Some interesting line combinations from World Cup training camps (Update)

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As we mentioned in a previous post, today is the first day of World Cup training camps.

Each team hit the ice for the first time, which means we get our first taste of World Cup line combinations.

Obviously, these lines are subject to change, but it’s interesting to see what the coaches are thinking early in the process.

Team Russia is never short on offensive firepower:

Ovechkin, Kuznetsov, Kucherov should be exciting to watch and that Malkin, Tarasenko, Kulemin line isn’t too shabby either.

Pavel Datsyuk, Evgenii Dadonov, Vadim Shipachev and Ivan Telegin were given the day off because they’ve begun play in the KHL already.

With Russia, the question marks are always on defense and between the pipes.

Team North America is holding their training camp in Montreal, Quebec.

Head coach Todd McLellan has some dynamic young skaters to work with. Not surprising to see Connor McDavid on the top line.

The defense isn’t set in stone either, but here’s the first look as the blue line:

Team Canada, who are the tournament favorites, took to the ice in Ottawa, Ontario.

Interestingly enough, Sidney Crosby is on a line with two Boston Bruins:

Crosby and Bergeron played on a line together for Team Canada at the World Junior Championship in 2004. During that tournament, Bergeron was the center and 16-year-old Crosby was on the wing.

As is usually the case, Canada has some forwards playing out of position. Bergeron, John Tavares, Steven Stamkos, Tyler Seguin and Joe Thornton are centers playing on the wing.

LA Kings Drew Doughty and Jake Muzzin are paired together on Canada’s defense:

In Sweden, it’s an all Vancouver Canucks top line:

Henrik Lundqvist is a little banged up after taking a puck to the ribs last week, but he was on the ice for Team Sweden today.

As for Finland, the second overall pick in 2016, Patrik Laine, was on a line with Jussi Jokinen and Aleksander Barkov. Wild forwards Mikael Granlund and Mikko Koivu are on a line with Sharks winger Joonas Donskoi.

The Americans have hit the ice in Columbus, Ohio and their top line looks pretty good:

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

Ilya Mikheyev
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

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Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

caufield surgery
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MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

“I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

“I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

matty beniers
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SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.