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Posted On Friday, 01.02.2015 / 1:29 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Sharks prospect Rod leads Swiss in relegation round

TORONTO -- San Jose Sharks prospect Noah Rod scored two goals and goaltender Gauthier Descloux made 30 saves to lead Switzerland to a 5-2 victory against Germany in Game 1 of the best-of-3 relegation round in the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship at Air Canada Centre on Friday.

Switzerland, which finished fifth in Group B, will earn a berth into the 2016 WJC in Finland with one more victory against Germany. The second game of the series will be held Saturday at ACC at 7 p.m. ET.

If a third game is necessary, it will be played Monday at 11 a.m. ET. The loser of the series is relegated to Division I Group A in the 2016 tournament.


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Posted On Friday, 01.02.2015 / 1:15 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Canada's McDavid looks forward to playing at ACC

TORONTO -- Canada forward Connor McDavid, the projected No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, is looking forward to playing at Air Canada Centre for the first time in his career when his country plays against Denmark in the quarterfinals of the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship on Friday (8 p.m. ET; NHLN-US).

McDavid, who appears to be getting progressively better with each game played at the tournament, has one goal, four points and a 54 percent faceoff efficiency through four games for Canada.

He enjoyed his time in the locker room at Bell Centre in Montreal during the preliminary round and is now gearing up for a similar experience at ACC in the playoff round. McDavid was born and raised in Newmarket, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto.

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Posted On Friday, 01.02.2015 / 12:44 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Denmark proud for opportunity to play Canada

TORONTO -- Denmark coach Olaf Eller isn't expecting any miracles when his group plays against heavily favored Canada in the quarterfinal round of the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship at Air Canada Centre on Friday (8 p.m. ET; NHLN-US).

He knows it will be an uphill battle from the opening faceoff, but he is confident about one thing. His team will compete as best they can.

"It is unbelievable experience and unbelievable proudness to be here," Eller said. "We survived and reached game five and are satisfied with that, but as this group has been going forward in the Danish system they put up new goals and when you are in the playoffs it's all about winning."


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Posted On Thursday, 01.01.2015 / 4:14 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Fucale to start for Canada in WJC quarterfinal

TORONTO -- Canada coach Benoit Groulx said goaltender Zachary Fucale (Montreal Canadiens) will start the quarterfinal-round game of the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship against Denmark at Air Canada Centre on Friday (8 p.m. ET, NHLN-US).

While it will be Fucale's third start of the tournament, neither he nor Eric Comrie (Winnipeg Jets) have started consecutive games for Canada, which won all four prelimainry-round games.

"I think Zach's been fine and we have confidence in him," Groulx said. "It seems like a rotation but for us it's not. We have a discussion after each game and in our mind there it's not a rotation. There was for the first two games but we wanted to have both goalies in. It's one game at a time and [on Friday] we think Zach is a good fit."


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Posted On Thursday, 01.01.2015 / 12:27 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

NHL-Draft eligible players to watch in medal round

TORONTO -- Now that the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship has reached the playoff round, most observers will view Denmark as the darlings of the tournament with slim odds of concocting a formula to eliminate Canada in the quarterfinals on Friday.

Still, that's why you play the games and Denmark earned its way to the knockout round of this year's tournament. One of the key players on the team has been 5-foot-10, 172-pound goaltender Georg Sorensen, who was No. 13 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top European goaltenders for the 2014 NHL Draft.

Sorensen, however, was not selected. He's hoping his play at this tournament will get him on some team's draft board for the 2015 draft.

A couple of higher profile skaters eligible for the draft in June are Connor McDavid of Canada and Jack Eichel of the United States. They have done their part in helping their countries reach the playoff round, but it will be interesting to see how each performs on an even bigger stage.

Here are 10 players eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft who will be targets of interest for scouts during the medal round, which starts Friday:

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Posted On Thursday, 01.01.2015 / 10:33 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Injured Santini encouraging U.S. teammates

MONTREAL -- New Jersey Devils prospect Steven Santini bid his friends on the United States National Junior Team a fond farewell prior to leaving for Massachusetts on Thursday morning to rejoin his teammates at Boston College for their second-half stretch.

It was a bittersweet goodbye for Santini, a defenseman who was the last player released from the U.S. Junior roster one day prior to a preliminary-round victory against Finland at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship at Bell Centre on Dec. 26.

A wrist injury sustained Oct. 25 during Boston College's game against the University of Massachusetts was not fully healed in time for Santini to return to play for the United States at the WJC this year, but USA Hockey wanted Santini around the team during the preliminary round to offer encouragement.

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Posted On Wednesday, 12.31.2014 / 11:55 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Young U.S. defense hopes to slow Canada forwards

MONTREAL -- The young defense corps for the United States will have its hands full when Canada's talented forwards come bearing down on them during the much-anticipated preliminary-round game between the United States and Canada at Bell Centre on Wednesday (4 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, NHL.com).

The winner will earn the No. 1 seed in Group A and play against the No. 4 seed from Group B in the quarterfinal round of the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship on Friday. The losing team will finish second in the Group and play the third-place team from Group B in the quarterfinals.

The one goal allowed by the United States so far is the fewest it's allowed through three games at the WJC; the previous low was three in 2011, when the U.S. won the bronze medal. The United States never has posted three shutouts at the WJC; it has two so far.

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Posted On Wednesday, 12.31.2014 / 11:31 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

U.S. goalie Demko to start against Canada

MONTREAL -- Goaltender Thatcher Demko has been named the starter for the United States against rival Canada in the pivotal preliminary-round game at Bell Centre in Montreal on Wednesday (4 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, NHL.com).

Demko (Vancouver Canucks) has one regulation win against Slovakia (3-0) and one shootout win against Finland (2-1). He has a 0.48 goals-against average and .978 save percentage in two games.

Brandon Halverson (New York Rangers) was in goal for a 6-0 victory against Germany in the United States' other preliminary-round game. Halverson, who made 14 saves against Germany, will serve as the backup against Canada.

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Posted On Monday, 12.29.2014 / 9:00 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 NHL Draft blog

McDavid-Eichel matchup looms at WJC in Montreal

The excitement surrounding the top two players available in the 2015 NHL Draft, Erie Otters center Connor McDavid and Boston University center Jack Eichel, will take on a whole new meaning in preliminary-round action of the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship at Bell Centre in Montreal on Wednesday.

That's when the two projected generational stars will meet head-on while representing their country; McDavid for Canada and Eichel for the United States.

Each has gotten off to an impressive start in the WJC.

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.23.2014 / 12:51 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Hurricanes at Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils left wing Mike Cammalleri, who has sat out the past four games with a groin injury, is expected to return to the lineup on Tuesday against the Carolina Hurricanes at Prudential Center.

Cammalleri, who leads the Devils in goals (11), power-play goals (five) and game-winning goals (three), will be a welcomed addition; the Devils have scored four times and have been shut out twice in the past four games without him.

"I think I'll be good to go," Cammalleri said. "I practiced [Monday] and felt good, and I'm excited to get back. I don't think I'll have too must rust; I'll be able to handle it."

Cammalleri, 32, was placed on injured reserve retroactive to Dec. 13 and can be removed at any time; that will likely happen prior to puck drop. He practiced Monday and stayed off the ice for the morning skate Tuesday. He's expected to join center Scott Gomez and right wing Jaromir Jagr on the top line.

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Quote of the Day

I've been so fortunate, blessed, to play a long time with some great players and be on power plays, play in some great cities and stuff. It's been fun.

— Avalanche forward Jarome Iginla on tying Dino Ciccarelli for 46th place on the NHL's all-time list with his 1,200th career point after their win vs. the Predators on Friday