuk, Denis Kokarev, Ilya Kovalchuk, Nikolai Kulemin, Evgeni Malkin, Valeri Nichushkin, Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Popov, Alexander Radulov, Sergei Soin, Vladimir Tarasenko, Alexei Tereshenko, Viktor Tikhonov.

UPDATE: Team Russia lost Denis Kokarev and Sergei Soin and replaced them with forwards Alexander Svitov and Alex Semin.

Memorial Cup champion goalie Appleby signs with Devils

Ken Appleby
The Canadian Press via AP
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Ken Appleby never got drafted, but his efforts during the New Jersey Devils’ training camp have earned him an entry-level contract, per the Bergen Record.

Although no team saw it fit to take him before the preseason, the 20-year-old is coming off of a very strong season. He had a 2.08 GAA and .924 save percentage in 50 games with the OHL’s Oshawa Generals. He went on to lead them to a Memorial Cup championship and earned the the Hap Emms Memorial Trophy as the tournament’s top goalie.

Appleby is the fifth goaltender the Devils have under contract after Cory Schneider, Keith Kinkaid, Scott Wedgewood, and Yann Danis. He’ll likely begin the season in the ECHL.

Alexandre Goulet and Jacob Sweeney also participated in the Devils’ training camp on an amateur tryout basis, but both of them have been released.

PHT Morning Skate: NHL stars weigh in on McDavid

Connor McDavid
The Canadian Press via AP
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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Some of the NHL’s top players discuss Connor McDavid‘s potential and the hype surrounding him. (Toronto Sun)

While we’re on the subject, Wayne Gretzky recalls what it was like for him going into the NHL and what’s in store for McDavid. (Edmonton Sun)

Sam Gagner is about to start a key season in his career. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

It’s time for the Washington Capitals to make some tough calls, particularly when it comes to Derek Roy. (CSN Mid-Atlantic)

With Raffi Torres hearing scheduled for today, here’s a look back at his suspension history. (San Jose Mercury News)

The Chicago Blackhawks have gotten their championship rings. (NHL.com)