No, the 2013 Spengler Cup will not feature many stars locked out from the NHL like it did last year, but it will still be an interesting tournament hosted by Davos, Switzerland. The Cup saw the likes of Patrick Kane, Dennis Seidenberg, Matt Duchene, Jason Spezza, John Tavares, Patrice Bergeron, Joe Thornton, and many other superstars take the ice last year, but this year other players will be looking to make a name for themselves.
In North America, the Spengler Cup is seen as a classic Swiss hockey tournament which allows viewers to watch former NHLers and other European players play for different teams. The loads of advertisement of players’ jerseys and on the ice is also a cool thing to watch for North American viewers.
Here is a look at all the teams in the tournament followed by my predictions:
The storied franchise that has been around for over 100 years certainly has the credentials to back its case as a contender in this tourney. Coached by former NHLer Marty McSorley’s brother, Chris, Genéve-Servette boasts a roster that includes the likes of Canadians Matthew Lombardi, Cody Almond, and Alexandre Picard. Former Ottawa Senator Kaspars Daugavins also provides tremendous skill with NHL-like talent. Backstopping the Swiss team is ex-Dallas Star Tobias Stephan, a former backup of Marty Turco. With the team’s large fanbase and many former NHLers, they certainly have legitimate talent to make some noise.
HC CSKA Moscow
Another legendary franchise (it is 67 years old), CSKA Moscow boasts undisputible skill. The KHL franchise last won the Spengler Cup in 1991, but have been gathering highly talented players ever since. Alexader Radulov, Viktor Kozlov, Ilya Zubov, Alexander Frolov, and Ilari Filppula are their top-6 forwards, forming an offence that may be able to compete against NHL teams. Watch out for this team as they use their high-octane offence style of play.
For the first time since 1996 an AHL team will compete in the Spengler Cup, and it will be none other than Buffalo Sabres’ high-flying affiliate representing the United States. The team is made of a great combination of skill (Luke Adam, Dan Catenacci, Jerome Gauthier-Leduc, Rasmus Ristolainen, Joel Armia, Mark Pysyk) and toughness (Patrick Kaleta, Mike Zigomanis, Colton Gillies, Drew Bagnall) that will throw off opposing teams in the tournament. Goaltender Matt Hackett and his team are looking to bring the team’s winning tradition oversees as they vie for the Spengler Cup.
The host of the Spengler Cup have won it 15 times, and will be looking to make it 16 in January. The 92-year-old team has won the Swiss National League A an unprecedented 30 times. Stacked with homegrown Swiss talent, the team will be led by the von Arx brothers and captain Sandro Rizzi. Although they may not be the best team on paper, they have home-ice advantage every single game.
HC Vitkovice Steel
Led by forward Ondrej Roman, the Cezech team may not be the best team on paper, but has certainly proved that they can contend. They have made the Spengler Cup semi-finals for two years in a row.
A team of Canadians playing in Europe or in the AHL, Team Canada obviously isn’t nearly as good as the team Steve Yzerman will ice in Sochi in February, but there are many reasons why the team could win the Spengler Cup. Veterans Derrick Walser, Micki DuPont, Geoff Kinrade, Maxim Noreau, and Byron Ritchie will be joined by newcomers Jim Vandermeer, Joel Kwiatkowski, Anthony Stewart, Jason Williams, and goalie Chris Mason.
1. HC CSKA Moscow
2. Rochester Americans
1. Team Canada
2. HC Davos
3. HC Vitkovice Steel
Rochester Americans def. HC Vitkovice Steel
Genéve-Servette def. HC Davos
Rochester Americans def. Team Canada
CSKA Moscow def. Genéve-Servette
CSKA Moscow def. Rochester Americans