Sunday, January 4, 2009

Della Rovere and Kugryshev both making names at WJHC's

As the World Junior Hockey Championships are set to conclude tomorrow night in Ottawa, I can safely say that both Washington Capitals prospects have made a name for themselves.

Well, sorta.

Being from the hockey hot bed known as Canada, it is difficult to go more than five minutes without being referenced to the sport. Once the World Juniors start, that number decreases to two minutes.

I have had the luxury of watching both Canada and Russia play in three games a piece, most recently a Saturday night affair that pitted these two rivals against each other in their most epic battle in recent memory.

Long story short, Canada won 5-4 in a shootout.

But what has really stuck out for me this tournament was the play of prospects Stefan Della Rovere (7th round, 204 in 2008 draft) and Dimitry Kugryshev (2nd round, 58th overall in 2008 draft).

Della Rovere is Canada's leader in penalty minutes. He has totaled 22 over a span of five games, including a ten minute misconduct against Germany. Throughout the tournament he has lived up to his billing as a super pest. However it has come at a price, as head coach Pat Quinn benched him for the final two periods of their match versus the USA, which they eventually won 6-4.

SDR has delivered an "in your face" brand of hockey, but unfortunately has crossed the line on a handful of occasions while doing so. Because of this, his ice time has been reduced greatly, but when he has been out there, bone jarring hits have been the status quo.

His success on the score sheet has not transferred over from the OHL as he has only managed a goal and an assist in those five games.

If he is able to keep his emotions from getting the better of him and continues to fill out his game, there will be room for him on the Capitals roster down the line as they will lack the grit which he possesses.

On the other side of the spectrum, Russian born Dimitri Kugryshev has really given Capitals fans something to salivate over. His slick stick work has been some of the best in the tournament, and has generated many chances on a line with Pavel Chernov and Sergei Korostin.

While he has only produced one assist all tournament, in watching his game there is much to love. As previously mentioned, his stick work is incredible and he is not afraid to play along the boards and in front of the net. His speed is not exceptional but it is close to NHL worthy.

Both Della Rovere and Kugryshev will return to their CHL teams once this tournament is completed and will hopefully continue to give Capitals fans something to look forward to in the upcoming years.

Canada will play in the gold medal game versus Sweden tomorrow night while Russia will be pitted against a very underrated Slovakian team for the bronze in a matinee.

Footnote: If you wish to follow Dimitri Kugryshev's blog, please follow THIS link.

No comments: