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  1. This is always a great tournament. TV Schedule: WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE Thursday, Dec. 26 Russia vs. Czech Republic, 9 a.m. ET, NHLN Switzerland vs. Kazakhstan, 9 a.m. ET U.S. vs. Canada, 1 p.m. ET, NHLN Sweden vs. Finland, 1 p.m. ET Friday, Dec. 27 Kazakhstan vs. Slovakia, 9 a.m. ET, NHLN U.S. vs. Germany, 1 p.m. ET, NHLN Saturday, Dec. 28 Slovakia vs. Finland, 9 a.m. ET, NHLN Czech Republic vs. Germany, 9 a.m. ET Canada vs. Russia, 1 p.m. ET, NHLN Switzerland vs. Sweden, 1 p.m. ET Sunday, Dec. 29 Finland vs. Kazakhstan, 9 a.m. ET, NHLN Russia vs. U.S., 1 p.m. ET, NHLN Monday, Dec. 30 Canada vs. Germany, 9 a.m. ET, NHLN Kazakhstan vs. Sweden, 9 a.m. ET Czech Republic vs. U.S., 1 p.m. ET, NHLN Slovakia vs. Switzerland, 1 p.m. ET Tuesday, Dec. 31 Slovakia vs. Sweden, 9 a.m. ET, NHLN Russia vs. Germany, 9 a.m. ET Czech Republic vs. Canada, 1 p.m. ET, NHLN Finland vs. Switzerland, 1 p.m. ET Thursday, Jan. 2 Relegation Game 1, 4 a.m. ET Quarterfinal 1, 6:30 a.m. ET, NHLN Quarterfinal 2, 9 a.m. ET, NHLN Quarterfinal 3, 11:30 a.m. ET, NHLN Quarterfinal 4, 2 p.m. ET, NHLN Saturday, Jan. 4 Relegation, Game 2 5 a.m. ET Semifinal 1, 9 a.m. ET, NHLN Semifinal 2, 1 p.m. ET, NHLN Sunday, Jan. 5 Relegation, Game 3 (if needed), 5 a.m. ET Third-place game, 9 a.m. ET, NHLN Championship game, 1 p.m. ET, NHLN
  2. The Dallas Stars have lost five of their last seven games and understandably there hasn’t been much for the under-achieving team to be happy about this season. However, reminiscing about their days in junior and having the opportunity to represent their country at the IIHF World Junior Championship as teenagers does give players John Klingberg and Ales Hemsky something to smile about. “I got the opportunity to play in Buffalo and Calgary,” says Klingberg, referring to his time wearing the Sweden jersey in 2011 and 2012. “It’s a big thing over there it helps with the routines and stuff too.” During his two tournaments the 22-year-old rookie for the Stars recorded five points in 12 games. The 2011 team finished fourth in Buffalo, but the 2012 had much greater success, which would make it no surprise that it was his time in Calgary that highlighted his World Junior career. “Obviously when we won the gold,” says Klingberg, simply. Though this winter will mark three years since the 6-foot-1 blueliner, put on the blue and gold jersey, Klingberg admits that he still tries to make time to watch the tournament when he can. “Yeah of course, last year was in Sweden and I was playing, so I was trying to watch all the games when I wasn’t playing,” says Klingberg. “It’s growing in Sweden, it’s probably one of the biggest sports events of the year there. Of course I try to keep up with it.” He also admits that during his earlier career he has found that many players around the league still talk about the tournament and admits he has come to expect some trash talking from his teammates. “Yeah probably a little a bit,” says Klingberg, about whether guys will be giving each other the business. “I talk to a lot of the young guys about it and guys on other teams about it, obviously it's a big thing in Canada and in the USA for two weeks.” Unlike Klingberg, who has played just a dozen games in the NHL, Hemsky has played a dozen seasons, but to the first-round pick in 2001, he also feels the tournament is something really memorable. “It was very special for a young guy like me or anybody else,” says Hemsky. “It’s special to represent your country and just to build your career.” Hemsky suited up for the Czech Republic at the 2002 installment of the tournament, and though he and his fellow countrymen finished seventh, the fact that the tournament was played in his hometown of Pardubice made it that more special for the 31-year-old. “It was nice, I think I was 18 or 19 and my first World Juniors was in the Czech Republic and was in my home city,” says Hemsky. “So it was pretty cool spending time with my family and just playing in front of them.” Hemsky didn’t disappoint playing in front of his loved ones, finishing tied for second in the tournament in scoring with three goals and nine points in seven games. The Stars right winger, like Klingberg, admits that the tournament still gets a lot of attention from NHLers, which of course has a lot to do with the fact that he has played his entire career, before signing with Dallas this off-season, in Canada. “I’ve played in Canada for a long time and World Juniors is huge here, everybody watches it on TV all the time,” say Hemsky. “So with the guys in the room, we have a lot of young guys, a lot of guys that played at it. They’re still young so they’re really into it, we all watch it.” However, the one downfall Hemsky has had with playing in Canada and with the teammates watching and teasing each other is, Canada historically has done so well at the tournament. “Yeah, the Czech’s didn’t really have good teams, but I think they’re getting better,” says Hemsky. “I can’t even fight with anyone, Canada always wins. It’s a big country; they make a lot of players and they always have a special team so, it’s hard to beat them.” As the Boxing Day kick-off to the tournament approaches, countries have started to name their camp rosters and so the hype once again is starting to build for the special time of the year. And though fans of the tournament might get excited, Hemsky sums up perfectly why the tournament means so much to the players lucky enough to participate. “It was the first big tournament where you put that jersey on, your country’s jersey,“ says Hemsky. “That’s why it was so special.” Follow me on Twitter: @Craig_Hagerman Photo Courtesy of Bruce Bennet/Getty Images North America
  3. On Monday Hockey Canada announced the invitees to its World Junior Camp for the upcoming 2014 World Junior Hockey Championships. After finishing a disappointing fourth place last year, Hockey Canada is taking a different approach to this year’s camp. Unlike in year’s previous where Canada would invite upwards of 40 players to camp and then make cuts accordingly, this year a roster of only 25 players was invited with the hopes of only making a few cuts and leaving more time for the team to gel and work out systems. Hockey Canada announced that 15 forwards, 8 defencemen, and 2 goalies had been invited to the camp that will take place in Toronto from December 12th-15th. The team looks to be very strong this year, but take that with a grain of salt as last year’s team that finished fourth was seen by many to be a stacked squad after NHLers Ryan Nuggent-Hopkins and Jonathan Huberdeau were named to the squad. However, this year’s crop is incredibly talented and there is no doubting that and in fact this may be one of the first year’s in a while where the projected top overall picks in next year’s NHL draft will get a serious look. Kootenay Ice’s Sam Reinhart and Barrie Colts’ Aaron Ekblad, who are both believed to challenge for the top spot in next year’s draft could play very pivotal roles on this year’s team. Both were important pieces of Canada’s under 18 tournament that won gold this past year. Reinhart has captained Canada’s under-18 team the past two seasons so despite being one of the younger players on the squad, will be one of the leaders going forward. Reinhart has put up 45 points through his first 28 games this season and will be looked to bring his offense and hockey smarts to the world stage once again. Ekblad who captains the Barrie Colts, was a huge part of the team that brought home the gold at the under- 18 tournament is the youngest defenceman on Canada’s roster. However, don’t expect his young age to get in the way of him playing important minutes for the team. Ekblad joined the Colts in the OHL as a 15 year old after being awarded exceptional status. Ekblad was instrumental at quarterbacking Canada’s powerplay and could be looked to help do the same with this year’s team. Besides these two, another member of that same under- 18 team and someone many people will be excited to see, is 16 year old phenom Connor McDavid. McDavid like Ekblad was also granted exceptional status into the OHL last season and has already put up 45 points through 27 games this season. McDavid is already slated to be the next Sidney Crosby or even better depending on who you ask, and will be expected to bring his dynamic offensive skills back on to international ice. On top of these great offensive talents, the player who will likely provide Canada with the strongest offensive punch is returning player Jonathan Drouin. Drouin was one of the more offensive players on Canada last year on a team despite the firepower, lacked the ability to finish at key times. The No. 3 overall pick in last year’s NHL draft and Memorial Cup winner is currently lighting it up again for the Halifax Mooseheads, tallying 46 points through his first 19 games this year. Drouin can be expected to play on Canada’s first line and see a lot of time on the team’s powerplay. Besides the vast talent mentioned above, the team will also include Bo Horvat, the Canucks first round pick from the London Knights who was picked by Vancouver after they traded away goaltender Corey Schneider for New Jersey’s pick. Philadelphia Flyer’s first round pick Scott Laughton scored an invite after being snubbed last year. Jets draft pick Nic Petan of the Portland Winterhawks, who since the beginning of last season has put up more points than any other Canadian player, and Anthony Mantha who since the start of last year has put up more goals than other junior in Canada will both dawn the red and white. Like last year, this year Canada will also be fortunate enough to have a player with NHL experience on the squad. The Minnesota Wild agreed to loan defenceman Matt Dumba to Canada. Dumba has been in and out of the lineup this season for the wild and because of this the Wild felt there was no reason why they couldn’t let him join the team. Charles Hudon will be another face that the Hockey Canada will be happy to finally see in red and white this year. Last year Hudon suffered a devastating double fracture in his back during one of Canada’s tune up games and because of the injury was unavailable for the entire tournament. This year Hudon has 32 points in 29 games for the Chicoutimi Sagueneens of the QMJHL. However, despite having only named 25 players there will still need to be a couple of cuts made to the team to get the down to size, likely two-three forwards and one defenceman. This cut will be easier on the defensive side of things, at least for the beginning of the tournament due to the case of Griffin Reinhart. The elder brother of Sam Reinhart, will still have to serve three more games as part of a suspension that Griffin received last year for a highstick he delivered in a game against the USA. This means that Griffin will miss the first three games against Germany, Czech Republic, and Slovakia, but will be able to return in the team’s fourth game against the reigning champions USA. Luckily the team’s coaches will have three games to see who they want to sit upon Griffin’s return to the roster. Meanwhile in goal it is a little uncertain to this point who exactly will carry the reigns, but as Canada has usually elected to do, both goalies will likely see playing time during the first couple games of the tournament. Jake Patterson returns for Canada after being the team’s third string last year, despite arguably being the best goaltender in Canada’s camp last year. Patterson has put up some shaky numbers this season with the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit including a 3.56 goals against average. However, Hockey Canada believes that he can still be a solid contender between the pipes. Canada will also have Canadiens second rounder Zach Fucale of the Halifax Mooseheads. This season Fucale has put up a 2.62 goals against average and 0.897 save percentage in 23 games. Here is the entire list of those invited to this year’s camp: Forwards Josh Anderson, London Knights (OHL) Jonathan Drouin, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL) Frédérik Gauthier, Rimouski Océanic (QMJHL) Félix Girard, Baie-Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL) Bo Horvat, London Knights (OHL) Charles Hudon, Chicoutimi Saguenéens (QMJHL) Scott Laughton, Oshawa Generals (OHL) Curtis Lazar, Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL) Taylor Leier, Portland Winterhawks (WHL) Anthony Mantha, Val-d'Or Foreurs (QMJHL) Connor McDavid, Erie Otters (OHL) Nic Petan, Portland Winterhawks (WHL) Sam Reinhart, Kootenay Ice (WHL) Kerby Rychel, Windsor Spitfires (OHL) Hunter Shinkaruk, Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL) Defence Chris Bigras, Owen Sound Attack (OHL) Matt Dumba, Minnesota Wild (NHL) / Red Deer Rebels (WHL) Aaron Ekblad, Barrie Colts (OHL) Josh Morrissey, Prince Albert Raiders (WHL) Adam Pelech, Erie Otters (WHL) Derrick Pouliot, Portland Winterhawks (WHL) Griffin Reinhart, Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL) Damon Severson, Kelowna Rockets (WHL) Goalies Zach Fucale, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL Jake Paterson, Saginaw Spirit (OHL) Team Canada will kick off the tournament on Boxing Day when they take on the Germans. Canada has not brought home gold from the championship since 2009, but hopefully with a new approach to their camp and yet another roster chalked full of talent they will be able to get back on top of the junior hockey world. Follow me on Twitter @Craig_Hagerman
  4. Although only 6 players from The Montreal Canadiens prospect pool were selected to attend their respective countries' training camps for the upcoming World Juniors set to take place in Malmo, Sweden, they are sure fire bets to not only make their squads, but all 6 are almost sure to play huge roles. Team Canada: F Charles Hudon Drafted 122nd overall by MTL in 2012 Hudon appears to be one of the steals of the 2012 NHL draft. He made Team Canada last year, but missed the whole tournament due to a back injury. Hudon has always been criticized for his skating as he lacks the speed you would like to see in an undersized winger. But, he actually made improvements in his skating over the past season but he still lacks the separation speed and it was noticeable. However, Hudon compensates his slow feet by using his elite hockey sense, slippery hands and an NHL ready wrist shot. For a smaller player, Hudon was exceptional at gaining body position against larger opponents allowing him to protect the puck and create magic with his puck skills. As a bonus, Montreal’s Hudon is a valuable player on the defensive side of the puck as well and that should assure him a good opportunity in the NHL some day, and a top 9 role on Team Canada. G Zachary Fucale Drafted 36th overall by MTL in 2013 Fucale may be the best World Junior goalie to lace up for Team Canada since Montreal's very own Carey Price. While a lot of attention has been paid attention to the team in front of him last year, Fucale put together a solid season that showed he was an integral part of the Halifax Mooseheads success. In 55 games, he posted a 45-5-2 record. He also finished with a 0.909 save percentage, 2.35 goals against average and two shutouts. In the playoffs he compiled 16 wins and one loss as he backstopped the Mooseheads to the President Cup. The Mooseheads (also guided by top picks Nathan Mackinnon and Jonathan Drouin) went on to defeat Seth Jone's Portland Winterhawks in the Memorial Cup, where Fucale was exceptional. I have no doubt in my mind that Fucale will be able to lead Team Canada to a gold medal this year and maybe next year, too. He could be the best goalie in the tournament. Team Sweden: F Sebastian Collberg Drafted 33rd overall by MTL in 2012 Sebastian Collberg is an electric skater and a mesmerizing stick-handler. The 19-year-old boasts a quick and deadly accurate wrist shot, though he has yet to consistently display his offensive skills playing in Sweden’s top league. A little undersized, Collberg will spend at least another season or two either in Sweden or in North American minor leagues, bulking up to prepare for the rigors of playing in the NHL. Collberg was a big part of Sweden's silver medal team last year, as he scored 4 goals and 6 points in 6 games. Also, the super swede could turn out to be a shootout specialist, which could be crucial to Sweden's success on home ice this year. F Jacob De la Rose Drafted 34th overall by MTL in 2013 With Jacob De la Rose you know what you are getting – a two-way forward with great versatility. De la Rose is a great skater with who employs good physicality but his offensive ceiling is relatively low. Look for De la Rose to develop into a player a coach relies on for tough defensive minutes and become a real quality third line centre. De la Rose posted a modest six goals and 12 points in 38 games for Leksand last year. Although his offensive capabilities are considered limited, De la Rose is among those up for the captaincy of Team Sweden. Team Slovakia: F Martin Reway (pronounced Re-vaie) Drafted 116th overall by MTL in 2013 Reway is a diminutive yet dazzling offensive force with the QMJHL's Gatineau Olympiques who's play has been soaring in his 2nd season in North America. Don't believe me? Take a look for yourself. Here is what The Scouting Report has to say about Reway: "Nobody is quite sure what to make of Martin Reway as the undersized Slovak winger certainly is not lacking talent... Can be a dynamic talent with the ability to keep the D honest as a result of his ability to burn them... Questions about his desire and passion are significant concerns heading into the draft and could see him fall into the later rounds." Team Finland: F Artturi Lehkonen Drafted 55th overall by MTL in 2013 And finally we have Artturi Lehkonen. Lehkonen is a diminutive but speedy winger with great hockey vision. Lehkonen has superb acceleration speed and very good wrist shot. Despite lacking the size he uses his body well and is not afraid of going into tight situations.He had an impressive year heading into the draft with 30 points in 45 games playing against men in Finland. Size will always be an issue but the talent is certainly there. In last year's WJC, Lehkonen played along side top pick Alexsander Barkov for Finland and saw success, of which he will try to repeat this season. There you have it folks. I will end this blog with one note on Team USA though; why the heck was the monster we drafted with our first pick, 6'5" Michael Mccarron not even invited to camp?? McCarron is off to a slow start to his OHL career with just 12 points in 30 games. While his size and physical play are not in question, his offensive game remains a work in progress. His physicality could have been an edge for Team USA. Happy hockey, Habsguy26
  5. Suck it! U. S. A...U. S. A....U. S. A!!!!!
  6. The streak is over. Canada has medaled the last 14 years. Russia wins in OT 6-5. The rest of the world has caught up.
  7. Hey everyone, just a little blog here to keep you guys updated on the World Juniors in Edmonton. Canada plays Russia tonight in the semis -- a rematch of last year's gold medal game and the infamous 3rd period collapse of Mark Visentin and Team Canada. Today, I will be telling you people who may not be following the World Juniors, who is making a big name for themselves. I'll also throw in who is disappointing me the most. So without further ado, I'm just gonna jump right into it. 5) Scott Wedgewood - G, Team Canada NHL Team: New Jersey Devils, Drafted in 2010 (3/84) GP: 2, GAA: 1.00, SV%: .966 Scott has won both of his games in goal and gets the call tonight against Russia. He is a very good butterfly goalie who covers the bottom of the net well. Look for him to be in the NHL soon and take up what Martin Brodeur leaves off in New Jersey. 4) Andrei Vasilevski - G, Team Russia NHL Team: Draft eligible in 2012 GP: 4, GAA: 1.23, SV%: .973 Vasilevski has been fantastic during his tenure with Team Russia this World Juniors. He best game came in his last one against the Czech Republic, where he made 38 saves (most in the 3rd period, and all being spectacular). He is only 17 years old, and he is already being dubbed "Emperor Vasilevski" back home in Russia, apparently. Look for him to be picked in the top 3 rounds in his draft year (maybe even the 1st round) 3) Teemu Pulkkinen - RW, Team Finland NHL Team: Detroit Red Wings, Drafted in 2010 (4/111) GP: 5, G: 6, A: 4, P: 10 It appears that Detroit's superior scouting system has another late draft robbery. Pulkkinen has showed flashes of excellent talent and leadership qualities and may be the next superstar in Detroit. He is so fast for a player his age, it is unbelievable. He's also been playing with men since he was 16. You may see him lace up the skates for the Wings as early as next year. 2) Mark Stone - RW, Team Canada NHL Team: Ottawa Senators, Drafted in 2010 (6/178) GP: 4, G: 7, A: 2, P: 9 The only reason why Mark Stone wasn't a 1st rounder in 2010 was because scouts weren't sure if he would be able to recover from a serious concussion. Well, I think its safe to say, he has. The forward has been Team Canada's go-to-guy, 5 on 5 and on the power play, even spending some time on the PK. It appears Stone is the complete package. 1) Petr Mrazek - G, Czech Republic NHL Team: Detroit Red Wings, Drafted in 2010 (5/141) GP: 5, GAA: 2.59, SV%: .927 Another gem for Detroit late in the draft. His stats aren't as pretty as Wedgewood's or Vasilevski's, but Mrazek has easily provided MVP goaltending for this mediocre at best Czech Republic team, and keeps them in every single game. Look for him in the NHL soon. Very soon.

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