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Posted On Monday, 12.15.2014 / 5:36 PM

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

Capitals honor Central Scouting's Al Jensen

Al Jensen, who has served as the head goalie scout the past 14 years at NHL Central Scouting, was honored as one the top 40 players in the history of the Washington Capitals during a commercial break midway through the first period Saturday at Verizon Center.

Jensen was introduced to the fans in the company of his daughters, Leah and Shannon.

"Al Jensen started with NHL Central Scouting in 2001," Director of NHL Central Scouting Dan Marr said. "Al is responsible to identify, evaluate and rank goaltenders each year for the NHL Draft. Throughout the NHL, the scouting fraternity and amongst his Central Scouting colleagues, Al's opinions on goaltenders is well respected and often sought after. He is very thorough, conscientious and always an ultimate professional in performing his unique and valuable role with Central Scouting for the benefit of the 30 NHL clubs."

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Posted On Monday, 12.15.2014 / 3:00 AM

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

McDavid vs. Eichel showdown looms at 2015 WJC

Residents of the United States may have heard that sigh of relief coming North of the Border last week after Canadian hockey fans learned their junior hockey phenomenon Connor McDavid will indeed be ready for the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship.

McDavid, projected as the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, has been skating for the past three weeks after sustaining a broken pinky finger in his right hand on Nov. 11 in a fight. He is targeting Canada's pre-tournament exhibition game on Dec. 21 against Sweden at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa as an initial tune-up. He expects to be in the lineup when Canada plays its first preliminary-round match against Slovakia at Bell Centre in Montreal five days later.

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Posted On Thursday, 12.11.2014 / 3:13 PM

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

Germany releases preliminary roster for 2015 WJC

The German Ice Hockey Federation has revealed the preliminary camp roster of players who will compete for spots in the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship later this month.

German National Junior Team coach Pat Cortina has invited 27 players, including three goalies, nine defensemen and 15 forwards to camp that is scheduled to begin in Fussen, Germany, from Dec. 15-18. The German Ice Hockey Federation will cut four skaters before departing for Canada.

Germany will have two pre-tournament exhibition matches against the United States on Dec. 21 at K-Rock Centre in Kingston, Ontario, and Denmark on Dec. 23 at Centre D'Excellence Sports Rousseau in Blainville, Quebec.


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Posted On Wednesday, 12.10.2014 / 10:29 AM

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

Reway, Cehlarik named to Slovak WJC select roster

Forwards Martin Reway and Peter Cehlarik, both selected in the 2013 NHL Draft, highlight the list of players invited to selection camp for Slovakia ahead of the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Reway, a fourth-round choice (No. 116) of the Montreal Canadiens, had four goals and 10 points in five games for eighth-place Slovakia in the 2014 WJC. Cehlarik, a third-round pick (No. 90) of the Boston Bruins, had three assists in five games for the Slovaks last year.

Slovakia, which will be coached by Ernest Bokros, hasn't placed higher than sixth at the WJC since 2009, when it finished fourth.

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Posted On Wednesday, 12.10.2014 / 9:22 AM

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

Ehlers, Bjorkstrand named to Danish junior team

Forwards Nikolaj Ehlers and Oliver Bjorkstrand highlight the list of players selected to the Denmark National Junior Team preliminary roster for the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship in Toronto and Montreal. The tournament starts Dec. 26.

Ehlers, selected by the Winnipeg Jets with the ninth pick of the 2014 NHL Draft, has 16 goals and 47 points in 23 games this season with the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Bjorkstrand, a 2013 third-round choice (No. 89) of the Columbus Blue Jackets, has 21 goals and 40 points in 28 games as an assistant captain for the Portland Winterhawks in the Western Hockey League.

They played significant roles in leading Denmark to a first-place finish in the 2014 WJC Division I-A tournament, which earned Denmark promotion to the top level for this year's WJC. Ehlers had two goals and six points in five games while Bjorkstrand had four goals and six points in five games.

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.09.2014 / 10:03 AM

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

McDavid feels ahead of schedule on road to recovery

Erie Otters center Connor McDavid, who has been out of the lineup since sustaining a fracture in his right hand on Nov. 11, told TSN Radio 690 Montreal that he is scheduled to visit a doctor Tuesday to receive the latest update on his injury.

McDavid, who is projected to be the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, expects the doctor to remove his fitted cast. The original diagnosis last month had McDavid missing 5-6 weeks, but Tuesday marks the four-week mark and he feels ahead of schedule.


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Posted On Monday, 12.08.2014 / 2:02 PM

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

Sweden invites 19 NHL draftees to WJC select camp

The Swedish Ice Hockey Association named seven returnees and 19 players drafted by NHL teams to its preliminary roster that will compete for spots in the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship later this month.

Among the returning players are forwards Jacob de la Rose (Montreal Canadiens, No. 34, 2013) and Anton Karlsson (Arizona Coyotes, No. 87, 2014) and defenseman Robert Hagg (Philadelphia Flyers, No. 41, 2013). First-round draft picks William Nylander (Toronto Maple Leafs, No. 8, 2014), Adrian Kempe (Los Angeles Kings, No. 29, 2014) and Andre Burakovsky (Washington Capitals, No. 23, 2013) also were chosen.

Burakovsky has four goals and 13 points in 25 games with the Capitals this season. The Capi8tals have not decided if Burakovsky will be allowed to play in the tournament.

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Posted On Monday, 12.08.2014 / 10:27 AM

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

Finland reveals preliminary camp roster for 2015 WJC

Forward Kasperi Kapanen, defenseman Julius Honka and goaltender Juuse Saros highlight the preliminary roster of players invited to the Finnish National Junior Team evaluation camp that will determine the team looking to defend its championship at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship later this month.

Honka and Saros are two of seven returning players from the team that captured a gold medal at the 2014 IIHF WJC in Malmo, Sweden. It marked the first medal of any kind for Finland since earning a bronze medal at the 2006 WJC in Vancouver.

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Posted On Monday, 12.08.2014 / 9:00 AM

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

Eichel proving a lot more than an elite goal scorer

The opposition may design creative ways to keep Jack Eichel from generating quality shots on net, but it won't ever discourage him from setting up an open teammate.

Eichel, a projected top-two pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, proved that point Saturday in a 4-2 victory against Merrimack College before 4,366 fans at Agganis Arena in Boston. Boston University is 10-3-2.

The Terriers top center, who has scored just once in the past five games (2-2-1), was limited to one shot against Merrimack on Saturday. The 18-year-old instead set up linemate Danny O'Regan three times to help him notch his first collegiate hat trick. Eichel finished the game with four assists.

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Posted On Friday, 12.05.2014 / 11:05 AM

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

Pastrnak, Vrana head CZE World Junior select roster

Two first-round NHL draft picks and six A-rated prospects on NHL Central Scouting's players to watch list for the 2015 NHL Draft highlight the 32-man preliminary roster of players for the Czech Republic for the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Highlighting the list of players are center Jakub Vrana (Washington Capitals, No. 13, 2014) and left wing David Pastrnak (Boston Bruins, No. 25 , 2014). They combined for two goals and five points in five games for the Czech Republic at the 2014 WJC in Sweden.

While Vrana has to be considered a lock to make the team, Pastrnak's availability is at question. He has played well in five games with the Bruins since making his NHL debut Nov. 24.

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Quote of the Day

You get the right the whistles at the right times, you can leave him out there. He's a beast when it comes to being on the ice. I thought [Saturday] he was a big man. That first period, he did that lateral cut and it was like three bowling pins bounced off him. There's not too many guys that can do that.

— Capitals coach Barry Trotz on Alex Ovechkin, who enters February tied for the NHL lead in goals