When it comes to hockey rivalries, Canada versus Russia has never been lacking ill will.
The time of year doesn’t seem to matter, either.
On Monday, as Team Canada faced Team Russia at the Sochi Hockey Open, a line brawl broke out near the Canadian bench, resulting in fight majors for Canada’s Justin Azevedo and Russia’s Mikhail Grigorenko.
Despite holding a decisive 36-22 edge in shots on goal, Canada lost to Russia 3-2 and will finish the preliminary round at 1-1.
Canada’s men’s national team, coached by former Canucks bench boss Willie Desjardins, has a number of tournament competitions, including the Sochi Hockey Open, lined up between now and the end of December prior to the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.
Up next for the Canadian contingent, according to Hockey Canada, is the Tournament of Nikolai Puchkov from Aug. 14-17 in St. Petersburg.
“These first two events allow us to continue a player evaluation process that began last season with our Deutschland Cup and Spengler Cup teams,” said vice-president of hockey operations and national men’s teams Scott Salmond, per Hockey Canada.
“We will continue to look at the best available players to us – these two tournaments being the next opportunity to see some of the talent we can select from.”