When last we spoke of the Karjala Cup, Artem Anisimov had a goal in Russia's opening shootout loss to Finland, and early indications were that Sergei Bobrovsky would be getting the start for the match against Sweden on Friday afternoon.
As it turns out, that's exactly what happened, and Bob stopped 34 of 36 shots en route to a 3-2 win, though Anisimov was kept off the board. (Former Jacket Nikolay Zherdev had an assist, however, and Coyotes prospect Viktor Tikhonov got the GWG.)
For those hoping to see Bob start again against the top ranked Czech team on Saturday, however, it was not to be. Russian head coach Zinetulla Bilyaletdinov didn't seem to use too much of his NHL talent this match, with Konstantin Barulin getting the start in net, and reports from RT Sport indicating this was mostly used as a tune-up game for some of the younger players on the national team roster.
If Russia had won, there's a possibility the club would have taken gold for the tournament, but it's an understandable move from the coaching staff. There are three more Euro Tour events this season, plus the eventual World Championships, and this was as much about talent evaluations and seasoning as it was a medal count.
With the end of the tournament, the KHL and other European leagues who took a brief break will be firing up again starting Wednesday. AA will rejoin Lokomotiv to travel out to Slovan Bratislava, Bob and SKA will host Dinamo Minsk, and Avangard Omsk will pick back up against Traktor. In addition, Fedor Tyutin will be joining Atlant, and may get his first start against CSKA, while over in the Czech Extraliga Vinny Prospal and Ceske Budejovice will be talking on HC Kladno.