Ducks at the World Junior Championships, Day 1.

Forwards Emerson Etem and Kyle Palmieri were held scoreless, but the United States beat Finland 3-2 in its first game at the World Junior Championships in Buffalo. The game, which was televised on the NHL Network (check your local listings), saw Nick Bjugstad bail out the Americans in overtime with an unassisted goal at 3:08. Team
USA will play its second preliminary-round game of the IIHF World
Junior Championship on Tuesday against Slovakia. The game, to
be televised on NHL Network and streamed live on USAHockey.FASTHockey.com, will start at 5 p.m.

Defenseman Sami Vatanen, the captain of Team Finland, was held off the scoresheet.

Goalie Igor Bobkov, a third-round pick by the Ducks in 2009, allowed six goals on 42 shots in the Russians’ 6-3 loss to Canada.

Ducklings abound at WJCs.

Emerson Etem and Kyle Palmieri will team up for the first time since Ducks training camp, as both made the final roster for Team USA at the World Junior championships.

 

Etem and Palmieri both had strong showings in two pre-tournament exhibitions for the U.S. –an overtime loss to Rensselaer on Sunday and a shootout loss to the Czech Republic on Tuesday. Palmieri was a lock to make the team after he scored both regulation goals Tuesday night. Etem scored a goal Sunday and had several more scoring chances against the Czechs, though he couldn’t convert.

 

Two more Ducks prospects are slated to compete in the WJCs.

 

Defenseman Sami Vatanen, a fourth-round draft pick in 2009, will captain Team Finland. He’ll probably play a lot, too. The 19-year-old leads the SM-Liiga – the top Finnish league – in plus-minus rating. Vatanen also has 21 points in 32 games, averaging over 22 minutes a game for the league-leading team, JYP Jyvskyl.

 

Igor Bobkov, a third-round pick in 2009, could be the top goalie for Team Russia. The 6-foot-6 19-year-old has struggled in his first season in North America. He’s been relegated to backup duties with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League, going 1-4 with a 4.63 goals-against average and .857 save percentage.

 

Check out tomorrow’s editions for a full feature on Etem, a native of Long Beach.

Latest round of cuts helps clarify roster picture.

The Ducks had a day off the ice Sunday, but it was a busy day of travel for six players released from training camp.

Center Trevor Smith, center MacGregor Sharp, goaltender Timo Pielmeier and defenseman Jake Newton were assigned to Syracuse of the American Hockey League. Igor Bobkov was assigned to his Ontario Hockey League team, the London Knights, and forward Stephane Veilleux was released from his pro tryout contract.

Only 30 players remain on the roster and the opening-day roster is starting to become more clear.

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Ducks trim training camp roster by 12.

A total of 12 players were cut from the Ducks’ training camp roster today: Nick Bonino, Rob Bordson, Mat Clark, Nicolas Deschamps, Joe DiPenta, Brandon McMillan, Mark Mitera and Kyle Palmieri were assigned to American Hockey League affiliate Syracuse. Emerson Etem (Medicine Hat/WHL), Peter Holland (Guelph/OHL), Devante Smith-Pelly (Mississauga/OHL) and Scott Valentine (Oshawa/OHL) were assigned to their respective junior teams.

None of the assignments were unexpected. DiPenta, who had already signed an AHL contract, was in camp on a pro tryout but not expected to make the NHL team.

Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said he was impressed with the Long Beach native Etem, a first-round draft pick in June and Smith-Pelly, a second-round pick.

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Ducks 4, Vancouver 2.

The Ducks went out winners at the Young Stars tournament in Penticton, B.C., topping the Vancouver Canucks’ rookies 4-2.

After two straight losses in which they were outmuscled for net position and looked lost on special teams, the kids turned it around in a major way. A pair of power-play goals, by Rob Bordson and Cam Fowler, staked the Ducks to a 2-0 lead through two periods.

In the third, Vancouver came back to tie the game at 2 against goaltender Timo Pielmeier, who lost the tournament opener Sunday. But center Maxime Macenauer, who spent all of last season with ECHL affiliate Bakersfield, scored the game-winner with less than three minutes to play. Kyle Palmieri’s empty-net goal provided the final score.

The Ducks led in the shot column, 33-18, and Pielmeier needed only 16 saves for the win. Russian goalie Igor Bobkov was on the bench for the first time in the tournament, but the Ducks’ third-round 2009 draft pick did not appear in the game.

Some of the rookie camp participants will take part in the Ducks’ main camp, which begins Saturday in Anaheim.
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Bobkov drafted by OHL’s London Knights.

Goaltender Igor Bobkov, a third-round pick by the Ducks at the 2009 Entry Draft, was chosen in the second round of the Canadian Hockey League import draft Tuesday.

Bobkov, 19, was a member of Magnitogorsk Stalnye Lisy in 2009-2010, posting a 2.71 goals-against average and .893 save percentage in 14 games. He was also a member of the Russian under-20 team at the 2010 Junior Hockey Championships. In six games with Team Russia, he posted a 2.45 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage, including a standout performance against the WHL all-star team.

No word yet if this means Bobkov is officially making the jump to North America, but he has a junior team waiting for him if he can. Current Duck Corey Perry is a London Knights alum.

Ducks, Pens make a deal.

The Ducks have sent goaltender Mattias Modig, a 2007 fourth-round draft pick, to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for a sixth-round pick in the upcoming entry draft. The Penguins had originally acquired the pick from the Montreal Canadiens, so this will be the 27th pick of the sixth round and the 177th pick overall.

Modig, 23, has spent his entire career with Lulea of the Swedish Elite League. In 34 games, he posted a 2.49 goals-against average and .899 save percentage for Lulea in 2009-10. Modig has already signed a two-year entry-level contract with Pittsburgh.

The Ducks have several goaltenders already in the system, which likely made Modig expendable. Marco Cousineau and Timo Pielmeier are already signed, and soon-to-be free agents Jean-Phillippe Levasseur and Joey MacDonald could be brought back. Russian prospect Igor Bobkov was a fairly high draft pick (third round, 76th overall) in last year’s draft.

Big day for Ducks prospects at WJCs.

We find the Canadian media’s obsession over the World Junior Championships to be oddly amusing. This was what the TSN home page looked like as of 11 p.m. Monday; note that Brandon McMillan’s hat trick for Team Canada got top billing over the NFL, the NHL, Suns-Lakers and certainly any American college football:


TSN - WJC.jpg

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Gardiner, Palmieri on U.S. WJC roster

A pair of recent Ducks first-round draft picks, defenseman Jake Gardiner and forward Kyle Palmieri, were chosen for the 22-man Team USA World Junior Championships roster Wednesday.


Gardiner (2008) and Palmieri (2009) joinfellow Ducks prospects Brandon McMillan (Canada), Sami Vatanen (Finland), Igor Bobkov (Russia), Radoslav Illo (Slovakia) and Luca Sbisa (Switzerland), who were also named to their respective national teams for the WJCs, which begin Saturday in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.


Gardiner, 19, is in his second season at the University of Wisconsin. Palmieri, 18, is a freshman at Notre Dame.

Thousand Oaks native Max Nicastro, a 19-year-old defenseman who was drated by Detroit in 2008, did not make the final Team USA roster.

Russian Ducks update.

Evgeny Artyukhin did an interview (in Russian) with RussianHockeyFans.com. Much like a New Jersey-based reporter asking Scott Niedermayer if he could possibly join the Devils this season,  this KHL-slanted interview yields some interesting answers. But Artyukhin makes it clear he’s not jumping ship any time soon: “I’m going to spend the rest of this season in the NHL fullfilling my contract, which expires this summer. And after it I will be open for offers, if I get any — I’m ready to get in talks.”

Also, 2009 draft pick Igor Bobkov began play for the Russian Junior Selects in Victoria last night, stopping 40 shots in a 2-1 loss to the Western Hockey League all-stars. Here’s the recap from the Victoria Times-Colonist:

Six-foot-four Russian goalkeeper Igor Bobkov, a 2009 Anaheim Ducks third-round draft pick from Metallurg Magnitogorsk, was outstanding in holding the WHL at bay for as long as he could.

The WHL, which held a glaring territorial advantage, finally broke through when Levko Koper, a seventh-round draft pick of the Atlanta Thrashers, snapped a wrist shot past Bobkov at 1:00 of the third period to make it 1-0.

“He [Bobkov] played great the whole game but we kept on doing what we were doing,” said Koper, who plays for the Spokane Chiefs.