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January 2, 2011 7:11 pm

Kitsyn, Russia advance to semifinals

All three Kings prospects in the World Junior Championships will get a chance to play for medals. Maxim Kitsyn and Russia defeated Finland 4-3 in overtime tonight, setting up tomorrow’s semifinals. Kitsyn scored with 1:38 remaining to tie the game 3-3, then assisted on the overtime winner and also assisted on an earlier goal. Kitsyn has four goals and three assists in five tournament games. In tomorrow’s semifinals, Sweden plays Russia at 12:30 p.m. Pacific time and the United States plays Canada at 4:30 p.m. (which makes it unfortunate that the Kings play at 6 p.m. tomorrow).

The subplot on Kitsyn involves KHL vs. OHL. When the Kings drafted Kitsyn in the sixth round this year, they hoped he would be able to come over and play North American junior hockey, the way Andrei Loktionov did after he got drafted. The Kings like the idea of having a player like Kitsyn closer, where they can watch him develop, and they also like the social aspects of a young Russian player growing up, so to speak, with English-speaking teammates. At the draft, there was optimism that Kitsyn would be able to leave his KHL team and join the Ontario Hockey League, and he was drafted by the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors in the league’ import draft. The hope was that Kitsyn would come play in the OHL after the World Juniors, but there’s no agreement in place. The relationship between the Russian league and North American leagues hasn’t exactly been harmonious in recent years, and a Kings official said last week that he still didn’t know if Kitsyn would make it to the OHL. That’s out of the Kings’ hands, and here’s a Toronto Star story looking at the situation from the Majors’ perspective…

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