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Posted On Sunday, 12.26.2010 / 5:47 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 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 -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 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 -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 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 -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 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.

NHL.com 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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Posted On Monday, 12.20.2010 / 2:21 PM

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

Rivalry on pause

The Boston University-Boston College rivalry is like hockey Civil War. Bigger than Eagles and Terriers, however, are Stars and Stripes. That would be the jersey for Team USA, which is what has brought seven members of the spirited rivalry to upstate New York this week.

From the BU side are defenseman Adam Clendening and forward Matthew Nieto, both of whom are expected to be top picks at the 2011 Entry Draft, and forward Charlie Coyle, a 2010 first-round pick of the Sharks.

On the other side are BC forward Chris Kreider, who won gold with Team USA last year, along with defensemen Brian Dumoulin, Patrick Wey and Philip Samuelsson.

NHL.com's Mike Morreale talked to a few of the guys in a nice story you can read here. But Kreider's quote sums it up nicely.

"I played with (BU defenseman) David Warsofsky on last year's WJC team and am still pretty close with him," Kreider told Morreale. "The thing is, when you face each other, you play hard, but when you're gunning for the same goal, there's a mutual respect and you're going to be a good teammate."
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Posted On Wednesday, 12.15.2010 / 12:13 PM

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

Canada's in and out

Hockey Canada has made the roster for the National Junior Team official, which you can read about here.

No real surprises, although if Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had made the team I wouldn't have been surprised. But coach Dave Cameron is a pretty sharp guy, and he knows what it takes to build a World Juniors winner -- he was an assistant to Pat Quinn for the gold-medal winners in 2009 as well as an assistant to Willie Desjardins last year in Saskatoon.

Offensively, Canada certainly has good size, with Curtis Hamilton, Sean Couturier, Zack Kassian and Carter Ashton all standing at least 6-foot-3. They also look solid defensivley with good puck-movers in Ryan Ellis, Calvin de Haan and Tyson Barrie, as well as big bangers in Jared Cowen and Erik Gudbranson.

Goaltending will be a question, as neither Olivier Roy nor Mark Visentin has World Junior experience. The same was said about Jake Allen and Martin Jones, last year's goaltenders, part of the reason Canada took home the silver.

Canada will play three exhibition games to get ready for its WJC debut, against Russia on Dec. 26.

And stay tuned for more on Canada news today. NHL.com will have a camera at the MasterCard Centre today to record all the day's news from the public unveiling of the team.
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Posted On Wednesday, 12.15.2010 / 10:14 AM

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

Report: Canada sets WJC roster

According to TSN, Hockey Canada has made its final nine roster cuts and has its team in place for the 2011 World Juniors.

Only one of the three 2011 Entry Draft prospects invited to the camp will travel to Buffalo -- Drummondville center Sean Couturier. Kitchener defenseman Ryan Murphy and Red Deer center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins were sent home. Also released was Everett defenseman Ryan Murray, who will be a top choice at the 2012 Draft.

Four players from last year's silver medalist look like they'll be back -- Brayden Schenn, Jared Cowen, Ryan Ellis (it'll be his third WJC) and Calvin de Haan.

The team will be officially announced today at 11 a.m., so check back with NHL.com for the official list, as well as video interviews with the players who made it.
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