There’s always potential for things to pop off when Canada and Russia face off on the international stage, even if it’s a meaningless tournament in early August.
The two hockey rivals proved as much on Monday when a line brawl broke out in round-robin play at the Sochi Hockey Open, a pre-Olympic tournament featuring the two national teams along with four KHL entries.
It all started when Canadian forward Eric O’Dell, he of 41 career NHL games with the Winnipeg Jets, took a run at an unsuspecting Russian player near the benches at the end of the second period. Russian defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin retaliated by going after former Wild blueliner Maxim Noreau, an innocent bystander wandering by the scene of the crime. Canadian forward Justin Azevedo then rushed over and jumped into the melee and all hell broke loose.
As far as line brawls go, this was pretty tame — it was more flailing and face washing than fist fighting. Azevedo and Mikhail Grigorenko, who has one fight on his pro resume, were the only players to receive fighting majors.
Canada went on to lose the game 3-2, receiving goals from Noreau and Gilbert Brule. After earning a 1-0 OT win over HC Sochi on Sunday, Canada finished the round robin with two points and will take on Metalurg Magnitogorsk in the third-place game on Wednesday.
Once this tournament wraps up, Canada will send a different roster of Olympic hopefuls to the Tournament of Nikolai Puchkov beginning Aug. 14 in St. Petersburg.
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