Two members of the locked out Canadiens, centre David Desharnais and defenceman Raphael Diaz will be taking part in the annual Spengler Cup competition which annually opens Boxing Day at Davos Switzerland.
The Spengler Cup competition dates back to 1923, six years after the NHL was formed. It is the world’s oldest invitational hockey tournament.
Desharnais will be part of Swiss National League-leading HC Fribourg that will be bolstered by NHL goaltender Cory Schneider (Vancouver Canucks), forwards Patric Hornqvist (Nashville Predators-Sweden), Maxime Talbot (Philadelphia Flyers-Finland) as well as defenceman Bruno Gervais (Philadelphia-Fribourg). In his 13 games since joining Fribourg on November 16th, Desharnais has 2 goals and 8 assists and is plus-5.
Diaz, who is playing for Zug of the SNL, is the league’s top scoring defenceman with 7 goals and 21 assists in 32 games with a gliittering plus-20 defensive rating. He was has been picked up by the host Davos team and will join, among others, San Jose’s Joe Thornton , Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane, the Dallas Stars’ Loui Eriksson (currently playing in Sweden) along with Diaz Zug teammate Damien Brunner the Swiss league’s top scorer. Brunner is expected to join the Detroit Red Wings if and when the lockout ends.
Desharnais and his locked out Fribourg teammates will actually be playing against their own country. The tournament version to Team Canada includes forwards Tyler Seguin (Boston, playing in Biel), John Tavares (NYI – Bern), and Jason Spezza (Ottawa – Rapperswil) . On defense locked out players Carlo Colaiacovo (Detroit) and Cam Barker (Edmonton) are flying over from North America for the tournament along with Edmonton leftwinger Ryan Smyth.
Also in the tournament will be Ufa (Russia), Vitkovice (Czech Extraliga), (including St. Louis Blues defenseman Roman Polak.and former NHL defenseman Marek Malik), and Mannheim (German Elite League) featuring Jason Pominville (Buffalo Sabres) and Dennis Seidenberg (Boston Bruins)
The tournament’s opening day will include Fribourg (David Desharnais) against UFA (KHL) and Team Canada vs. Mannheim (Deutsches Elite League). Davos will play the loser of the Canada/Mannheim game on Thursday while Vitkovice plays the Fribourg/Ufa loser.
Only one game involving locked out members of the Canadiens on Christmas day –
In the KHL….Vityaz Chekhov lost to Donbass in the Eastern Ukranian city of Donetsk on Chriistmas Day. Andrei Markov failed to get a point but logged 17:40 and two shots on goal.
On the KHL schedule Chekhov will host Moscow Spartak on Thursday, December 27th while at the same time Alexei Emelin and his Kazan teammates will play Neftekhimik (Petrochemists) at Nizhnekamsk in the Russian Republic of Tatarstan.
All of the other active members of the Canadiens have been idle. Lars Eller and his JYP Jyväskylä Finland teammates will get back into action when they host the Lahti Pelicans Thursday.
Tomas Plekanec and Kladno in the Czech Extraliga will play Sparta in Prague on Boxing Day.
In the ECHL Alaska (Scott Gomez) will play host to Colroado Friday night.
In the AHL, the Hamilton Bulldogs come of their Christmas break with a Boxing Day game against the Marlies in Toronto,