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Posted On Sunday, 08.09.2015 / 7:38 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2015 Summer with Stanley blog

Blackhawks owner shares Cup with firemen

Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz had his day with the Stanley Cup on Sunday.

He shared the trophy with police and firemen in Winnetka, Ill., a village about 20 miles north of Chicago.

Posted On Saturday, 08.08.2015 / 6:15 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2016 World Junior evaluation camp blog

Matthews, U.S. end camp with win against Finland

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Center Auston Matthews had a goal and two assists to help the United States close out its National Junior Evaluation Camp with a 6-1 exhibition victory against Finland at Lake Placid Olympic Center's 1980 Herb Brooks Arena on Saturday.

Matthews, who is widely considered the frontrunner to be the top pick of the 2016 NHL Draft, gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead 53 seconds into the game when he beat Finnish prospect Jesse Puljujarvi in the neutral zone before curling two defenders at the right hash and scoring off his backhand.

"That was fantastic and beautiful," U.S. coach Ron Wilson said. "He beat a couple of guys and held on and flipped it high over goalie's glove. It was a perfect start to the game.

"I thought [goaltender] Brandon Halverson kept is simple too. I'm not a big believer in over-handling the puck, and he had a few issues with that, but not too many and generally he did a good job."

Posted On Friday, 08.07.2015 / 8:48 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2016 World Junior evaluation camp blog

Sweden blanks Finland to end U.S. camp on high note

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Rikard Gronborg, head coach of the Sweden National Junior Team, certainly liked what he saw from his players this week during United States National Junior Evaluation Camp at Lake Placid Olympic Center's 1980 Herb Brooks Arena.

Sweden won three of four exhibition games, including the last two against the United States on Thursday and Finland on Friday. Goaltender Erik Kallgren, a seventh-round pick (No. 183) of the Arizona Coyotes at the 2015 NHL Draft, made 26 saves to earn a 2-0 victory against Finland. It marked the first complete-game shutout by any goalie at the camp.

"It was a nice effort from the team and it felt great for me," Kallgren (5-foot-11, 160 pounds) said. "I think we played really good as a team. The guys blocked shots and helped me back there."

Posted On Thursday, 08.06.2015 / 10:41 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2016 World Junior evaluation camp blog

Merkley scores two, helps Canada defeat Czechs

CALGARY -- Nicholas Merkley saved his best for last.

The Arizona Coyotes prospect had two goals to help Canada to a 6-2 win against the Czech Republic on Thursday in the final exhibition game of Canada's National Junior Evaluation Camp at WinSport's Markin MacPhail Centre at Canada Olympic Park.

For Merkley, the final pick of the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft, the performance couldn't have come at a better time.

"I think I set myself up pretty good (to make the team for the 2016 IIHF World Championship)," Merkley said. "But there's still a lot of work to be done that I've got to carry into the season. I think you just try to play your game. You look at the lineups and whatnot, and I think if you get too focused on that, it's not going to go too well. You've just got to play your game, and hopefully it works out."

Posted On Thursday, 08.06.2015 / 8:20 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2016 World Junior evaluation camp blog

Flyers prospect Sandstrom helps Sweden top U.S.

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Goaltender Felix Sandstrom, a third-round pick (No. 70) of the Philadelphia Flyers at the 2015 NHL Draft, rebounded nicely Thursday from a disastrous start three days earlier at United States National Junior Evaluation Camp.

Sandstrom made 25 saves on 27 shots to lead Sweden to a 5-2 exhibition victory against the U.S. at Lake Placid Olympic Center's 1980 Herb Brooks Arena.

The victory comes after Sandstrom (6-foot-2, 192 pounds) allowed 10 goals in a 10-4 loss against the U.S. white squad Monday. It was a win Sandstrom desperately needed, particularly with goalie Erik Kallgren likely to start against Finland on Friday in Sweden's final game of the camp.

Posted On Thursday, 08.06.2015 / 9:00 AM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2016 World Junior evaluation camp blog

Montembeault impresses in Canada's shootout loss

CALGARY -- It wasn't the outcome Samuel Montembeault wanted, but it's an experience he's not going to soon forget.

Montembeault made 18 saves but was saddled with the defeat in Canada's 3-2 shootout loss against Russia on Wednesday during Canada's National Junior Evaluation Camp at WinSport's Markin MacPhail Centre at Canada Olympic Park.

It was his first time ever pulling on Canada's jersey.

"I really liked the experience," said Montembeault, who stopped two of three Russian players in the shootout. "It was my first international game. We didn't get the win at the end. We would've liked to, but we'll get them back."

Posted On Wednesday, 08.05.2015 / 9:04 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2016 World Junior evaluation camp blog

Werenski scores OT winner for U.S. against Finland

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Defenseman Zachary Werenski, the No. 8 pick of the 2015 NHL Draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets, was only following orders, but it paid off in a big way at United States National Junior Evaluation Camp on Wednesday.

Werenski scored the game-winning goal with 37 seconds remaining in overtime to give the United States a 5-4 victory against Finland in an exhibition game at Lake Placid Olympic Center's 1980 Herb Brooks Arena.

"Our coach talked about being a late guy into the play while 4-on-4, and that's what I did," Werenski said. "I had an opportunity to join and I did, and Brock [Boeser] made a great play off the wall, slid it into me, and I knew I had to get a shot off in overtime because there wasn't much time left. I hit the net, and fortunately it went in.

"That's the main focus at this camp, winning. It's exciting because even though it's not the real tournament, we're wearing the USA sweater and you can make a statement."

Posted On Wednesday, 08.05.2015 / 8:40 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2016 World Junior evaluation camp blog

Top prospect Matthews to decide on '15-16 team soon

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Center Auston Matthews, who many project will be the top pick of the 2016 NHL Draft, said Wednesday he likely will make his decision on where he will play this season after United States National Junior Evaluation Camp.

The camp, which will help determine the U.S. roster for the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship, runs through Saturday at Lake Placid Olympic Center's 1980 Herb Brooks Arena.

Matthews (6-foot-2, 194 pounds), who represented his country at the 2015 WJC in Montreal and Toronto, spoke Wednesday after the U.S. won an exhibition game against Finland 5-4 in overtime.

"There's no (updated) news and I'm really just focused on this camp and wanting to continue to make an impression on the USA coaching staff," Matthews said. "A decision should be made shortly after this camp."

Posted On Wednesday, 08.05.2015 / 3:00 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2016 World Junior evaluation camp blog

U.S. golden in previous World Juniors trip to Finland

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- The United States won gold at the 2004 IIHF World Junior Championship, the last time Finland hosted the tournament.

The core of that team was Patrick O'Sullivan, Zach Parise, Patrick Eaves, Matt Carle, Ryan Kesler and captain Mark Stuart. The U.S. had won gold two years earlier at the World Under-18 Championship in Slovakia, and it was favored to have similar success against the top junior-aged players in the world.

In the championship game against Canada, a team comprised of Ryan Getzlaf, Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Sidney Crosby, Marc-Andre Fleury and Dion Phaneuf, the United States won 4-3 to capture its first gold medal at the tournament.

Posted On Wednesday, 08.05.2015 / 1:50 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Over the Boards blog

Rosen's mailbag - Aug. 5, 2015

Here is the Aug. 5 edition of Rosen's weekly mailbag, which will run periodically throughout the summer. If you have a question, tweet it to @drosennhl and use #OvertheBoards.

Let's get to it:

What place do the New York Islanders finish in the Metropolitan Division? Do we win a playoff round? -- @Fio242

The Islanders look like a playoff team on paper. I'd put them in that 3-4-5 range in the Metropolitan Division, behind the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers and in the mix with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Columbus Blue Jackets. I couldn't tell you if they're going to win a round in the Stanley Cup Playoffs because I don't know who they'll be playing, how healthy they'll be, etc. They should have the ability to win a round or two.

They didn't do much in the offseason except bring in Thomas Greiss as the backup to Jaroslav Halak. They are likely going to rely on Ryan Pulock to be a regular defenseman for them. He has a lot of potential, a great deal of upside. The top of the defense looks good with Nick Leddy, Johnny Boychuk, Travis Hamonic and Calvin de Haan. My big question is if this defense is deep enough that it can withstand an injury or two? I'm not sure that it can.

The offense is strong so they should be able to score goals, as they did last season. I'm very curious to see if Ryan Strome can build on his 50-point season and if Anders Lee, who has a new four year contract, can build on his 25-goal season.

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That's today's game. That's one of the things you have to deal with when you're a championship team. Guys are going to earn more money based on their performance and what they've achieved, [and] deservedly so. [Saad] falls into that category.

— Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville on Brandon Saad, who was traded by Chicago to the Columbus Blue Jackets this offseason