At first glance I'm not a fan of the A-D-T Canada-Russia Challenge.
The format is stale and I could have cared less on who won the first four games of the series between the Russia Selects and the OHL-QMJHL All-Stars. Had the Russians been up 4-0, I wouldn't have lost a second of sleep.
We've often heard that the touring Russia team doesn't ice their best team for the six game series, but even if they did, I frankly wouldn't be anymore interested.
And does Hockey Canada really use these games as an evaluation tool to formulate who is going to be invited back to the teams main camp in December? Are you telling me a bad performance by Jamie Benn over the next two night's is going to take away from the 22 goals he's scored this season as arguably the best shooter in the Canadian Hockey League? Frankly these smart hockey minds at Hockey Canada know full well who's going to be on that training camp roster after watching these players in the first half of the season. No one is going to surprise them over the next two nights.
So while I may sound all negative about this A-D-T Canada-Russia Challenge, I will admit whoever decided on where these games should be played deserves a pat on the back. Swift Current nor Prince Albert will likely ever host a Memorial Cup, or even a WHL All-Star game if it was ever resurrected, so with that in mind these two communities are being treated to something close.
I hope hockey fans in those Saskatchewan centre's take advantage of seeing a Jamie Benn or a Tyler Myers because it's as close as they are going to get, as the Rockets fail to play in those two cities this season. On top of that both Benn and Myers could be playing in the National Hockey League next year.
I'll admit the only thing that excited me about the A-D-T Canada-Russia Challenge last year was when Canada's Luke Schenn beat the **** out of a Russian player, but that still doesn't change my thinking that the format should be put to bed. If that indeed happens, I am pleased that hockey fans in Swift Current and Prince Albert have been given the chance in hosting these two games, because without those two franchises, the WHL we know and love today just wouldn't be the same.