Adirondack Phantoms defenseman Oskars Bartulis
will represent his home nation of Latvia in the
2012 IIHF World Championships. The annual competition
of the International Ice Hockey Federation gets
underway this weekend with preliminary round action
in Stockholm, Sweden and Helsinki, Finland.
Latvia opens their play on Saturday, May 5 in
Stockholm with a giant challenge as they face
the Russian squad led by Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh)
and Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit). The game is at 10:15am
(Eastern Time). Live streams of all the IIHF games
are available online at http://www.youtube.com/icehockey
This is not the first time Bartulis has played
for Latvia. In 2010 he had the honor of representing
his country at the Olympic Games in Vancouver.
It was his first ever opportunity to play in the
Olympics. Bartulis also played in the World Championships
in 2005 and 2009 and has also played in the World
Juniors Championships four different times. He
also played in the World Under-18 Championships
twice back in 2003 and 2004.
Latvia is not considered to be a medal contender
but they are known for their stingy play and ability
to upset higher ranked teams. Latvia is led by
former NHL Coach of the Year Ted Nolan (Buffalo
Sabres, 1996) who starred for the Adirondack Red
Wings from 1979-84.
Bartulis played in 36 games with the Adirondack
Phantoms this season while also being limited
by a couple of injuries at different times. He
scored one goal and 10 assists with 20 penalty
minutes. The goal that Bartulis scored was actually
the team's first of the season. In an October
8 game against Connecticut, he blasted home a
one-timer from Brayden Schenn on Opening Night.
He has played in 66 games with the Philadelphia
Flyers including 53 games in 2009-10 and 13 games
in 2010-11. Bartulis has played in more Adirondack
and Philadelphia Phantoms games (189) than any
currently active Phantoms player. And he has been
with the Phantoms for at least part of the last
five seasons dating back to his pro debut in October,
2007. He was originally drafted by the Flyers
in the third round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft
from the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major
Junior Hockey League.
Kaspars Daugavins of the Ottawa Senators, who
excelled with the Binghamton Senators in 2009-10
and 2010-11, will be teammates with Bartulis on
the Latvian squad.
Bartulis is one of a small number of players at
the IIHF World Championships to have spent most
of the 2011-12 regular season in the AHL. Others
include Antoine Roussei (France) of the Chicago
Wolves, Justin Krueger (Gremany) of the Charlotte
Checkers and Thomas Tatar (Sweden) of the Grand
Former Philadelphia Phantom forward Rob Sirianni
(2008-09) will also play at the IIHF World Championships
representing Italy which is where he has been
playing professionally in recent seasons.
Pictured below, Oskars Bartulis defends against
Alexander Ovechkin of Russia in the 2010 Olympic
Games in Vancouver.