Game 1 @ Winnipeg?
Would be a big break to face Byfuglien before he's into game shape.
Wikstrand To Play For Gold On Saturday
While the Swedes won their group, I'm not sure many would have pegged them as a favourite in their semi-final with Russia today. The first period was a possession masterclass from the guys in blue and yellow, jumping out to a quick 2-0 lead. Eventually the home team found their legs and began to take over; drawing even at 2-2 eight minutes into the third. It was a tremendous game with some brilliant end-to-end stretches, eventually going the full distance to a shootout - with Sweden winning on a vicious Collberg backhander.
Wikstrand's game was generally solid considering the quality of opponents he was getting matched against. There were a few instances where he struggled with the Russian forecheck, but he wasn't alone in that by any means. He also did get walked bad by Yakupov with about four minutes left in the third, a play that was very close to being the game. Oh, and his shootout attempt was kind of wanting.
So, other than that stuff he played decent. He didn't make any tremendous offensive plays, but pretty consistently moved the puck smartly out of the zone and calmed things down when needed.
Puempel "Re-aggravates" Shoulder
#OHLRangers F Matt Puempel not making the trip to Owen Sound today. Re-aggravated shoulder injury last Friday. Back to rehab.— Mike Farwell (@farwell590) January 2, 2013
His initial shoulder injury occurred back on Nov. 27th, costing him an invite to Team Canada's WJC selection camp. A day before his Dec. 28 return to the Kitchener lineup, he spoke to the Waterloo Record:
Puempel was hoping to return before the six-day holiday break but didn’t want to push his luck. The nagging shoulder injury affected the most important aspect of his game — his shot release.
"It feels good when I'm shooting now," he said. "That's what we were waiting for."
Hopefully this is an issue that can be solved with physio, hate to see him come down with Regin-itis and have to go under the knife.
Spezza, Greening, Smith Depart Europe
Fresh off a Spengler Cup win (the first team championsip of his pro/junior/international career), Spezza is leaving his club team in Rapperswil and returning to Ottawa. Garrioch goes on to mention that Greening and Zack Smith have similarily decided to leave the Danish league.
Gonchar on the other hand, is staying put in Magnitogorsk for the moment.
Does being named KHL defenseman of the month boost a man's NHL trade value?
I think Gonchar will be an interesting story to follow this season for that very reason. His KHL success may entice more teams to take a chance on him. Pair that with the fact that he has been playing regularly and I believe his trade value might make him worth moving, even with Cowen sidelined