The Russian National team announced it has upgraded its coaching staff for the upcoming World Junior Championships, starting next month with Russian greats Igor Larionov and Nikolai Khabibulin taking roles with the team under head coach Valeri Bragin.
Larionov, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame and three-time Stanley Cup Champion, will take over as an assistant coach after maintaining a role as an advisor for the senior national team. Khabibulin, a four-time all-star in the NHL, will take over as the WJC goaltending coach for Russia. He has served as goaltending coach for the Russian Olympic team. They will be replacing Yuri Babenko and Vladimir Kulikov, who were re-assigned.
Both coaches are expected to join the Russian team for training camp on Dec. 9. The tournament begins on Dec. 26 in the Czech Republic.
- The Daily Herald’s Barry Rozner wonders whether this will be Corey Crawford’s last season with the Chicago Blackhawks. The 34-year-old has fared well after several injury-plagued seasons, posting a 2.94 GAA and a .913 save percentage in 13 games while splitting time with Robin Lehner. Unfortunately, Lehner who is six years younger, is having an even better season, and with both goaltenders hitting unrestricted free agency this summer, the team will have to pick one, which would suggest they will retain Lehner, although the scribe notes that it’s too early in the season to make any assumptions. However, with another young goalie close to ready in Kevin Lankinen, the team might have no choice but to move on from their longtime star goaltender.
- The Columbus Blue Jackets announced that defenseman Zach Werenski suffered a upper-body injury and would not return for the remainder of the game against the New York Islanders. The injury looked serious as he collided with the Islanders’ Anders Lee less than four minutes into the game and hit him in the left shoulder, the same shoulder that Werenski had surgery on in July. The Columbus Dispatch’s Brian Hedger reports that there was no update on Werenski after the game and an update isn’t likely to be revealed until Monday. However, the 22-year-old leads the Blue Jackets’ defensemen with six goals and 16 points.