Ottawa Citizen

Russians sending top juniors, Branch says

McGinn, Shutron, Giroux, Carle named to Canadian rosters

- BY DONNA SPENCER

CALGARY ing?

The Russian Ice Hockey Federation says yes. Still, Russia has sent no better than a national B team for the past three series against players from the Canadian Hockey League, and the CHL has a 15- 3 overall record.

The Canadian Hockey League has finally received assurances from the Russian officials that the country’s best junior- aged players will participat­e in the ADT Canada- Russia Challenge next month, commission­er David Branch said yesterday.

This is the fourth edition of the sixgame series between the Russians and Canada’s three major- junior leagues.

“ We have guarantees they will send us their national team,” Branch said from Sarnia, which will be the site of one of the games. “ We thought that was very important. While we’ve had great series, the Russians didn’t always send us their best.”

If the Russians don’t start providing their top players, the CHL is considerin­g inviting a different country.

“ We saw a lot of interest from other countries in participat­ing in this event,” Branch said.

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League opens the series Nov. 20 in Rouyn- Noranda and Nov. 21 in Vald’Or, before handing it off to the Ontario Hockey League for games Nov. 23 in Sarnia and Nov. 27 in Oshawa. The Western Hockey League closes it out Nov. 29 in Chilliwack, B. C., and Nov. 30 in Kamloops.

While the Russians currently don’t have a headliner in their junior ranks like Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin, it will be interestin­g to see if they supply goaltender Semen Varlamov, a first- round pick of the Washington Capitals, for the series.

Varlamov, likely to be his country’s starting goaltender for the 2007 world junior hockey championsh­ip, is having a stellar season for Lokomotiv in the Russian Super League

Canadians eligible ( 19- and- under) to play in the world junior championsh­ip in Sweden are invited to face the Russians. The games help Hockey Canada decide who to invite to the Canadian team’s selection camp in December.

Ottawa 67’ s winger Jamie McGinn, Kingston Frontenacs defenceman Ben Shutron of Orléans and Ottawa Senators draft pick Cody Bass, a centre with the Mississaug­a IceDogs, were named to the OHL roster yesterday. Gatineau Olympiques winger Claude Giroux and Acadie- Bathurst Titan defenceman Mathieu Carle of Gatineau are on the QMJHL roster.

• Are the real Russians com-

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