With the 4-Nations being held in Ängelholm, Sweden, Patrik Bexell went to the tournament to collect his first impressions of Montreal Canadiens prospects Dmitri Kostenko and Oliver Kapanen.
Patrik spoke with the interim Russian U20 coach Vladimir Filatov, as well as Finnish U20 coach Antti Pennanen in regards to the different players on their teams, with a focus on the two Habs prospects.
While Kostenko barely played, it was enough to see him struggle a bit with his skating and with “his head” as Mr. Filatov points out, noting that Kostenko needs to think faster in order to improve his game.
With most of Russia’s talented youngsters in Helsinki, Finland, for the main Karjala Cup tournament, this was a chance for some players to step up and improve their chances for selection to the World Juniors. Alexander Pashin stood out, and should be a lock for that squad in December.
Finland were the pre-tournament favourites — especially with many Russian U20 players being in Helsinki — but they struggled. Despite their struggles, Kapanen was one of the players that stood out, making a strong case to be selected for the World Juniors, which is his primary goal for this season.
Kapanen has a solid hockey IQ, but needs to work on his skating in order to become an NHLer down the line.
I included the full interview — even the parts in Russian — with Mr. Filatov. Unfortunately, one Swedish player was doing warmups with a puck behind us, and the new microphone picked that up, so apologies for the inconvenience.