Russia vs Switzerland – Dec. 26th
SWI #15 (Sven Bartschi) The Portland Winterhawks star didn’t get a chance to play in Calgary earlier this year when the Winter Hawks came through since he was out with an injury, but he did not disappoint the throngs of Flames fans in his first appearance in Calgary since NHL training camp. Bartschi remains the Swiss’ biggest scoring threat. He was all over the ice controlling the Swiss attack. Bartschi showed off the quick release that he has with his snap shot. Bartschi skates well and was able to create a couple turnovers by being hard on the forecheck. The only damper to his night was a terrible drop pass while entering the offense zone that was intercepted by Alexader Khocklachev for Russia’s first (and eventual game-winning) goal of the game.
SWI #12 (Lino Martschini) The diminutive Martschini was mostly kept to the outside but used his wheels to create chances off the rush. Unleashed a nasty shot from the slot that Vasilevki didn’t see but much to his disappointment, it hit square off the cross bar and stayed out of the net.
RUS #25 (Yevgeny Kuznetsov) Kuznetsov seems to be able to play at a level above everyone else. The skilled forward is an elusive skater that is able to make opponents miss him with ease. He is strong on his feet and he uses his body well to protect the puck and win battles along the boards. While he didn’t figure in any of the scoring, Kuznetsov was a constant threat each shift. He has very nice hands and is very patient with the puck. He might have been too patient with the puck a couple time as he wasted scoring chances by taking too much time to make a play. He may need to speed up his internal clock that lets him know how much time he has to make a play. Kuznetsov was also guilty of over-handling the puck a bit, but that’s really just nitpicking as he played a very strong game.
RUS #17 (Mikhail Grigorenko) Grigoreko has a soft touch with the puck. His ability to effortlessly set up his linemates with tape-to-tape passes make him very dangerous both on the power play and in transition. That passing ability garnered him an assist and his awareness of where to find open ice positioned him to capitalize on a pretty passing play for a goal too. Grigorenko is a pretty good skater with excellent vision and awareness. While he didn’t show a lot of interest in backchecking, Grigorenko was still used on the PK where he was able to get into the shooting lanes and take some faceoffs with varying success. He seemed content to fight for the puck with stick rather than use size/body to more effectively win puck battles.
RUS #30 (Andrei Vasilevski) The Russian netminder faced a lot of rubber early on and once he made a few saves, he got into a rhythm and played with a lot of confidence. Vasilevksi did a good job at challenging shooters although he perhaps got a little over aggressive. He did get a little lucky a couple times (most notably on Martschini’s crossbar shot), but he played exceptionally well for a Russian team just holding on to a couple goal lead late in the game. Ended up making 40 saves for a shutout. The key to Vasilevski’s game was the use of his quick reflexes. He was especially good with his glove hand where he was able to snag several dangerous shots out of mid area and trap pucks. He also did a good job for the most part of kicking rebounds out to the corners or covering up the puck and not leaving too many pucks in dangerous places for rebounds.
SWI #25 (Dario Simion) The 2012 draft-eligible has a nice combination of size, strength, and skating ability for his age. While not the most explosive or physical player, Simion made his presence felt by being very noticeable in a positive way for an underager. He fought hard for loose pucks, he went hard to the net, he worked hard to create/find space for himself, and he showed the promise of some offensive skill when he received some power play time. He still looks somewhat raw in how he uses his body, but he definitely has the raw tools needed to have a pro career.
Scouts Notes: A pro-Swiss (and pro-Bartschi) crowd went home disappointed after the Russians held on for a 3-0 win. The Swiss actually outshot the Russians and while their chances weren’t all of a high quality like the Russian shots were, there were numerous chances for the Swiss to score and make a game out of it. Both goalies played very well. Alexander Khocklachev’s goal was a beauty after he picked off Bartschi’s drop pass, skated around a flat-footed Swiss defender and broke in alone on Tim Wolf.
FINAL SCORE: Russia 3 – Switzerland 0