European Leagues

LG Hockey Games: Day Three

Russia 4 @ Czech Republic 2
Vasily Koshechkin, Russia, DNP
Tournament totals: 0 GP, 0-0-0, 0 SO, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 sv%

Ex-Ducks draft pick Maxim Rybin had a pair of goals to help lead Russia to a 4-2 win over the Czech Republic. Lightning overage netminder Vasily Koshechkin did not dress for the game and did not play in the tournament. He was listed on Russia's tournament opening roster, but the goaltending duties for the LG Hockey Games were handled by Mikhail Biryukov of Yaroslavl and Alexei Volkov of Ekaterinburg.

Elsewhere, Sweden defeated archrival Finland 3-2 in a shootout. Ex-Lightning goaltender Karri Ramo allowed 2 goals on 21 shots and 2 of 3 shooters to beat him for the shootout loss. Ex-Lightning camper Niklas Persson had an assist in the match for the Swedes while ex-Lightning defenseman Janne Niskala had an assist for the Finns.

Sweden wins the LG Hockey Games with Russia finishing second, Finland in third, and the Czechs in last place. Swedish Elitserien matches begin again on Thursday, 2/17/11, and the Russian KHL gets back into action tomorrow, with a match between Chekhov and Novokuznetsk.

Harju Downplays Swedish Newspaper Reports

Damian Crisdotero is reporting that forward Johan Harju is downplaying remarks that were reported in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet recently quoting Harju as being unhappy with his current situation in the Lightning organization. The article claimed Harju was contemplating returning to Europe next season with his path to the NHL seemingly blocked by the strong performance of the club's forwards in Tampa Bay.

Per Crisdotero:

Quote:
“It wasn’t really true,” Harju said. “A couple of guys from my hometown in Sweden (were) working for a newspaper and I talked to them and they understood me wrong, so that was the big thing and it was in the newspaper. I have a fun time here and love to play here.”

Harju has a 1 goal and 2 points in 7 NHL games this season and 18 goals and 25 points in 40 games for Norfolk of the AHL. The 24 year old recently represented the Admirals in the AHL All-Star Game, posting an assist in that game. He was recalled recently with the injuries to Ryan Malone and Nate Thompson and will likely be in the lineup tonight against Carolina.

LG Hockey Games: Day Two

Sweden 6 @ Russia 2
Vasily Koshechkin, Russia, DNP
Tournament totals: 0 GP, 0-0-0, 0 SO, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 sv%

Ex-Lightning camper Niklas Persson had a helper as Sweden dismantled Russia 6-2 in their second game of the LG Hockey Games. Lightning overage prospect Vasily Koshechkin did not dress for the Russians.

Elsewhere, Finland defeated the Czech Republic 3-2. Ex-Lightning draft pick Ivan Rachunek had a helper in the loss for the Czechs.

Heading into the final matches of the tournament tomorrow, Sweden has pretty much locked the tournament victory with 2 wins in 2 games and a stirling +9 goal differential.

LG Hockey Games: Day One

Russia 5 @ Finland 3
Vasily Koshechkin, Russia, DNP
Tournament totals: 0 GP, 0-0-0, 0 SO, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 sv%

Vasily Koshechkin did not dress in Russia's 5-3 win over Finland. Russia's first line featured two former BoltProspects: center Alexei Glukhov and winger Evgeny Artyukhin. Both assisted on Russia's final goal, which was an empty-netter by former NHLer Maxim Afinogenov. Artyukhin also had a goal in the match. Ex-Lightning goaltender Karri Ramo allowed 4 goals on 28 shots to take the loss for the Finns. Finland also features former Lightning defenseman Janne Niskala. Glukhov, a 2002 9th round pick, has 5 goals and 17 points in 51 games this season for Mytischi of the Russian KHL.

In the day's other match, Sweden clubbed the Czech Republic 6-1. Ex-Lightning camper Niklas Persson had 1 goal and 1 assist in the victory for the Swedes. The Czech Republic's lineup includes former Lightning draft pick Ivan Rachunek, a 1999 7th rounder who has 17 goals and 34 points in 49 games this season for Zlin of the Czech Extraliga.

Elitserien Game Day: 2/5/11

AIK 3 @ Sodertalje 2
Riku Helenius, Sodertalje, DNP
Season totals: 17 GP, 4-10-0, 0 SO, 2.89 GAA, .890 sv%

Oscar Steen of AIK scored a power play goal 27 seconds into the third period to lift AIK to a 3-2 win over Sodertalje in a key late season Elitserien matchup. Ex-Avs draft pick Linus Videll had a goal in the match for Sodertalje, which was his team leading 19th of the season, which is tied for 4th best in the league.

Sodertalje still holds a slim 1 point lead over Timra for 8th on the Elitserien table. But, with regulation wins counting as 3 points in Sweden, the truth is that the race for the final playoff spot and for avoiding the Kval till Elitserien promotion/relegation tournament is a near dead heat between 5 teams heading into the final 8 games of the regular season. Sodertalje sits in 8th at 63 points, Timra in 9th with 62, MODO in 10th with 61, and AIK and Frolunda are just one regulation win back at 60 points and occupying 11th and 12th, respectively. Unfortunately for Sodertalje, they have the second worst goal differential in the league (-25), so the tiebreak scenarios are not favorable to their cause.

The Elitserien is off until 2/17/11 for the LG Hockey Games.

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