Russians find little use for Kulikov in tourney-opening loss

Florida Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov found himself a new friend at the 2011 IIHF World Championship: the pine beneath his red shorts.

Germany defeated a stunned Russian squad 2-0 (the second goal being an empty-netter), but for our interest the real question going forward may be whether the Cats' 20 year-old second-year blueliner finds any love from coach Viacheslav Bykov.

Kuli picked up a -1 and no penalties in 11 minutes and 49 seconds of ice time in 19 shifts; not surprisingly his logged time was the least of any Russian defenseman for the game.

For contrast, he averaged 19:57/24 shifts over the 2010-11 season, numbers which no doubt trended upward in the second half.

It's not like he's facing the pressure of a roster stocked with NHL veterans; how many do you recognize?