The Russians have put together a roster of their U20 players that will play in the Sochi Hockey Open at the former Olympic grounds. From what I can gather on their website, the tournament will be played against the U20 rosters of Slovakia and Belarus, or the ones that are showing up anyway.

Abramov, 19, has played for Russia’s U18 and U17 teams. This appointment could potentially hint towards a possible World Juniors invite at the end of 2020, or whenever a tournament can be conducted.

Top goalie prospect Yaroslav Askarov is on the team, along with a handful of other top prospects for this summer’s NHL Draft including Shakir Mukhamadullin, Ilya Ovchinnikov, Maxim Groshev, Yegor Chinakhov, and Rodion Amirov. Vasiliy Ponomaryov is another D+1 prospect like Abramov.

The last time Canada was in this tournament, it was 2017 and they started a line brawl with the Russians. Guess the invite for the past few years got lost in the mail.

Tonight at 9:30pm EST, I will be joining 30 way smarter people than me in the second annual Scouching Mock Draft on friend-of-the-blog Will Scouch’s Youtube Channel (you’ll remember he was a guest voter last season in the T25U25). We’ll be doing the first three rounds and I’m tasked with picking 15th, 46th, and 77th overall. We’re going to have a lot of fun and I guarantee the Leafs are going to be able to grab someone drafted in the first round here (Nick Robertson was taken 13th last year). Will’s great, I’m great (I think?), and there’ll be plenty of insightful analysis — and hot takes — going on. Please join us, will you?

Bob McKenzie has also reported the schedule for Phase 4 (aka THE PLAYOFFS). It’ll be three games per day in each Hub City (Toronto and Edmonton). Games will be spaced every four hours, and Edmonton will start two hours later than Toronto. Basically, we’re going to get six mostly uninterrupted games all day every day for the next two months almost.

Katya has done a full write-up of this which can be found at the link below, with charts. If the Leafs are the second Play-In series in the East (they finished behind Pittsburgh, who would theoretically be the first series of the Play-In), they would be playing at 8pm on Saturday, August 1st. The rest of the five-game series would continue on the 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 8th (the next Saturday). From there, the “First Round” would begin on August 11th after a few off days (inside the bubble). From there it’s again a game every other day until a winner is decided. No travel. No extra off days. And I believe limited practice time. Get ready for chaos!

“The Seeding Round games will be given the 4 pm slot in each city to try to keep late games from starting too late. Seeding Round games will be played with the regular season format of a shorter overtime and a shootout.”

Details of NHL broadcast schedule revealed

Katya also had all the legal updates of the day, including the finalized Phase 3/4 Protocols and the CBA MOU being ready for a vote. Overnight, the NHLPA Executive Board approved the tentative CBA and have passed the vote along to the full league. Announcement should come July 10th (Friday)

NHL releases Phase 3/4 Protocols
2020 NHL CBA Memo of Understanding is ready for voting

Yesterday in the Top 25 Under 25 was Pierre Engvall’s rise into #9 on the list. He’s better than The Rest, but still a step behind the top eight. Pretty good for a seventh round pick in 2014.

“Honestly, and I recognize I’m getting dangerously close to A Good Lesson For All You Kids Out There: I think Engvall’s career path is a testament to how useful it is to be whatever your coach needs you to be. There are players with more offensive skill than Engvall whom he has surpassed on the depth chart just by being a Pierre Of All Trades. Winger with a bit of scoring? Engvall. Shutdown centre in the AHL? Engvall. Penalty killer? Engvall. It likely helped, of course, that the AHL coach who took Engvall through those steps wound up running the NHL franchise right around the time Engvall was ready for a similar promotion.” - Acting the Fulemin, Pension Plan Puppets

Pavel Barber and Sonny Sachdeva at Sportsnet broke down Auston Matthews’ shot. You might find that it’s pretty good. Check it out for a really good hockey techniques lesson.

“Since breaking into the league in 2016-17, Matthews has made his name as one of the game’s premier snipers, the focal point of his shooting arsenal being without question his wrist shot — and more specifically, the drag-release shot that sees him alter the angle before wiring the puck cage-side.” - Sonny Sachdeva, Sportsnet

Jake Gardiner had an unfortunate season in Carolina and Canes fans are more than willing to accept on ice shooting percentages as the defenseman’s fault. Reading the argument against Gardiner at Canes Country with the understanding of what shooting percentages do, it’s almost funny how backwards their conclusions are. I got a little annoyed reading this article. Just trade him back to Toronto. We all know it’s what’s best for everyone.

About Last Season: Jake Gardiner Performance Review and Grade

Can’t believe it’s been a year since this. Happy Anniversary.

You know, when your site account tweets about racial slurs in sports names, don’t include the slur in the tweet.

Chicago Blackhawks to keep name, Native American logo