Next month a Russian junior squad comprised primarily of 1990-born players will travel to Lake Placid to face off against an American under-20 team in a four game series that will serve as part of each team’s summer evaluation camp. Missing from the roster of 28 players invited by Russian head coach Vladimir Plyushchev is New York Rangers prospect Evgeny Grachev. Also absent are fellow 2008 draftee Nikita Filatov of the Columbus Blue Jackets and 2009 Florida Panthers draft pick Dmitry Kulikov.
In an interview with AllHockey.ru, Plyushchev was asked about the absence of Filatov and Kulikov. The former U18 national coach explained that the Blue Jackets refused to release Filatov over concerns he might be injured, while the Panthers recommended that Kulikov prepare for the season with the team rather than participate in the evaluation camp. Plyushchev, who’s entering his first year as Russian U20 coach after taking the reigns from ex-Ranger Sergei Nemchinov, wasn’t asked specifically about Grachev, but one thing is certain: the Ontario Hockey League’s rookie of the year wasn’t left off the invite list because he’s not under consideration for the team that will travel to Saskatchewan for the World Junior Championship this winter.
That leaves two possibilities: First, that he’s still recovering from whatever injury it was that kept him off the ice for the final day of development camp earlier this month. No details were provided at the time, but the obvious hope is that the absence wasn’t related to the suspected concussion that knocked him out of the final two games of his postseason run with the Brampton Battalion.
The second possibility is that the Rangers requested that he be excluded from the camp because they believe he’s got a good shot at forcing his way on to their roster this fall didn’t want him to risk injury — not an unreasonable concern when you recall that both Rangers prospects who played in the Canada-Russia “Super Series” prior to the 2008 season (Artem Anisimov and Alexei Cherepnov) suffered injuries in that tournament.
UPDATE: While the Russian roster will be devoid of Rangers prospects, three Rangers draftees are amongst the 43 players invited on the Team USA side. Rangers 2009 first round pick Chris Kreider and 2008 second round pick Derek Stepan will get their first crack at trying out for the American U20 squad, while 2009 third round pick Ryan Bourque will be attending his second Team USA National Junior Evaluation Camp. (H/T to my husband for being far less myopic than I am and digging up the Team USA list of invitees.)
For those interested in a road trip to watch some summer hockey in the little Adirondack village made famous by the 1980 Miracle on Ice, both practices and games in Lake Placid next month will be open to the public. According to the Olympic Center, admission to practices is free, and game tickets will be available at the Olympic Center Box Office on game day. For more information, see the Lake Placid Olympic Region Events Calendar or contact the box office at 518-523-3330.
UPDATE 2: Single game tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for kids and seniors. An all event pass is available for $35 for adults or $24 for kids or seniors.
If you go, make sure you take the Olympic Center Tour while you’re there. Watching the final two minutes of the 1980 Miracle On Ice game inside Herb Brooks Arena is guaranteed to send chills down your spine.
USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp Schedule
Fri., Aug. 7 â€“ USA Blue vs. USA White (USA Rink) – 7 p.m.
Sat., Aug. 8 â€“ USA Blue vs. USA White (USA Rink) – 7 p.m.
Sun., Aug. 9 â€“ USA Blue vs. USA White (USA Rink) – 4 p.m.
Tues., Aug. 11 â€“ USA vs. Russia (USA Rink) – 6 p.m.
Wed., Aug. 12 â€“ Russia vs. USA (USA Rink) – 6 p.m.
Fri., Aug. 14 â€“ USA vs. Russia (1980 Rink) – 7 p.m.
Sat., Aug. 15 â€“ Russia vs. USA (USA Rink) – 5 p.m.
Russian U20 Evaluation Camp Roster
Alexander Pechursky â€“ 06/04/1990 (Metallurg Magnitogorsk)
Alexei Trifonov â€“ 01/21/1990 (Lada Tolyatti)
Dmitry Shikin â€“ 08/28/1991 (Amur Khabarovsk)
Georgy Berdyukov â€“ 08/19/1991 (SÐšÐ St.-Petersburg)
Valery Vasilev â€“ 03/17/1990 (Lada Tolyatti)
Igor Golovkov â€“ 05/17/1990 (Dynamo Moscow)
Nikita Zaitsev â€“ 10/29/1991 (Sibir Novosibirsk)
Anton Klementyev â€“ 03/25/1990 (Lokomotiv Yaroslavl)
Yan-Georgy Kostev â€“ 03/24/1990 (Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk)
Dmitry Kostromitin â€“ 01/22/1990 (Traktor Chelyabinsk)
Pavel Milyutin â€“ 02/14/1990 (Vityaz Chekhov)
Dmitry Khamko â€“ 01/04/1990 (Salavat Yulaev Ufa)
Maxim Chudinov â€“ 03/25/1990 (Severstal Cherepovets)
Georgi Guryanov â€“ 06/26/1990 (CSKA Moscow)
Dmitry Kugryshev â€“ 01/18/1990 (Quebec Remparts)
Vyacheslav Kulemin â€“ 06/14/1990 (CSKA Moscow)
Anton Lazarev â€“ 05/29/1990 (Atlant Mytishchi)
Andrei Loktionov â€“ 05/30/1990 (Windsor Spitfiles)
Kirill Nikonorov â€“ 01/08/1990 (Lada Tolyatti)
Anatoly Nikontsev â€“ 06/25/1990 (Gazovik Tyumen)
Sergei Ostapchuk â€“ 03/19/1990 (Rouyn-Noranda Huskies)
Kirill Petrov â€“ 04/13/1990 (AK Bars Kazan)
Alexander Selyanin â€“ 07/02/1990 (Lada Tolyatti)
Vladimir Tarasenko â€“ 12/13/1991 (Sibir Novosibirsk)
Evgeny Timkin â€“ 09/03/1990 (Avangard Omsk)
Petr Khokhryakov â€“ 01/16/1990 (Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk)
Pavel Chernov â€“ 01/30/1990 (Atlant Mytishchi)
Alexander Chiglintsev â€“ 02/27/1990 (Salavat Yulaev Ufa)
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