The World Cup of Hockey exhibition round kicked off on Thursday, with Russia beating Czech Republic, Finland defeating Sweden, and Team North America shutting out Team Europe. Though we’re only one day into the pre-tournament action, there have already been some injury concerns. With that in mind, the eyes of the hockey world will be on Team Canada goaltender Carey Price when the Canadians take on the United States in the first game of back-to-back exhibition contests. Price will make his hotly anticipated first start since November.
When asked about Price, Team Canada coach Mike Babcock said he expects him “to be great”, before asking that needed any elaboration.
USA left winger and Montreal Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty told TSN’s Mark Masters that, on a personal level, he’s happy to see Price “put on the pads again… because I know he suffered last year”. Pacioretty said he wasn’t able to share any secrets on scoring on Price because “there are no secrets on how to beat Carey”.
- Speaking of players competing against their NHL goaltenders, Team Canada forward Steven Stamkos and American goaltender Ben Bishop have been teammates in Tampa Bay for three and a half seasons, so Bishop has seen plenty of Stamkos in practice. However, Stamkos claims he shoots different spots in practice and that he’s going to “ring one by [Bishop]’s head first” then shoot somewhere else next.
- Also from the Team Canada camp, Coach Babcock confirmed that Corey Perry and Jay Bouwmeester will be healthy scratches tonight. Both men were injury replacements, for Jeff Carter and Duncan Keith respectively. Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston spoke with Babcock about how he plans on telling NHL stars that they will be scratched: “I’m just going to tell them. I’ve found in life when someone’s giving me bad news I like it fast.”
- Despite beating Team Europe pretty soundly last night, Team North America changed up their lines this morning. ESPN’s Craig Custance reported Flames RFA Johnny Gaudreau and Sabres sophomore Jack Eichel are now on the top line with captain Connor McDavid. Coach Todd McLellan said they will be making adjustments, and “the overall vision and hockey IQ” of McDavid, Eichel, and Gaudreau made it easy to put them together.