QUEBEC CITY -- After a relaxing three-hour train ride from Montreal, we're on the scene in the home of the old Nordiques for Thursday night's Team North America/Team Europe World Cup exhibition game. You can catch it at 8 p.m. on ESPN2.
The game will be played in the 18,000-seat Videotron Centre, which opened a year ago today to potentially host an NHL team. Le Colisee, the old home of the Nordiques until they moved in 1995, is still standing nearby but not in use.
Team Europe, featuring former Sabres Thomas Vanek, Andrej Sekera and Christian Ehrhoff, will have a morning skate at 10:30 a.m. with North America, featuring Jack Eichel, hitting the ice at 11:30.
Items to watch:
---Team NA has kept lines together for three days of practice in Montreal with Eichel centering Johnny Gaudreau and Brandon Saad while Connor McDavid is between Jonathan Drouin and Mark Schiefele. How will things gel in a real game?
---What is the power play going to look like with Eichel and McDavid playing together? First time they've ever been teammates. Philly's Shayne Gostisbehere took over as the quarterback in practice on Wednesday.
---Who starts in goal? The assumption is Pittsburgh's Matt Murray over Anaheim's John Gibson. How well does Murray play.
---Which of these "gimmick" teams will have formed more quick chemistry? It will be a key for their success in the tournament.
----As for anthems, the NHL/NHLPA announced Thursday it will play the Canadian and American anthems before all Team North America games and has opted on no anthem for Team Europe, which features players from multiple countries.