Prospect season returns...
Novgorod 2 vs. Ufa 3 (SO)
Andrey Vasilevskiy, Ufa, DNP
Season totals: 0 GP, 0-0-0, 0 SO, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 sv%
Ex-Flyer Stefan Ruczika had 1 goal and 1 assist for Ufa in their 3-2 shootout win over Novgorod.
Dynamo Moscow 3 vs. Magnitogorsk 1
Vasily Koshechkin, Magnitogorsk, Loss, 26/29, 3.06 GAA, .897 sv%
Season totals: 1 GP, 0-1-0, 0 SO, 3.06 GAA, .897 sv%
Vasily Koshechkin dropped the season-opening loss of his second stint with perennial Russian power Magnitogorsk. Ex-Lightning draft pick Marek Kvapil had a helper on Dynamo's 3rd goal. Ex-Lightning draft pick Dmitri Kazionov had 4 penalty minutes in the loss for Magnitogorsk. This season will mark the second straight Koshechkin will play with a Kazionov brother. The younger, Denis, played with Koshechkin for Cherepovets last year.
Donetsk 4 vs. Bratislava 2
Jaroslav Janus, Bratislava, Loss, 31/34, 3.02 GAA, .912 sv%
Season totals: 1 GP, 0-1-0, 0 SO, 3.02 GAA, .912 sv%
Ex-Lightning prospect Michal Sersen was -2 in Bratislava's 4-2 loss to Donetsk. Bratislava's blueline also continues to feature former Lightning first rounder Vladimir Mihalik, who was even in the match.
Zagreb 7 vs. CSKA 1
Nikita Gusev, CSKA, DNP
Season totals: 0 GP, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM
Somehow, Nikita Gusev has found his way back into the CSKA organization where the forward did not play in their 7-1 loss to Zagreb. The forward had been traded from CSKA to Khabarovsk last season for a 1st round draft pick. Zagreb got 2 goals from ex-NHLer Jonathan Cheechoo and 2 goals and 2 assists from ex-Springfield Falcon Ryan Vesce in their KHL premier.
Elsewhere, Denis Kazionov had a helper for Omsk as they were flattened 5-1 by SKA St. Petersburg.
Apologies for the delayed observations but personal circumstances have necessitated a combined summary of impressions from several days I attended.
The bulk of the following observations stem from last Wednesday's 3-on-3 tournament action (I was unable to make it Tuesday) although some does come from the on-ice sessions last Sunday and Monday. Here are some thoughts on a limited number of camp participants, from those I went out of my way to watch and those my eyes kept being drawn to:
On the heels of a national holiday, 32 prospects--most drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning, others signed as free agents and a handful of invitees--gathered on the ice Saturday at the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon to begin several days of on-ice and off-ice conditioning as well as instruction in organizational values and the culture of professional hockey for both returning and first-time participants.
"Let's call this what it is: summer hockey," Lightning head coach Jon Cooper told assembled media. "Part of what [the players] get out of this camp is the chance to get to know myself, Rob Zettler, the staff. Getting to know expectations and being a pro."
"A lot of these kids are coming from juniors programs, college, all these different walks of life, but here at the Tampa Bay Lightning we've got a certain code of conduct," Cooper noted. "This is where it starts."
Having concluded fitness testing and physicals, players hit the ice and rounded out their day with an hour-long practice spent completing basic drills as well as a forty-five minute power skating session.
"The first day is always kind of a feel out day," Cooper said. "Some of these guys, I'm sure, have been skating and some haven't been."
Keeping in mind that the 3-on-3 tournament scheduled to begin Tuesday and wrap-up on Wednesday, the final day of camp, will provide better opportunities to gauge player abilities and hockey sense, here are some brief and selected observations:
Following Ufa's elimination from the KHL playoffs, goaltender Andrey Vasilevskiy was returned to Ufa Jr. to appear for the team's junior club in their Eastern Conference Semifinals series against Omsk Jr.
The series began on Monday, 3-25-13, with Ufa Jr. dropping a 2-1 decision in a shootout. Vasilevskiy stopped 32 of 33 shots he faced in regulation and overtime but was beaten by both shooters he faced in the penalty shot session for the shootout loss.
Game Two was Tuesday, 3-26-13, and saw Omsk Jr. smoke Ufa Jr. 5-2. Vasilevskiy stopped just 22 of 27 shots in the loss.
Game Three was today, 3-29-13, and unfortunately saw Ufa Jr. eliminated by virtue of a 3-1 Omsk Jr. victory. Vasilevskiy stopped 24 of 27 in the series clinching loss.
Vasilevskiy finished the MHL playoffs with a 0-2-1 mark, 0 shutouts, a 2.85 GAA, and a .897 save percentage. All speculation now turns to the possibility of the talented first rounder signing a contract with the Lightning and possibly beginning his North American pro career next season with the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL.
KHL Playoffs (Russia):
(1)Kazan 4 vs. (5)Ufa 3
Kazan Wins the Series 4-3
Andrey Vasilevskiy, Ufa, DNP
Playoff totals: 0 GP, 0-0-0, 0 SO, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 sv%
Regular season totals (KHL): 8 GP, 4-1-0, 1 SO, 2.22 GAA, .924 sv%
Regular season totals (MHL): 27 GP, 20-6-1, 3 SO, 1.93 GAA, .930 sv%
Ex-NHLer Nikolai Zherdev had a goal as Kazan squeaked by Ufa in a 4-3 Game Seven triumph to advance to the KHL Eastern Conference Finals. Ex-NHLer Brent Sopel had a goal in defeat for Ufa. Lightning prospect netminder Andrey Vasilevskiy did not play in the playoffs, and speculation will now turn toward his potential signing with the club. His junior club remains alive in the MHL playoffs, so it is possible he re-joins his former team.
Kazan advances to play Chelyabinsk and the last Lightning prospect survivor in the KHL playoffs, Nikita Nesterov. Game One is slated for Saturday. SKA St. Petersburg and Dynamo Moscow are facing off in the Western Finals.