Mike Halford

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 19:  Fans arrive for the game between Team Czech Republic and Team Europe  during the World Cup of Hockey tournament at the Air Canada Centre on September 19, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Here’s what’s at stake in today’s World Cup games

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The Czechs and Americans have all been eliminated from the 2016 World Cup while the Canadians and Europeans have advanced to the semifinal round.

That means there are still spots up for grabs — between Team North America, Sweden, Finland and Russia — and a whole lot of jockeying for seeding.

With that said, here’s a look ahead at Wednesday’s action:

Team North America vs. Team Sweden (3 p.m. ET)

The Swedes are in the driver’s seat for Group B, thanks to earlier wins over Russia and Finland. All they need from today’s game is a single point, and they’ve clinched their semifinal berth.

For the North Americans, things are slightly more difficult. They’re tied on two points with the Russians, but Russia holds the tiebreaker because of its head-to-head win (Monday’s 4-3 victory).

So:

— If TNA wins (in any fashion), Russia’s game on Thursday versus Finland is a must-win.

— If TNA loses (in any fashion), Russia would only need one point on Thursday against the Finns to advance.

Things will get really interesting if TNA beats Sweden today and Russia beats Finland tomorrow. That would give TNA, Sweden and Russia all 2-1 records. In the event of a three-way tie, the tiebreakers are as follows:

Step 1: Total Points (2 points for any win, 1 point for any OT/SO loss)
Step 2: ROW (total regulation/OT wins, not including shootout wins)
Step 3: Regulation Wins (total regulation wins only)
Step 4: Goal Differential (total goals for minus total goals against)
Step 5: Total Goals Scored (total goals for)

Steps 6-7 will be calculated based upon games played between tied teams only:

Step 6: Goal Differential (total goals for minus total goals against)
Step 7: Total Goals Scored (total goals for)

Based on that, North America would clinch a semifinal berth with a regulation win over the Swedes today.

Other clinching scenarios, per NHL PR:

Team Europe vs. Team Canada (8 p.m. ET)

As Mike Babcock would say, “it’s real simple” — whoever wins today finishes atop the group, and whoever loses finishes second. It’s probably nice to finish first, but there isn’t much in the way of a competitive advantage, as there’s no home ice to play for.

What’s more, neither side will know who they face in the semifinal until tomorrow, due to the crossover format with Group B.

So it’s safe to suggest there could be a lack of intensity.

Canada’s already announced starting netminder Carey Price will get tonight off, with Corey Crawford getting the start. The rest of the lineup has yet to be announced.

It’s still unclear what European coach Ralph Krueger intends to do — Jaroslav Halak could probably use a break, having faced 65 shots through two games — and there’s a chance Luca Sbisa and Mikkel Boedker, who have yet to dress in the tournament, could get a game.

Bergenheim to join Booth at Ducks camp on PTO

Ottawa Senators v Minnesota Wild
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Last year, Ducks GM Bob Murray loaded up on veterans like Shawn Horcoff, Chris Stewart and Mike Santorelli to upgrade his forward group.

This year, he’s doing something similar — albeit in a different fashion.

After news broke that 31-year-old winger David Booth would attend training camp on a PTO, the O.C. Register reports that another veteran forward — 32-year-old Sean Bergenheim — will be there as well.

A three-time 15-goal scorer, Bergenheim spent last season with Bern of the Swiss League. His last NHL action came in ’14-15, when he scored nine goals and 19 points in 56 games for the Panthers and Wild.

It’s a bit surprising Murray is going this route again, especially since none of last year’s acquisitions paid off, and the Ducks actually looked a little old and a little slow at times.

In addition to the Bergenheim and Booth PTOs, Anaheim has also signed journeyman winger Mason Raymond, veteran center Antoine Vermette and noted tough guy Jared Boll.

Of course, the PTOs could simply be a way to get warm bodies into camp. Anaheim has several players still participating in the World Cup of Hockey, including Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Hampus Lindholm, John Gibson and Jakob Silfverberg.

 

Traverse City title another feather in cap for Carolina prospects

BUFFALO, NY - JUNE 24:  Julien Gauthier celebrates with the Carolina Hurricanes after being selected 21st during round one of the 2016 NHL Draft on June 24, 2016 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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We’ve written quite a bit on PHT about all the good, young talent GM Ron Francis has stockpiled in Carolina — see here, here and here.

And now, right here.

The ‘Canes captured Detroit’s Traverse City prospects tourney on Tuesday night, beating the host Red Wings 6-4 to capture the Matthew Wuest Memorial Cup for the first time since 2009.

“It’s a really good group of guys,” head coach Ulf Samuelsson said, per the ‘Canes website. “A lot of talent. It was a high-scoring team. A lot of fun to be a part of.”

Julien Gauthier and Jake Bean — Carolina’s two first-round picks at June’s draft — combined to score three goals in the second period, with Gauthier finishing with two markers on the night.

The win capped off a highly successful week. The ‘Canes ran the table at the event, beating the Rangers, Wild and Stars prior to toppling the Wings.

Bean and Gauthier starred in the final, but Carolina had other quality talent going in this tourney as well. Haydn Fleury, the seventh overall pick in 2014, manned the blueline while Alex Nedeljkovic, the prized goaltending prospect that started for the U.S. at the World Juniors, held things down in goal.

Other Carolina prospects featured in Traverse City included Roland McKeown, Nicolas Roy and Sergey Tolchinsky.

Related: With Peters re-signed, ‘Canes ready to snap playoff drought

Gryba back with Oilers on training camp PTO

OTTAWA, ON - FEBRUARY 4: Eric Gryba #62 of the Edmonton Oilers skates against the Ottawa Senators during an NHL game at Canadian Tire Centre on February 4, 2016 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
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Eric Gryba is returning to Edmonton, though not with the security he’d like.

The veteran d-man has agreed to attend Oilers training camp on a PTO, per the Journal. The decision comes after Gryba spent nearly the entire offseason hoping for a contract from another NHL club — an offer that never came to fruition.

So, it’s the tryout route.

The 28-year-old was acquired by Edmonton at the 2015 draft, and proceeded to play 53 games last year. Over that spell, Gryba did what Gryba does — throw plenty of hits, rack up plenty of PIM and man the penalty kill.

Limited offensively and not the fastest skater, Gryba will be in a battle to secure a contract in Edmonton. The club’s top six projects to be comprised of Oscar Klefbom, Brandon Davidson, Andrej Sekera, Darnell Nurse, Mark Fayne and newly acquired Adam Larsson, with Griffin Reinhart and Jordan Osterle in the mix for depth spots.

 

Rask, Lundqvist make World Cup debuts as Finland-Sweden rivalry renews

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 18: Tuukka Rask #40 of Team Finland takes part in warmups prior to the game against Team North America at the Air Canada Centre on September 18, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The Finns are making a significant change ahead of today’s virtual must-win against Sweden at the World Cup of Hockey.

And so are the Swedes.

Pekka Rinne, Finland’s opening night starter in goal, will be replaced by Tuukka Rask, head coach Lauri Marjamaki confirmed on Monday.

Meanwhile, Team Sweden bench boss Rickard Gronborg announced that Henrik Lunqvist, who missed the opener due to the flu, would be in net after Jacob Markstrom performed admirably in a win over the Russians.

The decision to bench Rinne is a tad surprising, though hardly shocking. The Nashville ‘tender wasn’t to blame for a lopsided 4-1 loss to Team North America — he made 39 saves, and Marjamaki called him Finland’s best player — but he did fight the puck on certain occasions.

Outside of Rinne’s performance, it’s clear Marjamaki and the Finnish coaching staff needed to shake something up.

That’s probably why they’re going with Rask, who has starred internationally in the past. He was stellar at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, posting a 1.73 GAA and .937 save percentage in helping the Finns capture bronze.

As for Sweden, it was expected Lundqvist would regain the starter’s net when healthy.