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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 3:36 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Jagr: Nedved could be Czech Republic's best player

NEWARK, N.J. -- Jaromir Jagr won't be the oldest player skating for the Czech Republic when his country opens the 2014 Sochi Olympics next month against Sweden.

That distinction will belong to 42-year-old Petr Nedved, who won a silver medal at the 1994 Lillehammer Games playing for Canada. This year's Olympic Games will mark the first time the former Pittsburgh Penguins teammates' will join forces for the Czechs and play for their country at the highest level of international hockey.

Jagr, 41, and Nedved skated two seasons together in Pittsburgh (1995-97). Jagr is currently in his 20th NHL season and first with the New Jersey Devils. Nedved, who spent 15 seasons in the NHL, serves as captain for the provincial team White Tigers Liberec in the Czech league. He has 13 goals and 33 points in 35 games this season.

"I'm happy for Petr; good for him," Jagr said. "On a big ice surface, he can be a big factor. He might be the best player on our team. The main reason the coaching staff chose him was because he played at the [2012] World Championship for Czech and he was better than a lot of the players at that tournament."


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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 1:30 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Flyers' Giroux disappointed in Canada's decision

NEWARK, N.J. -- Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux received the news he wouldn't be headed to the 2014 Sochi Olympics for Canada while preparing for his team's morning skate at Prudential Center on Tuesday.

It wasn't easy.

"[Canada general manager] Steve Yzerman called me [Tuesday] morning; it was a quick talk," Giroux said. "It's obviously disappointing. It was one of my dreams to play for Canada but there's a lot of good players from Canada and the names announced are talented, good players. It's disappointing, but it happens."

Giroux acknowledged the best medicine was the fact he'll lead his club in a Metropolitan Division game with the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday.

"Some believe everything happens for a reason, and if I didn't make this team, there's a reason behind it," he said. "But I'm not upset or mad. It's a tough day, but it's a good thing I have a game so I can just put this behind me and keep moving forward."


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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 12:52 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Devils hope to limit shots from surging Flyers

NEWARK, N.J. -- The New Jersey Devils have been successful by limiting the number of shots taken by the opposition each and every game. Philadelphia Flyers coach Craig Berube is a firm believer that offense comes from getting to the net and generating shots.

Something will have to give on Tuesday when the Devils play host to the Flyers in a Metropolitan Division contest at Prudential Center.

The Devils, who have lost two straight, have allowed a League-low 24.8 shots-per-game this season. The biggest issue facing Devils coach Peter DeBoer has been scoring as the team ranks 26th at 2.35 goals per game.

As is the case each game with Berube in charge, the Flyers will look to reach the 30-shot mark against the Devils. The Flyers, 20-10-4 since beginning the season 1-7-0, are 13-8-1 when they generate 30 or more shots in a game. The team averages 29.7 shots, which ranks 17th in the League.


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Posted On Sunday, 01.05.2014 / 6:15 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Ristolainen's OT winner gives Finland WJC gold

Defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen scored 9:42 into overtime to give Finland a dramatic 3-2 victory against Sweden in the gold-medal game of the 2014 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship before 12,023 on Sunday at Malmo Arena in Malmo, Sweden.

Ristolainen, a first-round pick (No. 8) of the Buffalo Sabres last June, collected a pass from captain Teuvo Teravainen along the right-wing wall inside the opposing blue line and curled toward the cage before tucking a backhand underneath goalie Oscar Dansk to give Finland its third WJC title and first since 1998.

"I saw that they played man-on-man defense in their own end," Ristolainen told the IIHF website. "It was empty in front of the net. I just skated there. I tried to put the puck somewhere hard and it went in."

Teravainen, a first-round pick of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2012, led the tournament with 13 assists and 15 points. He notched three assists on Sunday.

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Posted On Sunday, 01.05.2014 / 5:36 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

2015 World Junior brackets announced

The pools for both Group A and Group B of the 2015 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in Montreal and Toronto were revealed on Sunday at the conclusion of the 2014 tournament in Malmo, Sweden.

The 11-day tournament will run Dec. 26 through Jan. 5, 2015. It will be the 11th time Canada has hosted the event, but the first time it will come to Toronto. Montreal hosted in 1978.

In Group A, Canada will play the preliminary round at Bell Centre in Montreal along with defending champion Finland, the United States, Slovakia and Germany.

In Group B, 2014 silver medalist Sweden will join bronze-medalist Russia, the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Denmark at Air Canada Centre in Toronto. Norway, which lost a best-of-3 series to Germany in the 2014 WJC relegation round, will play in the Division I Group A in 2015.

The schedule will be determined at a later date.

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Posted On Sunday, 01.05.2014 / 5:16 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Sweden's Forsberg named MVP at WJC

Rasmus Ristolainen, who scored the golden goal midway through overtime to give Finland a 3-2 victory against Sweden in the gold medal game at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship on Sunday, was also awarded the Directorate Award for best defenseman at the 11-day event.

Ristolainen finished the tournament with three goals and a plus-1 rating in five games. He was sidelined early in the tournament with the flu, but certainly made up for lost time when it mattered most as the Finns celebrated their first gold medal since 1998.

The Directorate's Most Valuable Player Award and Top Forward Award were given to Sweden center Filip Forsberg, who finished with four goals, 12 points and a plus-3 rating. The Nashville Predators prospect is the first Swede to be honored as an MVP since the awards were introduced in 2004.

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Posted On Saturday, 01.04.2014 / 3:19 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Dansk's heroics lead Sweden into WJC final

Oskar Sundqvist scored the decisive goal early in the third period, and goalie Oscar Dansk made it stand with a spectacular 26-save performance, to lead the Swedish National Junior Team to a 2-1 victory against Russia in the semifinal round of the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship on Saturday before a crowd of 11,725 at Malmo Arena in Malmo, Sweden.

Sweden advanced to its third straight gold medal match and will play Finland, which defeated Canada 5-1. The championship round is scheduled Sunday at 1 p.m. ET (NHLN-US) at Malmo Arena. Tre Kronor will look to win gold on home ice for the first time in its history, having come up short in 1979, 1984, 1993, 2000 and 2007.

Russia will face Canada in the bronze medal game at 9 a.m. ET (NHLN-US) on Sunday.

"I think we played pretty good," Sweden forward Alexander Wennberg told the IIHF website. "Russia's a great team. At the end, it was tough. They had a lot of scoring chances against us. But we had a nice game and I think we deserved the win."

Sweden has won nine of its past 10 meetings against Russia, dating back to 2008. Additionally, six have been decided by one goal, including a shootout when Russia won gold in 2011, and two in overtime when Sweden won gold in 2012. The host nation also earned a 3-2 win in preliminary-round play on New Year's Eve.

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Posted On Saturday, 01.04.2014 / 1:14 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

German forward Laub suspended one game

Forward Lukas Laub of the German National Junior Team was suspended one game by the International Ice Hockey Federation disciplinary panel Saturday for his hit on Norway defenseman Erlend Lesund on Friday in Game 2 of the relegation round at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship at Malmo Isstadion in Sweden.

Laub will miss the final game for his country as a result of the suspension that occurred in the second period of Germany's 4-3 win. Germany and Norway play in the third and final game of the relegation round on Sunday at 6 a.m. ET to determine which team will remain in the top level at the 2015 WJC in Toronto and Montreal. The best-of-3 series is tied, 1-1.

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Posted On Friday, 01.03.2014 / 3:35 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Germany forces deciding relegation game vs. Norway

Leon Draisaitl scored two goals, including the game-winner midway through the third period, to rally Germany to a 4-3 victory against Norway in Game 2 of the relegation round at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship at Malmo Isstadion, in Malmo, Sweden.

The victory sets up a one-game showdown Sunday in the best-of-3 series that will determine which team will remain in the top division at the 2015 WJC. The loser will be relegated to the Division I tournament. 

Game time is 6 a.m. ET.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.02.2014 / 8:54 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Semifinals: Sweden vs. Russia; Canada vs. Finland

The semifinal round of the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship will take the spotlight Saturday when Sweden plays Russia and Canada battles Finland at Malmo Arena in Malmo, Sweden.

The survivors will meet in the gold-medal game slated for Sunday at 1 p.m. ET (NHLN-US). The bronze-medal game is scheduled for 9 a.m. ET on Sunday.

Canada is making its 16th consecutive appearance in the tournament semifinals. Sweden is making its eighth straight semifinal-round appearance, and this will mark the fourth straight for Russia. Finland failed to advance to the medal round at the 2013 WJC, and this is only the second time in eight years the country will have a chance to play for a medal.

A new champion is guaranteed Sunday since Russia beat the United States, the defending gold medalist, 5-3 in the quarterfinal round Thursday. In other quarterfinal action Sweden defeated Slovakia 6-0; Canada defeated Switzerland 4-1; and Finland defeated Czech Republic 5-3.

Here is a closer look at the semifinal matchups Saturday:

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