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2016-08-22 07:03:40

All eyes on Russia as world u18 set to begin The United States are the favourites and Canada is the dark horse, but it is Russia that has drawn most of the attention heading into the IIHF world under 18 hockey championships. The new squad of mostly 16 year olds is to be bolstered by 17 year olds playing for junior teams in North America, including some slated to be picked in the NHL draft like Windsor Spitfires defenceman Mikhail Sergachyov and forward Vladimir Kuznetsov of the Acadie Bathurst Titan. The underage team is not expected to compete for a medal, but Canadian coach Shaun Clouston is not writing the Russians off. "It's to be seen," he said this week. "They're calling in 98s (players born in 1998, now 17). Canada opens play Friday against Denmark. The under 18 tournament doesn't come close to the world junior championship in fan interest or television ratings, but is a far bigger deal for NHL scouts. About 150 pairs of NHL eyes, including many general managers, are expected to attend the tournament that features almost entirely players eligible for the draft in June. "NHL scouts will just adjust because they have to, and treat it as an early and extra look at some 2017 (draft) guys," said Edwards. "For me, I look at it in a positive light as Ray Ban RB3467 Sunglasses Arista Frame Brown Gradient Lens
Ray Ban RB3467 Sunglasses Arista Frame Brown Gradient Lens an extra look at 2017 guys for no extra money out of our non NHL team budget." Canada could not face the Russians before the quarter finals as its preliminary round group includes Demark, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Finland. in the men's world championship next month, and Patrik Laine, whose Tappara club is in the Finnish league finals. Another blue chip Finn, Jesse Puljularvi, whose Karpat team was eliminated by Tappara on Tuesday, has yet to decide if he will play. Canada doesn't have a flashy prospect, but Evan Fitzpatrick of the Sherbrooke Phoenix is NHL Central Scouting's top ranked North American goalie and defenceman Jakob Chychrun of the Sarnia Sting could go in the top 10. A 7 1 exhibition win this week over the Czechs saw Beck Malenstyn of the Calgary Hitmen and Maxime Comtois of the Victoriaville Tigres score two goals apiece. "The talent level is really high, but hopefully our strength will be teamwork," said Clouston, coach and general manager of the Medicine Hat Tigers. Canada dominates the Ivan Hlinka under 18 tournament, which is held in August and rosters are set in advance. But it struggles at the April IIHF tournament, where many top players are still involved in playoffs in the three major junior leagues. Rosters shift as players from eliminated teams become available.

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