Some activity involving Kitchener Rangers and national duties this week.
Coach Steve Spott and defenceman Ryan Murphy are in Russia for a pair of friendlies against the home side in preparation for the world junior hockey championships.
The games, and two more set for Halifax, are in lieu of a training camp. The first match goes Thursday.
Spott said the overseas trip was key in helping the team (which hasn't been selected yet) get an advance feel of playing in Russia, the time change and the culture. The tournament runs in Ufa, Russia at Christmas.
Don't expect to see Murphy at the Aud in December. He should be a lock for the squad.
Same goes for goalie John Gibson, who has made it through the first round of cuts at the U.S. camp. No shock there as Gibson will be the team's starting goalie.
German Tobias Rieder and Czech Radek Faksa will also be gone for about a month at the tourney. At this point, I'd say Matia Marcantuoni could also be in the mix for Canada, if he gets off to a blistering start.
Meanwhile, forward Brent Pedersen was cut from Canada's Under-18 team. That's good news for the Rangers, who'll get his services uninterrupted this season. Pedersen is looking to take the next step in the OHL after scoring just nine goals and 14 points as a rookie.