Less than 24 hours after his New York Islanders were eliminated from the postseason, the Russian Ice Hockey Federation has announced that Nikolay Kulemin will join Team Russia at the 2016 World Championship in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia.
The Isles took a 4-0 Game 5 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday, extinguishing their Stanley Cup hopes in just five second-round games.
Kulemin contributed a goal and four points through 11 games for the Isles in their first playoff run while calling Brooklyn home.
The Russian Ice Hockey Federation announced that “technical matters” surrounding him joining the team will be resolved following Monday’s contest against Latvia. He has previously participated in seven World Championships and on Olympic Games under the Russian flag.
Team Russia got off to a rocky start at Worlds, with a 3-0 loss to the Czech Republic on Friday, and then getting pushed to the brink against Kazakhstan on Sunday. Russia wound up beating Kazakhstan 6-4, but it was 4-4 at one point in the third period, putting the hosts on the edge of a very bad start to the tournament.
The 29-year-old is the first player from the Islanders to announce their participation in the annual tournament. It’s possible that more will follow.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.