U.S., Canada, among nations to name first players to Olympic men’s rosters

U.S., Canada, among nations to name first players to Olympic men's rosters

Canada, the U.S., and other countries named the first three players to their 2022 Olympic hockey rosters this week

In the case of the United States, the first three Olympic hockey players are: Seth Jones, Patrick Kane, and Auston Matthews. After a big trade, Jones joined Kane on the Blackhawks, while Matthews stars for the Maple Leafs.

Stan Bowman, GM of both the Blackhawks and the U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team, spoke about Jones, Kane, and Matthews being the first three announced.

“It’s no secret we’re excited about the prospects of our team for the 2022 Games,” Bowman said. “Patrick, Auston and Seth reflect the high level of talent that will make up our final roster as we strive to bring gold back home to the U.S.”

Because it’s the Internet, some complained about Jones being announced over, say, reigning Norris winner Adam Fox. That’s likely to be a moot point once the full rosters are announced.

Canada’s first three men’s Olympic hockey players were announced as: Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid, and Alex Pietrangelo.

While final Olympic rosters aren’t expected until sometime around January, fans can narrow down their own lists sooner. Each country must submit its long list of 50 players by Oct. 15.

The 2022 Olympic men’s hockey tournament is set for Feb. 9, while the gold-medal game is scheduled for Feb. 20. There’s a January 10 deadline for the NHL/NHLPA to pull out of the 2022 Winter Olympics if COVID numbers escalate.

[Olympic men’s roster projections: U.S. / Canada]

Sidney Crosby
Connor McDavid
Alex Pietrangelo

Czech Republic
Ondrej Palat
David Pastrnak
Jakub Voracek

Sebastian Aho
Aleksander Barkov
Mikko Rantanen

Victor Hedman
Gabriel Landeskog
Mika Zibanejad

United States
Seth Jones
Patrick Kane
Auston Matthews

Rudolfs Balcers
Zemgus Girgensons
Kristians Rubins

Leon Draisaitl
Mortiz Seider
Phillip Grubauer

Russia Olympic Committee
Andrei Vasilevskiy
Alex Ovechkin
Nikita Kucherov

Nico Hischier
Timo Meier
Roman Josi

Andrej Sekera
Jaroslav Halak
Erik Cernak

Oliver Bjorkstrand
Alexander True
Nikolaj Ehlers

[IIHF: Full 2022 men’s and women’s Olympic schedules]

To be announced: China

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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

Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports

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
David Kirouac/USA TODAY Sports

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
Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports

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.