The first injury casualty of the World Cup does come in the pre-tournament games and it also hit one of the busiest teams leading up to the tournament, the Czech Republic. Forward Vladimir Sobotka left the game against the Russians with an upper-body injury after colliding with a teammate and falling awkwardly into the boards, which initially brought fears of a broken clavicle. The X-rays were negative after the game and he'll be on the list as out day-to-day, questionable for Saturday's game and maybe closer to probable for when they open the tournament, Saturday, the 17th, against Canada.
Tomas Kundratek and Ondrej Pavelec were the scratches for the Czechs in the opening game, but like you're going to hear a lot leading up to next Saturday, these scratches are not set in stone yet. Roman Cervenka, on the other hand, still hasn't been released from his club in the Swiss league, so if the Sobotka injury is serious, the Czechs will have to play with seven defensemen on Saturday.
Keeping an eye on those scratches regardless, for the Russians, it was Artem Anisimov, Alexei Emelin and Andrei Vasilevskiy in the press box, as the Russians posted a 4-3 win. Vasilevskiy as the third goalie might be one of the consistent names that we'll see in the scratch list, barring unforeseen circumstances, of course. I would imagine both Anisimov and Emelin will get at least one look, before any decision is made going forward.
Both Mikael Backlund and Hampus Lindholm were injury replacements for the Swedish team before the tournament, so there might not be a plan for these two, once the tournament gets started, but they should get some ice-time this week, one would think. Henrik Lundqvist was given the day off as well, as he will likely get the start for Saturday's game. We'll definitely get a better idea of who will do what on Saturday and in their last pre-tournament game, Wednesday against Europe.
No real surprises in the press box for the Finns, as they open up the pre-tournament schedule, as young forward Sebastian Aho, defenseman Sami Lepisto and goalie Mikko Koskinen were the scratches in game number one. There hasn't been anything published, in terms of an overall plan for these three, but the 3-2 overtime win might give the coaching staff enough reason to keep the status quo and develop some chemistry within their current lines.
Dylan Larkin and Colton Parayko were the two skaters scratched for Team North America in the late game on Thursday night, while Connor Hellebuyck was the one sitting upstairs as the third goalie. This was the situation that was referred to, as the coaching staff of the 23 & under team didn't want too much taken away from this situation, but with a dominating 4-0 win over the Europeans, it's hard to look at that result and say that the lineup needs changing.
Thomas Vanek and Dennis Seidenberg were the two skaters scratched from Team Europe's roster on Thursday night, as the coaching staff opted for some younger-ish blood on the ice for the team. Third goaltender Philipp Grubauer didn't join the team until a couple of days ago, so there was no push for him to being ready to go as the back-up on Friday. In fact, I would have to think that Grubauer will be a long shot to see any time at this point, barring those damned unforeseen circumstances.
There was a report of another possibly injury, as Marian Hossa went for X-rays for an undisclosed injury after the game, but the results came back negative and he traveled with the team for their next game in Montreal on Saturday. This could be a good opportunity for a guy like Vanek to jump in and get some action, but we'll see how that works out.