Patrik Elias had a goal and an assist for the Czech Republic as it became the first team to beat Switzerland in the World Championships. It’s amazing how productive Elias can be when you move him back to wing, and pair him up with a center who feeds him the puck like warm kolac.
Meanwhile, Team USA lost its captain and big center Jeff Halpern. Halpern banged up his right knee, and is back in DC for surgery to repair a ruptered ACL. It’s repeat knee rebuilding for Halpern, something he last had done six pre-cap summers ago as a Cap player.
The IIHF ranking system probably has some algorithmic basis that could only be explained in an xkcd comic and a 2nd year graduate text in topology. And the rules for deciding team and country affiliations are very loose; it’s possible for Scott Gomez to skate for Mexico and quite reasonable for me — or Halpern — to be eligible for the Israeli national team. Don’t laugh about the Israeli team, now ranked ahead of Iceland but behind powerhouse Estonia; they’ve been moving up slowly. Given their one rink in Metulla and lack of booster clubs, they’re probably 3 Olympics and half a dozen Russian olim away from Olympic contention. But what a team they could assemble under IIHF rules: Halpern, Mathieu Schneider, Mike Cammalleri, up-coming Preds goalie Dov Grumet-Morris (former standout at Hah-vahd) and the first-ever Israeli drafted into the NHL, former Devils prospect Max Birbraer.