Spengler Cup ReportThursday, January 03, 2013
Spengler Cup Recap
by Mitch Goldenberg
There are two possible outcomes to the current NHL Lockout: either we’ll get hockey back really soon, or we won’t get it back at all this season. If the league begins playing later this month, most players will be getting their first taste of game action since last April. Some, however, took their game overseas this season, and many of them were on display this past week at the Spengler Cup in Switzerland.
Rotoworld’s Mitch Goldenberg was on site in Davos to cover the annual six-team tournament featuring five European club teams and Team Canada. The Canadian team consisted of homegrown talent playing in Europe, and with some big-time NHL names currently lacing up the skates overseas, the group was the best they’ve ever sent to compete in the Spengler Cup. Many of the other clubs participating got a boost from locked out NHLers as well, and just as expected, the pros took the spotlight.
He was a fantasy disappointment last year, in part due to injuries, but he looked fantastic at the tournament. He finished with a goal and four assists in four games as a role player on Canada’s fourth line. Duchene showed off his tremendous speed, was effective on the penalty kill and furious on the forecheck.
Dubnyk looked to be in mid-season form, despite not playing in any games since the end of the NHL season last April. He stole Canada’s starting job from Jonathan Bernier and went 3-0 with a .963 save percentage and a 1.00 goals against average, including a shutout. Twice, he beat HC Davos’ high-powered offence, consisting of Joe Thornton, Patrick Kane, Loui Eriksson and top Swiss scorer Damien Brunner. His other win came against HC Fribourg’s offence, boasting names like Max Talbot, Patric Hornqvist and David Desharnais.
The Islanders star dominated the tournament with his skill, speed and relentless energy. Putting up three goals and an assist in four games, Tavares generated countless scoring opportunities with his linemates Jason Spezza and Sam Ganger. With point totals of 54, 67 and 81 in his first three NHL seasons, plus 39 points in 25 games so far in Switzerland, this is player with the potential to lead the NHL in points in the very near future.
Bergeron found instant chemistry with Bruins teammate Tyler Seguin and power forward Ryan Smyth to lead Canada’s high-powered offense. His game-tying assist late in Canada’s first game against Mannheim gave the team a much needed point to help secure a quarterfinals bye, and a four-point effort in the final helped clinch the title. Bergeron created numerous scoring opportunities for his gifted linemates and dominated the faceoff circle going 48-22.
He is the NHL’s biggest disappointment at the tournament by far. HC Fribourg came into the tournament as Switzerland’s top team, and believed they would get a boost by adding Schneider to their roster. It didn’t work. They went 2-2 at the Spengler Cup, and the two starts Schneider made were each losses. After the team won their first game with regular goalie Benjamin Conz in net, Schneider allowed two goals in their next game to HC Vitkovice Steel on just 17 shots. Conz helped the team to a victory in the quarterfinals and when Schneider got the nod in goal against Canada in the semis, he allowed five goals on 33 shots. Final statline: 0-2, 3.50 GAA, 860 SV %. Don’t pack your bags just yet, Roberto.
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