To start the week, Carl Grundström and Frölunda headed to the home rink of Bílí Tygři Liberec in the Czech Republic for their first Round Of Sixteen game in the Champions Hockey League. Frölunda are the runaway favourite in this round, and they set their lineups to give younger players more ice time.
Grundström, who spent a game last week on the top line, was there again. His line played a lot of minutes in the 3-2 win, and he had his usual amount of shots on goal (three this time). The line was better than they had been in the SHL, and the experience is valuable. He was held pointless, however.
The second game in this round of CHL play is at home on Tuesday, November 7 at 12:30 EDT. You should be able to see it streamed online for free. (Remember, you get bonus big minutes of Rasmus Dahlin too.)
Back in Sweden, and back to real life, things didn’t go so well for Frölunda. They lost two games by scores of 2-1 and 5-4.
Grundström was back playing middle six minutes, and shooting decently. He was pointless in the first game.
In the second, a high-scoring contest with defending champs HV71, he had two goals including one in the last minute of play to draw to one short of tied. It was too little too late, however, for the team.
Check out the full highlight video here. You’re looking for #3 in white, and you can see him playing net-front screen on one other goal as well. That last goal, though, that’s pure bull moose determination. By the way, the Victor Ejdsell you see score two for HV71 is the guy the Predators signed out of the Allsvenskan last summer. They might really have something there.
Grundström now has five goals and one assist in 10 games, and okay, this might be official: Assists aren’t his thing.
Frölunda next plays SHL hockey on November 14, as the league takes their usual November break. So civilized.
Lokomotiv played three games this week and bracketed a win with two games where they were shutout. They are sitting in a good spot in the standings still, and they are winning more now than they did back in September.
In the game they won versus Torpedo, Yegor Korshkov scored this goal with a lot of help from Pavel Kraskovsky.
Lokomotiv next play on November 15.
Someone asked me last week to compare the two, and I said that I thought Korshkov had pulled ahead of his linemate in play. But it was Kaskovsky the Russians put on the national team roster for the Karjala Cup this week in Finland, not Korshkov. That could be down to positional need, but in the pre-season national “B” team play, Korshkov had a prominent role.
Korshkov doesn’t get left with nothing to do, however, he is still on the “B” team, which is mostly a U25 team, playing in a tournament in Germany. This year the USA team is going to that event (Canada plays in the Karjala Cup for the first time) as they get ready for the Olympics.
Korshkov has six goals and six assists in 29 games, and is fourth on his team for forwards in points. Kraskovsky has five points so far this season.
HPK played two games this week and won them both in overtime. Jesper Lindgren played in one on the top pair, but did not appear in the second. I can’t find any report of injury, and he played a full set of minutes in the game prior.
The real story for this team is the arrival of Jeremy Morin. Does that name sound familiar? It should, he’s the player the Leafs traded Richard Panik to Chicago for. He never did much on the Marlies, although his reputation was that he was a high-volume shooter.
Morin travelled around to the San Jose, Tampa and Arizona AHL teams last year and couldn’t get a job this past summer. He played three games in the ECHL this year, flunked out there. Tried a KHL team and flopped, and then he was signed by HPK. He has three assists in two games, including one on an overtime winner, and he’s moved up to the top line.
It’s never as simple as this league is better than that league or this team is better than that. Players sometimes struggle to find their level. Both the team, the style of play, the lifestyle, the league, the country and the language all have to work.
I’m not sure the Liiga is perfect for Lindgren, but he’s getting minutes still, and that’s what he needs.
Nikolai Chebykin played two games with his new VHL team, and he has one goal.
Bobylyov did not appear in any games this week. He has played two games with his VHL team in Russia.
As we reported, Vladislav Kara is now in Canada to play in the Canada-Russia junior series.
The first game is Monday in Moose Jaw.
Prior to coming over, he returned to his VHL team where he scored two goals in three games, averaging over 18 minutes per game. He has six goals and two assists in 12 games so far this year.
Still out on injury recovery.
Persons of Interest
Igor Ozhiganov: Also named to the Russian “B” team for the Germany Cup. Last year he played six games of the Euro Hockey Tour, of which the Karjala Cup is a part, so this is actually a step down from that. Russia now has more defencemen to choose from, though, with the arrival back in the KHL of some former NHL players.