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Smolenak Late WJC Cut for Czech Republic

Radek Smolenak was a last minute cut for the Czech Republic prior to the WJC's opening matches. [url=http://www.iihf.com/Hydra/Tournaments_06/output/w20/hydra.iihf.com/data/iihf/output/xml/55/IHM0550CZE_33_3_0.html]He and two other players were left off the Czech Republic's rosters just before the start of the tournament.[/url] This, obviously, explains Smolenak's absence from the lineup last night against Latvia.

Linkopings Kills Brynas

Fredrik Norrena's first club game since being named to Team Finland for the Olympics was an easy one. Linkopings mugged Brynas IF 8-1 leaving Norrena to make just 14 saves on 15 shots to improve his record to 15-5-4 on the season. Norrena also added a helper in the game, assisting on Jyrkri Valivaara's goal with 20 seconds remaining in the first period. Andreas Holmqvist was left out of the abundance of Linkopings scoring.

Game Night 12/26: Hurricanes at Lightning

Hated giving a point to these guys, but this kind of win in dramatic fashion can propel you. CAR-4 TB-5 (OT) Dan Boyle gets it done with the game winning goal on a rebound from his own wraparound chance. His stats aren't pretty allowing 4 goals on 30 shots faced, but John Grahame made some big ones when he needed to and got the win despite the poor fortune of seeing two pucks go in off of deflections off legs in front. Dave Andreychuk chipped in two special teams goals, a power play marker and an earlier shorthanded goal off a good hustle play by Rob DiMaio. With Pavel Kubina somewhat limited due to his sore groin, Paul Ranger lugged 18:29 of even ice time with two shots on goal. He's settling for the most part right now into a defense only role, which is unfortunate with his skill level, but on the positive side he's taking the body a lot more in the last week or two. If he figures out how to use his big frame consistently to separate opponents from the puck, he could be a whale of a two-way defenseman. Both Ryan Craig and Evgeny Artyukhin had a shade over 12 minutes of ice time and were instrumental on the forecheck on Tim Taylor's second period deflection goal. Darren Reid was a scratch for the game in place of Martin Cibak. Game sheet from [url=http://www.nhl.com/scores/htmlreports/20052006/GS020530.HTM]NHL.com.[/url]

WJC Game 1: Finland vs. Canada

Karri Ramo played the role of backup tonight for Team Finland. Perhaps, in retrospect, that was a positive turn of events. Tuuka Rask allowed 5 goals on 27 shots faced as Canada rolled Finland in both teams' WJC opener 5-1. Dustin Boyd led the way for Canada with 2 goals while Andrew Cogliano, Luc Bourdon and Blake Comeau also contributed two point nights to the victory. Rask was panned for for being overly aggressive and undisciplined, dropping down into the butterfly far too quickly and having poor rebound control. Karri Ramo now will likely be the starter on Wednesday when Finland squares off with Team USA. USA is considered the prohibitive favorite in the tournament with top 2006 draft prospects Phil Kessel and Peter Mueller among a talent filled cast. The Finland/USA game will be replayed at 1 pm on Thursday for those who have the NHL Center Ice package and a Tivo or DVR.

Canada Loses Opening Game of the Spengler Cup

Team Canada [url=http://www.spenglercup.ch/Data/show_bericht.cfm?Id=224]lost the opening game of the Spengler Cup today 2-1 in penalty shots to Russian club team Metallurg Magnitogorsk.[/url] Lightning prospect Morgan Cey served as Canada's backup behind goalie of record Andy Chiodo.
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