GM Burke shakes up Canada roster as Olympic tryouts continue
Adds 10 new players for upcoming Channel One Cup tournament in Moscow
Canada's Olympic men's hockey team will give 10 new players a look at the Channel One Cup in Moscow in two weeks from the team that competed in the Karjala Cup in Helsinki earlier this month.
Among the 25 players (two goalies, nine defencemen and 14 forwards) general manager Sean Burke and the coaching staff have invited to the Moscow tournament, the newcomers include:
- Taylor Beck (Kunlun Red Star, KHL)
- Matt Frattin (Barys Astana, KHL)
- Ryan Garbutt (Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod, KHL)
- P.A. Parenteau (Avtomobillist Yekaterinburg, KHL)
- Derek Roy (Linkoping HC, Sweden)
- Max Talbot (Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, KHL)
- Stefan Elliott (HV71, Sweden)
- Shawn Lalonde (Kolner Hale, Germany)
- Mat Robinson (CSKA Moscow, KHL)
- Barry Brust (HC Fribourg-Gotteron, Switzerland)
Canada will play games in Moscow in the six-country tournament against South Korea (Dec. 13), Czech Republic (Dec. 15) and Russia (Dec. 16).
After Canada edged Switzerland 3-2 and dropped 2-0 and 4-3 decisions to Sweden and Finland, respectively, at the Karjala Cup, Burke said he wanted to alter the roster by six to 10 players.
It was evident from the games in Helsinki that the Canadians were pushed around too easily along the boards in battles for pucks and, at times, were sloppy around their own goal in clearing rebounds and limiting second chances.
They also struggled on special teams, particularly on the penalty kill. But Canada also lacked a big shot from the point on the power play.
Robinson, a 31-year-old right shot defenceman from Calgary, is a candidate for power-play duty. He has scored 43 goals in four-plus seasons in the KHL.
Robinson skated with the team in practice in Helsinki, but he did not play due to an undisclosed injury.
Ben Scrivens shaky
Another area of concern was goaltending. Ben Scrivens of Spruce Grove, Alta. was given an opportunity to seize the No. 1 position by making all three starts at the Karjala Cup. While spectacular at times during flurries from the opposition in all three games, he did surrender weak goals and only put up a .894 save percentage (68 saves from 76 shots) in the three outings.
So Burke will take a look at 34-year-old veteran Brust from Swan River, Man. Brust is the only Canadian player who will perform in Moscow from the Swiss National League. The Swiss are not on break, unlike the main leagues in Russia, Finland, Sweden and the Czech Republic.
The 34-year-old Parenteau of Gatineau, Que. will be a player to watch. Although he played sparingly in the playoffs he was along for the Nashville Predators ride to the Stanley Cup final. He failed in his tryout bid with the Detroit Red Wings and found a new home in the KHL last week.
Roy and Frattin also were named to the Canadian roster for the Karjala Cup but did not join the team because of injuries.
Among the Canadian players who were named to the Channel One Cup team and played in Helsinki two weeks ago are Scrivens, defencemen Karl Stollery, Chay Genoway, Chris Lee, Maxim Noreau, Simon Despres as well as forwards Wojtek Wolski, Brandon Kozun, Eric O'Dell, Rene Bourque, Linden Vey, Gilbert Brule, Matt Ellison, Teddy Purcell and Rob Klinkhammer.
After the tournament in Moscow, Burke will put together another Canadian team, this time for the Spengler Cup in Davos, Switzerland at Christmas time. Even though KHL players won't be available for this tournament, Burke will use the event for further evaluations.
The Canadian Olympic team will be announced in mid-January and then will gather in Riga, Latvia in late January for a training camp. There, the Canadians will play in two exhibition games and then one final test against Sweden in Pyeongchang prior to their Olympic tournament opener against Switzerland onFeb. 15.