New York Rangers rookie center Artem Anisimov has been invited to join the Russian national team for a pair exhibition games scheduled to take place in Italy later this month. The games are part of Team Russia’s preparation for the 2010 IIHF World Championship, which begins in Germany on May 7th.
Anisimov joins a group of primarily young players on Russia’s preliminary roster for the event. The list includes Florida defenseman Dmitri Kulikov, Columbus forward Nikita Filatov, Minnesota goaltender Anton Khudobin and 2010 draft-eligible forward Vladimir Tarasenko — all of whom will be making their debut with the senior national team. Should the Rangers miss the playoffs or be knocked out early, Anisimov will join his fellow first-timers when they face the Italian national team on April 23rd in Asiago and April 24th in Bolzano.
The opportunity to stay with the team for the World Championship could follow, depending on the players’ performance in Italy and on which Russian NHL players are available for the start of the tournament.
Team Russia assistant coach Andrei Nazarov, who was hired following Russia’s failure at the Vancouver Olympics to scout and serve as liason to Russian players currently playing in the NHL, was in North America late last month to talk to potential national team candidates. Anisimov was included on his list of players to visit. The former NHL pugilist and current head coach of KHL squad Traktor Chelyabinsk was impressed with the young center after watching him in the Rangers’ 5-0 trouncing of the Islanders on March 24th.
“Anisimov’s play was a revelation to me,” Nazarov told Sport-Express after seeing the young forward score what would become his second game-winner of the year. “Artem got 12 minutes of time, but every shift he worked from start to finish, like our players do on Traktor (laughs). I’m very glad that Anisimov scored off a pass from my good friend, the “policeman” Jody Shelley, who I’ve had occasion to “dance” with on the ice in the past,” Nazarov continued. “In the coming days, I’ll call Shelley and ask him to keep a closer eye on the young Russian star, since they play on the same line.”
Team Russia Preliminary Roster
|Koshechkin, Vasily||27.03.1983||200||91||Metallurg Mg|
|Khudobin, Anton||07.05.1986||178||77||Minnesota Wild|
|Bobrovsky, Sergei||20.09.1988||188||87||Metallurg Hg|
|Kulikov, Dmitri||29.10.1990||185||84||Florida Panthers|
|Atyushov, Vitaly||04.07.1979||188||88||Metallurg, Mg|
|Biryukov, Evgeny||19.04.1986||185||92||Metallurg, Mg|
|Afinogenov, Maxim||04.09.1979||183||87||Atlanta Thrashers|
|Kylemin, Nikolai||14.07.1986||185||83||Toronto Maple Leafs|
|Artyukhin, Evgeny||04.04.1983||195||115||Atlanta Thrashers|
|Anisimov, Artem||24.05.1988||194||89||New York Rangers|
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