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Posted On Wednesday, 12.29.2010 / 2:18 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2011 World Junior Championship Blog

Suspensions flying at World Juniors

Zack Kassian's two-game suspension for his hit on Slovakia's Petr Senkerik wasn't the only penalty dished out by the IIHF today.

A pair of Slovakia players will spend time watching, rather than playing, following their actions during Tuesday's game against the U.S. Peter Hrasko will sit for three games, and Martin Marincin was banned for four.

Hrasko was assessed a match penalty for a hit to the head and neck area of U.S. forward Jerry D'Amigo 6:42 into the game. According to the IIHF release: " Hrasko deliberately targeted the head of the American player, using his elbow and upper arm to deliver the blow and causing D’Amigo to be thrown violently into the boards. As a result, D’Amigo struck his head against the glass, sustaining an injury."

The match penalty carries with it an automatic one-game suspension. Today, IIHF head disciplinarian Dan Marouelli tacked on two extra games.

Midway through the third period, Martin Marincin received a match penalty for his hit on U.S. forward Jason Zucker, and his one-game suspension had three games tacked on. Marouelli ruled Marincin's hit on Zucker, "was a premeditated act as the puck had long left the vicinity of the play. Marincin took advantage of a defenseless and unsuspecting opponent and deliberately targeted the head and neck area, resulting in an injury to Zucker."

While D'Amigo was able to continue Tuesday, Zucker was knocked out of the game and his status for Thursday's game against Germany is unknown.
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Posted On Tuesday, 12.28.2010 / 11:41 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2011 World Junior Championship Blog

De Haan out for Canada?

Canada already will be without forward Zack Kassian for their next game, and they also might be without defenseman Calvin de Haan.

De Haan was forced to leave the game early in the second period with what TSN is reporting is a leg injury after he was hit hard into the boards by the Czech Republic's Michal Hlinka. De Haan limped to the bench and headed directly to the dressing room.

De Haan, taken by the New York Islanders with the 12th pick of the 2009 Entry Draft, isn't the only Isles prospect hurting -- U.S. forward Brock Nelson was held out of tonight's game with an upper-body injury. Nelson was taken by the Isles with the 30th pick of the 2010 Draft.

And at last year's tournament another Islanders prospect, defenseman Travis Hamonic suffered a serious shoulder injury playing for Canada.

Canada definitely will be without Kassian, who received a match penalty for a hit in the second period. Mike Morreale has all the details here.
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Posted On Tuesday, 12.28.2010 / 9:19 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2011 World Junior Championship Blog

Sweden nearly finished with Russia

While most eyes are watching the U.S. and Slovakia, another group is at nearby Dwyer Arena watching one of the premiere game of Group B between Sweden and Russia.

As the game winds down, it looks like Sweden will keep pace with Canada, while Russia will fall to 0-2.

The game turned in a 3:22 span in the second half of the first period, as first Anton Lander and then Jesper Fasth scored. Robin Lehner has been perfect in goal.

Playing Canada and Sweden right off the hop was a tough draw for Russia, and it makes their final two games of the preliminary round -- against Norway on Thursday and the Czech Republic on Friday -- must-wins.

We'll be back with more later when the game ends.
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Posted On Monday, 12.27.2010 / 10:33 AM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2011 World Junior Championship Blog

Is U.S. hurting?

According to TSN, the U.S. win against Finland might have come at a big price. Forward Jeremy Morin reportedly suffered a shoulder injury that could sideline him for the remainder of the tournament, although there has been no confirmation from USA Hockey.

Morin was an important late addition to the U.S. team after the Blackhawks released him to participate. He had been up and down between the Blackhawks and AHL Rockford all season, scoring 2 goals in nine NHL games.

Also hurt for the U.S. on Sunday was center Brock Nelson. The Islanders prospect was hit hard into the wall by a Finland player in the third period and immediately left the ice.

The U.S. will have a practice today; their next game is Tuesday against Slovakia (8 p.m. ET, NHLN-US). Check back with later in the day for the full story.
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Posted On Monday, 12.27.2010 / 9:18 AM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2011 World Junior Championship Blog

WJC is off and running

Well, that was some start to the 2011 World Junior Championship on Sunday. Canada showed its power -- literally and figuratively -- in its win against Russia, while the U.S. showed outstanding resiliency in never letting down against Finland.

From my snowbound basement, the thing that impressed me most about Canada was its work ethic. And to me, that was best shown by Casey Cizikas on a first-period penalty kill. Cizikas captured the puck in the Russia end and pinned it to the wall. He lost it, got it back and pinned it again. He won battles against two Russia forwards to keep the puck deep and single-handedly kill 30-40 seconds off Russia's power play.

It also was fun to watch local boy Marcus Foligno get off to a great start. The Buffalo native and Sabres draft pick scored Canada's first goal, and his line with Ryan Johansen and Zack Kassian, was very good.

For the U.S., this overtime win wasn't as dramatic as their last one -- the gold-medal game in Saskatoon in January -- but they displayed the same never-say-die attitude. Finland plays a tight defensive game and can be very frustrating to play against. However, the U.S. kept pressing and pressing. Kyle Palmieri had a few great chances before Nick Bjugstad won it in extra time.

Jack Campbell was solid in goal and made all the big saves, and defenseman Justin Faulk showed he can bomb the puck from the point for the first U.S. goal.

Today's a bit of a quieter day -- the only games are Slovakia vs. Germany at the HSBC Center and the Czech Republic vs. Norway from Dwyer Arena in Niagara. But stay close to, as we'll have full coverage.

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Posted On Sunday, 12.26.2010 / 7:21 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2011 World Junior Championship Blog

Sweden finishes rout of Norway

To almost no surprise, Sweden finished off Norway, 7-1, at Dwyer Arena on the campus of Niagara University on Sunday. Patrick Cehlin had a pair of goals, and Sebastian Wannstrom, John Klingberg and Gabriel Landeskog had a goal and an assist each. In goal, Fredrik Pettersson-Wentzel stopped 10 of the 11 shots he faced.

The rout started early as Sweden scored on its first shot. Wannstrom, a 2010 second-round pick of the Blues, set up Klingberg just 57 seconds into the game, and then scored himself late in the first.

Cehlin, a Predators prospect, made it 3-0 when he scored his first goal 4:09 into the second. Cehlin had a chance on a penalty shot later in the period when he was upended on a breakaway, but Norway goalie Lars Volden denied him. He made up for it, however, with 16.9 seconds left in the period off a Landeskog feed.

"We had a very good game, even if some of us were nervous in the beginning," Cehlin told reporters. "I'm really happy about today's game, even if the penalty shot didn’t go in."

Sweden increased its lead with a pair of goals in the first 2:01 of the third. Erixon, a Flames prospect, scored just 49 seconds in, and then Landeskog, a favorite to go in the top 10 of the 2011 Entry Draft, scored to make it 6-0.

Erik Borresen scored Norway's lone goal midway through the third, and then Carl Klingberg, like Pettersson-Wentzel a Thrashers prospect, closed the scoring.

"We really thought about how we could beat Sweden, but we made too many mistakes and we allowed them to score goals too easily at the beginning, and that broke us down," Norway captain Andreas Stene told reporters.

Norway comes right back Monday with a game against the Czech Republic, while Sweden is off until Tuesday, when they face Russia. You can expect to see Robin Lehner in goal for Sweden then.

"We want to win the gold and we have to fight hard for it," said Cehlin. "We know we will have a tougher challenge in two days against Russia, and we have to play as well as we possibly can."
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Posted On Sunday, 12.26.2010 / 5:47 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2011 World Junior Championship Blog

Meanwhile, in Niagara ...

While most eyes are focused on Russia and Canada at the HSBC Center, Sweden is opening its World Junior tournament a few miles away in Niagara, where they lead Norway 4-0 after one period.

Sebastian Wannstrom set up a pair of first-period goals, and Patrick Cehlin scored early and late in the second. Cehlin nearly had a hat trick, between his first and second goals of the period, he mis-fired on a penalty shot.

This game should serve Sweden as a nice way to get loose for Tuesday's big game against Russia.

We'll have some more on this game when it ends.
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Posted On Sunday, 12.26.2010 / 2:02 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2011 World Junior Championship Blog

A closer look at the rosters

Mike Morreale will have all the World Juniors info from on-site, but I'll be jumping in from time to time to help out.

With the deadline for official rosters arriving about the same time Santa did, here's a look at one player to watch from each team.

Canada: Mark Visentin -- It looks like Visentin, the Niagara IceDogs goaltender taken by the Coyotes in the first round of the 2010 Entry Draft, will start Sunday against Russia. It wouldn't surprise me to see Olivier Roy see get a start -- or two -- in the preliminary round. Canada coach Dave Cameron saw first-hand last year what happens when you can't count on your goaltending. Best guess is Cameron will give each guy a chance to establish himself and then ride that goalie into the medal round.

Czech Republic: Martin Frk -- The 17-year-old forward jumped to QMJHL's Halifax Mooseheads this season, and the early results have been outstanding. The 6-foot, 192-pound right wing is second among first-year league players with 31 points in 34 games. A big tournament here could propel him up the ranks for the 2012 Entry Draft.

Finland: Joel Armia -- At 6-foot-3 and 191 pounds, the right wing has the size and skill -- he's got 12 goals in 30 games with Assat in the Finnish Elite League -- but not cache in North America. Could Armia become this year's Nino Niederreiter?

Germany: Philipp Grubauer -- It seems like every year, there's a team that emerges seemingly from nowhere led by a red-hot goalie. Two years ago it was Jaroslav Janus lifting Slovakia, last year it was Benjamin Conz taking Switzerland to the bronze-medal game. Could Grubauer and Germany do it this year? Grubauer, a fourth-round pick by the Capitals last June, certainly has the talent -- he backstopped Windsor to a Memorial Cup title last year.

Norway: Sondre Olden -- A 6-foot-3, 172-pound left wing, Olden is the only NHL-affiliated player on the team's roster, and he'll be relied upon in a big way. He jumped up a level by going to Modo in Sweden, and has played mostly with their junior team. At last year's Division I WJC, he had 3 goals in five games.

Russia: Nikita Zaytsev -- The stay-at-home defenseman went unselected last year, so he'll be looking to prove himself in front of NHL scouts. He'll also likely be counted on to provide leadership for a team that completely fell apart during last year's tournament.

Switzerland: Nino Niederreiter -- The big forward arrived in Saskatoon mostly unknown and left as a guaranteed first-round pick who went fifth at the 2010 Entry Draft. This year, he's Switzerland's captain and top-line offensive force. He'll see every team's top checking line and defense pair, so he won't be sneaking up on anyone. Can he have the same high level of performance when he's in the spotlight?

Slovakia: Martin Marincin -- The big (6-5, 196) defenseman has dazzled in his first North American season with the WHL's Prince George Cougars, he leads all league defenseman with 35 points in 33 games. With two new goalies as well as four of their top five leading scorers from last year's tournament gone, Marincin will be counted on at both ends of the ice.

Sweden: Carl Klingberg -- At 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, Klingberg has the size of a power forward, but can he play that way in North America? Sweden coach Roger Ronnberg would love to see Klingberg adopt some of countrymate Gabriel Landeskog's tendencies. Landeskog plays a heavy forechecking game with a nose for the net, but he can't be the only one if Sweden wants to have success. Klingberg will have to play the same way.

U.S.: John Ramage -- The Flames prospect is the only returning defenseman, and also was named team captain. He won't put up big offensive numbers -- he had 3 assists, including one on John Carlson's gold medal-winning goal -- but coach Keith Allain will rely on him to shut down the elite offensive players in the tournament.
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Posted On Tuesday, 12.21.2010 / 8:59 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2011 World Junior Championship Blog

Germany suffering like Norway

If I'm part of the Germany or Norway traveling party for the 2011 World Junior Championship, I'm considering finding alternate means of getting home after the tournament.

It was announced today that Germany would have to move its exhibition game against the Czech Republic, scheduled for Wednesday, to Thursday, because of a delay in their gear arriving.

Players from Norway's team were heading to hockey shops around the Buffalo area to round up equipment for the start of the tournament. Looks like Germany might have to do the same thing.
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Posted On Tuesday, 12.21.2010 / 9:32 AM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2011 World Junior Championship Blog

Something's missing ...

There are a few things that are absolutely necessary to playing hockey -- sticks, skates, pads.

Unfortunately for Norway's junior team, they had none of those things for their exhibition game Monday against Slovakia. Because their gear didn't arrive in time for the game, the teams now will played at 7 p.m. ET on Wednesday, at the Jamestown (N.Y.) Savings Bank Arena.

Tonight, however, all eyes will be on the U.S. team that skates against the Czech Republic at 7 p.m. ET at The Sports Centre at MCC in Rochester, N.Y. It's the final opportunity for the U.S. players to impress USA Hockey staff prior to Wednesday's roster cutdown.

There are seven players currently in camp who won gold medals last year in Saskatoon -- that number would have been eight, but Jeremy Morin has been with the Blackhawks while they deal with injury woes. Morin could still be released by the Hawks to play in the World Juniors, which start Dec. 26 in Buffalo, but that decision will have to come soon. The IIHF's final roster deadline is Dec. 25. will have full coverage of the U.S. announcement tomorrow morning, so click back early and often to see which players will go for the gold.

(EDIT: Apparently Morin is in camp. Sorry for the confusion)
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