New York Islanders Nikolai Kulemin represents Team Russia at the World Cup of Hockey in the first exhibition game of the tournament.
Hockey is back! Say what you will be you’re excited. Say what you want about the World Cup of Hockey, but it’s high caliber hockey and that’s all we ever want to see. The first game of the pre-tournament is today with New York Islanders forward Nikolai Kulemin starting for Team Russia.
But their blueline is what Anne Robinson would call “the weakest link”. Andrei Markov is 37 and actually a naturalized Canadian citizen (just saying…). But after Markov, the talent on the blue line falls off the cliff.
Team Russia is going to have to hope they can outscore their opposition or that either of their goalies stand on their head for the duration of the tournament. Because that blueline isn’t going to get the job done.
Kulemin is slated for third line duties alongside Tampa Bay Lightnings Vladislav Namestnikov and Artem Anisimov. Anisimov had a great year after moving to Chicago in the Brandon Saad trade after the Blackhawks third Stanley Cup win. While Namestnikov is doing the same out in Tampa under super GM Steve Yzerman.
Here’s how to watch the World Cup of Hockey’s first pre-tournament game on TV or online:
Date: Thursday, September 8th Start Time: 12:30 p.m. ET Location: Moscow, Russia Venue: VTB Arena TV: ESPN3 (US), Sportsnet & TVA Sports (Canada) Live Stream:WatchESPN
The Russian’s play this first pre-tournament game at home in the capital Moscow. The last time the Russian team faced-off in a big international hockey tournament on home soil they bowed out in the quarter-finals. They’ll look to rectify that.