World Cup practices begin: who are the Flames playing with?

It’s Labour Day, the traditional end of the summer and surefire sign that the hockey season will soon be upon us. Since everyone will soon be glued to the television (or camped out at McMahon Stadium) for the Labour Day Classic, here’s a brief news update to keep you informed.

WORLD CUP LINES

Today is the first day on the ice for the eight teams vying for the World Cup of Hockey, with practices taking place all over the world. As such, we are seeing lines trickle out all over the Twitter machine.

So far, Backlund looks to be Sweden’s 13th forward. (We’re as excited about it as you are.)

PROSPECTS IN EUROPE

Four players I wouldn’t expect to see in training camp later this month are Linus Lindstrom, Pavel Karnaukhov, Adam Ollas Mattsson and Rushan Rafikov.

  • A 2016 pick, Lindstrom has made the roster for Skelleftea AIK’s pro team after spending time with the big club and their junior club last season.
  • A 2015 pick, Karnaukhov left the Calgary Hitmen for the CSKA Moscow organization and while he hasn’t made their roster, he’s somewhere in their organization.
  • A 2014 pick, Ollas Mattsson is back with Djurgardens IF, the Swedish club that he’s played with for a couple seasons.
  • A 2013 pick, Rafikov has seemingly actually made the roster of Yaroslavl Lokomotiv this year after bouncing around the KHL last year due to not quite cementing a spot with Lokomotiv.

NORMAN KWONG

Finally, original Calgary Flames owner Norman Kwong passed away on Saturday at the age of 86. Part of the group of six owners (along with Darryl Seaman, Byron Seaman, Harley Hotchkiss, Ralph Scurfield and Norman Green) that teamed up with Nelson Skalbania to bring the Flames to Calgary, he also served as general manager of the Calgary Stampeders and gained prominence playing on both sides of the CFL’s Battle of Alberta.

A former Lieutenant Governor of Alberta and recipient of the Alberta Order of Excellence and Member of the Order of Canada, Kwong’s impact in Alberta and Canada will be felt for a long time.

  • Oyo

    Those NA lines are going to be fun to watch. If they can defend well enough, they could be a surprise pick to take this tournament.

    The Czechs are going to get their heads kicked in unfortunately.

        • Parallex

          Echo this. This will probably be the only opportunity to see McDavid & Guadreau play on the same team with a reasonable compete level (No, All-Star games don’t have a reasonable compete level).

          • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

            Why would you think that there will only be a ” reasonable ” compete level. Other tournaments of this nature have been very intense . Ask the Russian in 84 if messiers elbow to the head was reasonable when he cut him for 50 stitches!

          • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

            You are right. The intrigue of the Iron Curtainwas special but that does not take away from the competitive nature that this tournament will bring.

          • Parallex

            I think that competitive nature will probably be NHL pre-season level. The old Canada Cup tournaments were the only venue to see the world’s best face off and didn’t have silly gimmick teams.

            I think this tournament is a bad joke.

        • The Sultan

          First and foremost, McDavid is NOT a top 5 talent in the world. To say so is simply ludicrous and comes off sounding like the insane ramblings of an entitled Oilers fan predicting a Stanley Cup parade after finishing 30th overall (again) the previous year.

          There’s no denying his skill or potential, and that’s not saying he won’t ever get there, though I do stand to believe that he would’ve went on to have a more successful career had he been drafted anywhere but Edmonton. But I digress.

          I can name 10 players that are better than McDavid. Johnny Gaudreau is one of them. He hasn’t proven anything except that he doesn’t know how to take a hit.

          • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

            You are Sooo wrong. I know it’s hard to admit but sorry to say he is one of the best in the league right now regardless of what you believe.

          • Tomas Oppolzer

            I mean, you’re entitled to your own opinion. Fact of the matter, though, is that McDavid was a top3 player in the league last year when he played. As for saying I sound like an Oiler fan, I can assure you I’m not. I’m about as hardcore for the Flames as one can. Hell, ask Train and they’ll tell you I’m definitely not a Coiler fan.

      • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

        While I thought about McDavid and Gaudreau at first, I realize that they both like to carry the puck too much and unfortunately there is only one puck on the ice at a time.

  • Parallex

    “So far, Backlund looks to be Sweden’s 13th forward. (We’re as excited about it as you are.)”

    Good, less chance he’ll be injured.

    Honestly I wish all the Flames players had taken a pass on this. The NHL has completely failed to make this tournament have even a tiny fraction of the meaning that the World Cup has for Football or Rugby.

    Heck, I’m not even sure it’ll have the meaning that the World Baseball Classic has.