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Posted On Monday, 12.26.2011 / 12:27 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012 World Junior Championship blog

Visentin gets the nod in Canada's WJC opener

Canadian National Junior Team coach Don Hay on Monday declared goalie Mark Visentin his starter against Finland in the country's 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship opener at Rexall Place in Edmonton.

The Canadians, winner of the silver medal the previous two years, will open their Group B preliminary-round schedule against the Finns Monday at 3:30 p.m. ET.

In addition to having the most experience of the two goalies on the team, the start could give Visentin an opportunity to put to bed the final 20 minutes of last year's gold-medal loss to the Russians. Visentin is constantly reminded of his team's gold medal game collapse on Jan. 5, 2011. To some, it was considered the worst defeat in the illustrious international history of Team Canada.

And Visentin had a front row seat.
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Posted On Monday, 12.26.2011 / 6:45 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012 World Junior Championship blog

U.S. members celebrate holiday in Western Canada

For the first time in its history of competition at the World Junior Championship, the U.S. National Junior Team will face Denmark. The game is slated for 8 p.m ET (NHLN-US) at Rexall Place in Edmonton.

The U.S. has won its last four WJC openers. Last year, Nick Bjugsted scored in overtime as the United States scored a 3-2 victory over Finland. Finland will open the tournament against Canada in what is sure to be an intriguing tussle on Monday at 3:30 p.m. ET.

The U.S. received a special gift from team doctor Phil Johnson's daughter, Paloma, upon their arrival at Rexall Place on Christmas Day. All the players found tiny stockings filled with cookies baked by the 10-year-old. In addition, the U.S. locker room was decorated with drawings by members of Paloma's elementary school class.

In addition, the players held a gift exchange on Christmas night. According to USA Hockey's public relations department, the most popular item "was what can best be described as a Christmas sweater," which Bjugsted apparently stole Jon Merrill at the end of the exchange. Looks like the Grinch is alive and well in Western Canada.

While most members of Team USA celebrated Christmas, team captain Jason Zucker has been celebrating Hanukkah. Zucker is the only Jewish member on the team.
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Posted On Thursday, 12.22.2011 / 12:19 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012 World Junior Championship blog

Jaden Schwartz named captain of Team Canada

St. Louis Blues prospect Jaden Schwartz on Thursday was named captain of the Canadian National Junior Team for the upcoming 2012 World Junior Championship in Edmonton and Calgary, Alta.

Defenseman Brandon Gormley and forwards Brett Connolly, Quinton Howden and Devante Smith-Pelly were named the team's alternate captains. Schwartz, Connolly and Howden are the only three returning skaters from last year's silver medal-winning Canadian team in Buffalo, N.Y.

Goalie Mark Visentin is also a returnee.

Schwartz had a goal and 2 assists while playing key minutes alongside center Brayden Schenn and Louis Leblanc in the first two games of the WJC last year, but it ended suddenly when he suffered a broken left ankle in a 7-2 victory against the Czech Republic just two games into Team Canada's preliminary-round schedule.

"I've been waiting for this ever since that tournament ended," Schwartz told NHL.com. "I'm excited to be here. Sometimes you don't know how lucky you are, and if you get another opportunity to play for your country, you want to make the best of it and leave everything out there because you don't know how many chances you're going to get."
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Posted On Wednesday, 12.21.2011 / 2:30 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012 World Junior Championship blog

Frk will not join Czech Republic at WJC

Martin Frk, one of the top players eligible for the 2012 Draft, will not be joining the Czech Republic at the World Junior Championship in Edmonton and Calgary, Alta., beginning Monday.

Frk, who missed 29 games this season with a concussion, is in his second season with the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. According to the Halifax Herald, Frk will "head home for the holidays and not return to the Mooseheads until January."

He is ranked No. 2 among skaters in the QMJHL by NHL Central Scouting.
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Posted On Wednesday, 12.21.2011 / 1:49 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012 World Junior Championship blog

Injured Seth Jones will be unavailable for WJC

Defenseman Seth Jones, who was battling for a roster spot on the U.S. National Junior Team this week, sustained an upper-body injury in Tuesday's exhibition game against Team Russia and will be unable to participate in the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Jones apparently suffered his injury after taking a big hit along the boards while attempting to drive the net.

USA Hockey released a statement regarding Jones on Wednesday afternoon. U.S. coach Dean Blais is scheduled to name his official 22-man roster headed to Edmonton to compete in Group B of the tournament on Thursday morning.
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Posted On Wednesday, 12.21.2011 / 10:09 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012 World Junior Championship blog

Russia earns 6-3 exhibition win over Team USA

Nail Yakupov, who is projected by many to be the No. 1 overall pick at the 2012 Draft, had a goal and one assist and Andrei Vasilevski made 34 saves as the Russian National Junior Team scored a 6-3 exhibition victory over Team USA on Tuesday in Red Deer, Alta., in preparation for the 2012 World Junior Championship later this month.

          Nail Yakupov, Team Russia
Russia, the defending WJC gold medalist, also received a pair of goals by Nikita Kucherov (Tampa Bay Lightning) and one apiece from Ignat Zemchenko and Viktor Antipin. Ivan Telegin (Winnipeg Jets) dished out three assists in the victory. Vasilevski, who plays for Tolpar Ufa in the MHL and is eligible for the 2012 Draft, made 17 of 18 saves in the second period when the U.S. held the territorial advantage. Yakupov, who plays for the Sarnia Sting, is NHL Central Scouting's top-rated player from the Ontario Hockey League.

Coach Valeri Bragin kept the top 2012 draft-eligible player from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Mikhail Grigorenko (Quebec Remparts), and Yevgeni Kuznetsov (Washington Capitals) out of the lineup as healthy scratches for the Russians, who went 2 for 4 on the power play. Team USA finished 0 for 6 with the man advantage.
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Posted On Tuesday, 12.20.2011 / 1:34 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012 World Junior Championship blog

Canada defeats Finland, 3-1, in WJC exhibition

So what did we learn from Canada's 3-1 exhibition victory over Finland on Monday?

For starters, no Canadian player wore the 'C', although forwards Devante Smith-Pelly and Jaden Schwartz and defenseman Brandon Gormley all wore the 'A'.

  Team Canada goalie Mark Visentin
Team Canada received goals from Boone Jenner (Columbus Blue Jackets) of the Oshawa Generals, Mark Stone (Ottawa Senators) of the Brandon Wheat Kings and Brendan Gallagher (Montreal Canadiens) of the Vancouver Giants while goalie Mark Visentin (Phoenix Coyotes) of the Niagara IceDogs earned the victory behind 22 saves. The Canadians will next play Switzerland in a pre-tournament matchup on Thursday.

Teemu Pulkkinen (Detroit Red Wings) of Jokerit scored the lone goal for Finland.

Canada coach Don Hay had just 11 forwards to work with since wings Jonathan Huberdeau (foot) and Quinton Howden (concussion symptoms) were sidelined by injuries. As a result, Jenner and Michael Bournival (Colorado Avalanche) of the Shawinigan Cataractes played both center and on the wing during the game.
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Posted On Tuesday, 12.20.2011 / 12:33 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012 World Junior Championship blog

Jack Campbell talks U.S. camp and coach Blais

U.S. National Junior Team goalie Jack Campbell preferred to look on the brighter side when asked if it was disappointing to learn that defenseman Justin Faulk would not be a part of the team at the 2012 World Junior Championship.

Faulk, who had a key role along the blueline in Team USA's bronze medal-winning effort in Buffalo, N.Y., last year, will not be released by Carolina Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford to play in this year's tournament. According to Rutherford, Faulk has been too important a player to the Hurricanes.

"Hey, look at it this way, for once we're like Team Canada where a player eligible for the tournament is remaining in the NHL," Campbell told NHL.com. "Seriously, though, it's more of a credit to Justin and how much work he's put in. To be a top four defenseman on that team … that's pretty special for a 19-year-old.

"I've known Faulker for probably three or four years now, and nobody earned it more than he did. So it's not necessarily that anyone's down or anything, but it's just the way it goes. He's a big part of their team."
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Posted On Tuesday, 12.20.2011 / 11:50 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2012 World Junior Championship blog

NHL Network and NHL.com will have WJC covered

The NHL Network U.S. will provide live broadcasts and NHL.com will offer live streams of U.S. National Junior Team games at the 2012 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship in Edmonton and Calgary, Alta., this year.

Matt Rosen, Dave Starman and Rob Simpson will make up the broadcast team for the NHL Network's coverage of Team USA's games during the tournament, which runs Dec. 26-Jan. 5. Team USA will play four preliminary round games in Group B at Rexall Place in Edmonton prior to the start of the medal round on Jan. 2 at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary.

Rosen, who will handle play-by-play duties, has spent three years calling college hockey and football for the Big Ten Network. He also served as the host for all Phoenix Coyotes radio broadcasts as well as the team's post-game call-in show, "Coyotes Wrap-Up." In 2005-06, Rosen did play-by-play for the Roanoke Valley Vipers of the United Hockey League. Prior to that, he could be heard as the voice of the Tri-City Storm of the United States Hockey League. Matt's father, Sam Rosen, has been the television voice of the New York Rangers since 1982.
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Posted On Monday, 12.19.2011 / 2:36 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012 World Junior Championship blog

A holiday tradition: WJC ready to rock!

Don't look now, but the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship is quickly approaching.

This year's tournament will take place Dec. 26 - Jan. 5 in Edmonton and Calgary, Alta. A full tournament schedule can be found here.

Hockey Canada will host pre-competition games this month prior to the start of the actual tournament on Boxing Day. Canada is scheduled to play Finland in Calgary on Dec. 19, Switzerland in Red Deer on Dec. 22 and Sweden in Edmonton on Dec. 23.

In case you missed it, NHL.com Correspondent Aaron Vickers provided the lowdown on the 22-man Canadian roster that will participate in this year's tournament. Read it here. One of the surprise cuts was top 2012 draft prospect Mathew Dumba of the Red Deer Rebels.
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