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Posted On Tuesday, 12.28.2010 / 2:42 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 2011 World Junior Championship Blog

Top prospect Landeskog suffering

Sweden's Gabriel Landeskog, projected to be an early first-round pick in the 2011 Entry Draft, will miss his team's first big test of the World Junior Championship, Tuesday's game against Russia.
Gabriel Landeskog, Team Sweden
According to Bob McKenzie of TSN, Landeskog is dealing with an ankle injury that occurred in his last Ontario Hockey League game with the Kitchener Rangers. He's scheduled to undergo an MRI. McKenzie reported that Landeskog could miss the rest of the tournament with the ailment.
Landeskog had 1 goal, 1 assist and a plus-3 rating in a 7-1 victory against Norway in Sweden's tournament opener Sunday.
Landeskog has 25 goals and 45 points for the Rangers, where he is team captain. NHL Central Scouting had Landeskog rated No. 1 in its preliminary rankings for OHL players. He's just the second European-born and -trained player to captain an OHL team, following Slovakia's Tomas Marcinko (Islanders, fourth round, 2006), who captained the Barrie Colts in 2007-08.
Prior to being named Kitchener's Rookie of the Year and becoming a member of the OHL's All-Rookie First Team in 2009-10 after totaling 24 goals and 46 points in 61 games, he was the youngest player to suite up for Djurgarden in the Swedish Elite League, at 16 years, 90 days.
Posted On Tuesday, 12.28.2010 / 12:12 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 2011 World Junior Championship Blog

U.S. forwards Morin and Nelson out against Slovakia

After dealing with a pretty adverse situation in their World Junior Championship opener against Finland -- needing an overtime goal to earn the victory -- the U.S. National Junior Team will now be forced to operate two men short for the foreseeable future.

U.S. coach Keith Allain confirmed on Tuesday following his team's practice at HSBC Arena that forward Jeremy Morin and Brock Nelson would be sidelined for the game against Slovakia tonight at 8 p.m. ET.

Both players, who have missed the last two practices, are reportedly sidelined with upper-body injuries and are listed day-to-day. There is no timetable for their return.

"We'll just have to play with the guys we have and push onward," Allain said. "Slovakia has great speed and tremendous one-on-one skill. From what we've seen, they've been pretty aggressive in the neutral zone and they have gotten good goaltending. We're still building our team game."

The U.S. will certainly have their hands full with Slovakian goalie Dominik Riecicky, who made 47 saves in a 2-1 overtime victory over Germany on Monday night.

"I didn't come to watch and didn't see too much of (Riecicky) but we'll throw a lot of pucks on net and see what happens," U.S. defenseman Justin Faulk said. "We have our systems and we'll just have to make sure we compete every game."

Posted On Monday, 12.27.2010 / 10:22 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 2011 World Junior Championship Blog

Slovakia beats Germany; Czechs stop Norway

If a hot goalie is the equalizer, the U.S. National Junior Team better have paid strict attention to Slovakia's Dominik Riecicky.

Riecicky was an absolute one-man machine in the Slovakia net Monday, turning aside 47 shots on the way to leading his country to a 2-1 overtime victory against Germany in preliminary-round action in Group A at HSBC Arena. It would be surprising if Slovakia coach Stefan Mikes didn't have Riecicky right back between the pipes against Team USA on Tuesday (8 p.m.  ET, NHLN-US).

Riecicky, of course, wants that opportunity.

"I'd like to play against U.S. and for me it's high motivation because the championship is on their own soil," Riecicky said. "I'd love to see what happens."

Riecicky made 16 saves in the first, 17 in the second and 13 in the third. Marek Hrivik, who is eligible for the 2011 Entry Draft, deflected home a picturesque feed from Slovakia captain Richard Panik in the slot 3:39 into overtime to give Slovakia the decision.

"The first two periods were very tough for us, they had 34 shots and we had 17," Riecicky said. "But I thought in the third we were a better team and we had the momentum."

Panik, a Tampa Bay Lightning prospect, had a goal and an assist in the first game of his third World Junior Championship. Germany had pulled into a 1-1 tie 16:46 into the second when Norman Hauner jammed in a rebound in the crease.

Slovakia forward Tomas Jurco, a possible first-round pick in the June draft, was elated his country came away victorious and feels anything is possible against the U.S.

"It was a pretty hard game and we're really happy," Jurco said. "We're happy we stayed focused to the end, and it's a really big win for us. Our goalie was awesome. He had a few great saves and he's the goalie, so he's very good for us.

"If he plays against the U.S. like he did tonight, I'd say it's going to be a really hard game for USA because we can also play good defensively."

Meanwhile, at Dwyer Arena on the campus of Niagara University, Tampa Bay prospect Tomas Rachunek and Antonin Honejsek of the Western Hockey League's Moose Jaw Warriors had goals to lead the Czech Republic to a 2-0 victory against Norway in Group B action.

Marek Mazanec turned aside all 21 shots he faced for the Czechs. Norway's Steffen Soberg made 36 saves in defeat.

Germany next will face Finland on Wednesday at HSBC Arena, while the Czech Republic will play Canada on Tuesday (4 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, TSN), also at HSBC. Norway next plays Wednesday, against Canada (7:30 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, TSN).

In case you missed it, spoke to Czech Republic assistant coach Jiri Fischer about the future of Czech hockey on an international stage.
Posted On Monday, 12.27.2010 / 8:04 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 2011 World Junior Championship Blog

Germany-Slovakia; Czech Republic-Norway

The only two games on the docket for Monday in the World Junior Championship are under way.

Germany is facing Slovakia at HSBC Arena and Czech Republic and Norway are meeting in Dwyer Arena.

The Slovaks lead the Germans, 1-0, on a second-period goal by captain Richard Panik, drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round in 2009. The Czechs and Norway are scoreless after one period.

Starters for Slovakia
Jaray Majdan-Tomas Jurco-Andrej Kudrna
Oliver Jokel-Andrej Stastny-Michael Vandas
Marek Hrivik-Richard Panik-Miroslav Preisinger
Dominik Simcak-Dalibor Bortnak-Tomas Matousek-Peter Sisovsky
Adam Janosik-Martin Marincin
Lukas Kozak-Peter Trska
Peter Hrasko-Henrich Jabornik
Peter Ceresnak
Goalie - Dominik Riecicky

Starters for Germany
Tom Kuhnhackl-Tobias Rieder-Laurin Braun
Norman Hauner-Thomas Brandl-Marcel Ohmann
Marcel Noebels-Mirko Hofflin-Bernhard Keil
Marc El-Sayed-Matthias Plachta-Marius Mochel
Konrad Abeltshauser-Jannik Woidtke
Dominik Bittner-Corey Mapes
Peter Lindlbauer-Benjamin Hufner
Dieter Orendorz
Goalie - Philipp Grubauer

Starters for Czech Republic
Andrej Nestrasil-Roman Horak-Robin Soudek
Michal Hlinka-David Tuma-Jakub Orsava
Martin Frk-Jakub Culek-Petr Holik
Tomas Rachunek-Ondrej Palat-Antonin Honejsek-Petr Straka
Dalibor Reznicek-Jakub Jerabek
Petr Senkerik-Adam Sedlak
Oldrich Horak-Martin Planek
Goalie - Marek Mazanec

Starters for Norway
Andreas Stene-Jonas Oppoyen-Mats Rosseli Olsen
Rasmus Juell-Sondre Olden-Joacim Sundelius
Magnus Lindahl-Michael Haga-Hans Kristian Hollstedt
Petter Roste Fossen-Eirik Borresen-Nicholas Weberg-Simen Brekke
Nicolai Bryhnisveen-Tobias Skaarberg
Daniel Rokseth-Robin Andersen
Kenneth Madso-Adrian Danielsen
Jens Ulrik Bacher
Goalie - Steffen Soberg

Posted On Monday, 12.27.2010 / 5:17 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 2011 World Junior Championship Blog

Morin, Nelson day-to-day for U.S.; Roy in for Canada

Updating an earlier report, U.S. National Junior Team forwards Brock Nelson and Jeremy Morin were on the ice for the team picture Monday, but immediately left prior to the start of practice.

No one from USA Hockey would provide an update on the injuries, although TSN reported that both players are considered day-to-day with upper-body ailments.

When asked to comment on the extent of the injuries, coach Keith Allain said, "I'm not commenting on injuries."

U.S. forward Ryan Bourque was asked if the team would have to make some major adjustments if Nelson, a prospect of the New York Islanders, and Morin, who played in the NHL with the Chicago Blackhawks this season, were sidelined for an extended period of time.

"I can't really comment on it and everything's day to day," Bourque said. "I don't know much anyway.  I think depending on what happens in the next few days, we'll see and obviously that's part of the tournament. Guys are going to have to step up and guys will be held accountable. We'll see what happens."

Chicago coach Joel Quenneville was asked about Morin following his team's morning skate on Monday.

"I don't know anything. I didn't see the play," he said. "I didn't hear exactly how he was hurt, but I heard it was an upper-body injury. Whatever the case, I'm sure we're going to do what's best for the kid. I'm sure that's what the plan is, but I haven't heard."

Quenneville also said he didn't know whether or not the injury would sideline him the remainder of the tournament.

On the Canadian front, coach Dave Cameron named Olivier Roy his starter for Tuesday's game against the Czech Republic. Roy made 24 saves, including all seven in the third period, when Team Canada earned a 6-3 decision over Russia on Sunday.

Cameron was noncommittal when asked if Mark Visentin would get the nod against Norway on Wednesday.

"We'll go game by game and Mark will get in at some point," Cameron said.

Roy is excited about getting another opportunity.

"It's another great challenge and we have a great team for sure," Roy said. "We have to get ready for that next one.

"We knew entering camp that it would be a battle for spots on this team. It was pretty exciting playing (against Russia) but as the game went on, the excitement went down and I settled down. It was great to play in that game."
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.
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.

Posted On Sunday, 12.26.2010 / 9:41 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 2011 World Junior Championship Blog

U.S. leads 2-1 after 40 minutes

The U.S. was able to maintain a one-goal lead through two periods at HSBC Arena after exchanging goals with Finland in the second period.
Jason Zucker responded just 1:18 after Finland had pulled into a 1-1 tie, ripping a snap shot past goalie Joni Ortio from the right circle at the 15:08 mark. The goal was set up when Chris Brown checked a Finland player off the puck, providing Zucker, a Minnesota Wild prospect, his unassisted attempt.
Finland had squared the contest at 13:50 when Joonas Nattinen slammed home a shot from the slot off a turnover behind the U.S. net. Toni Rajala set up Nattinen after tracking the puck.
U.S. goalie Jack Campbell came up big on two occasions in the second period, denying Erik Haula, another Wild draft pick, on a point-blank attempt from between the circles at the 12:45 mark, and then Iiro Pakarinen's jam in the crease at 18:03. The U.S. outshot Finland in the second, 16-8. Ortio was solid in keeping his team within striking distance, turning aside 15 shots.
Posted On Sunday, 12.26.2010 / 9:06 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 2011 World Junior Championship Blog

U.S. leads 1-0 after one

It took almost 10 minutes for the U.S. to finally put it into gear, but once they did, the opportunities came fast and furious against Finland in their preliminary-round game.
The U.S. cashed in on their second power-play chance of the first when defenseman Justin Faulk ripped a slap shot from the point past Finland goalie Joni Ortio with just 1:05 left. Jonathan Merrill fed Faulk along the blue line after some good work by Chris Kreider down low.
Prior to the goal, however, Team USA was aided by the play of returning goalie Jack Campbell, who turned aside nine shots in the first. The Finns, who haven't beaten Team USA in three previous meetings in the WJC, are playing this tournament without playmaking forward Mikael Granlund. The Minnesota Wild's 2010 first-round pick (No. 9) is dealing with post-concussion syndrome.
Ortio, a Calgary Flames prospect, finished with six saves in the first. Team USA's top line of Kreider centering Charlie Coyle and Kyle Palmieri, was the trio that finally pumped some life into the U.S. with less than six minutes remaining in the first. The club earned its first chance with the man-advantage, and despite the fact they failed to score, it made a much more concerted effort to sustain some pressure in the Finland end -- and it remained that way.
The U.S. players are wearing replica Team USA jerseys from the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" Olympic team.
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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— Senators forward Mike Hoffman when asked if his two-goal game was a good way to celebrate his 26th birthday
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