Islanders World Cup Update:
Six Stars Representing Blue and Orange
(September 1) Six Islanders were named to their counties World Cup of
Hockey squads, including two to the United States. However,
defenseman Janne Niinimaa is the only Isle to see action so far in
the eight-nation tournament.
Niinimaa and Team Finland opened up the 2004 World Cup with a
decisive 4-0 victory over the Czech Republic earlier this week. Roman
Hamrlik was a healthy scratch as the Czechs decided to give some of
their younger skaters some valuable playing time. He is expected to
dress for the Czech Republic in later games.
Rick DiPietro and Jason Blake are donning the Red, White and Blue for
Team USA, but neither saw playing time on Tuesday night in Team
Canada's 2-1 victory Tuesday. DiPietro was Robert Esche's
(Philadelphia Flyers) back-up and Blake was a healthy scratch.
Earlier this week, USA Head Coach Ron Wilson told ESPN TV that he
expects to give DiPietro at least one start before the Round-Robin
As of Wednesday morning, Alexei Yashin, Oleg Kvasha and Team Russia
have not suited up for competition. In fact, the Russians do not see
action until Thursday against Team USA. On an interesting note,
Yashin has been named Team Captain for the Russian squad.
Other upcoming games include the Czech Republic skating against
Sweden, who elected not to invite Kenny Jonsson, one of the better
Swedish defensemen in the NHL, On Wednesday. Also, Finland will take
on Germany on Thursday.