Russell buckles down

TERRY KOSHAN, TORONTO SUN

, Last Updated: 11:06 AM ET

LEKSAND, Sweden -- When Kris Russell was born minutes apart from his twin brother Ryan, his father made an easy decision.

Doug Russell was a bull rider back in the 1980s in the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association but got out of the ring when his boys entered the world.

"He quit when we were born because he did not want us getting into that business," Kris Russell said. "He went through a lot of knee surgeries and he was a tough guy. It's fun to watch tapes of him doing it."

A native of Caroline, Alta., Kris Russell is putting together some nice highlights of his own.

A third-round draft choice of the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2005, Russell is not a member of the Canadian junior team for the second consecutive winter because he slams opponents to the ice with thundering checks. At 5-foot-10, 162 pounds, there is no lighter player on the team.

Russell, who patrols the blue line for the Medicine Hat Tigers of the Western Hockey League, is a slick skater and his ability to jump into the play resulted in Canada's first goal in a 3-1 win against Germany yesterday.

Russell burst into the Germany zone and yelled to Andrew Cogliano, who fed him with a crisp pass. Russell, who has 17 goals in 34 games for the Tigers, accepted the puck and beat goalie Timo Pielmeier to the far side of the net. That gave Canada a 1-0 lead, and in the third period, Russell allowed his teammates to exhale when he scored on a shot from the point.

"It's awesome to get those two goals, but it's just as important to contribute by blocking a shot or something else," Russell, 19, said. "You want to do anything you can to help."

Meanwhile, though Carey Price is 3-0, coach Craig Hartsburg said he will consider starting Leland Irving in goal tomorrow against Slovakia. With three of the next four days as practice days, it would give Price some time off after playing three games in four days.


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