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Posted On Thursday, 08.09.2012 / 3:32 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

USA-Sweden lineups

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Here are the lineups the U.S. and Sweden will use for Thursday's game here at Herb Brooks Arena.

Some new faces for the U.S., but the top line of Sean Kuraly with Mario Lucia and Stefan Noesen remains intact.

Alex Galchenyuk and J.T. Miller will have a new linemate -- Reid Boucher, Galchenyuk's teammate with the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League. Boucher played at times on a line in Sarnia with Galchenyuk and Nail Yakupov, so that familiarity should bode well for Galchenyuk, who still is looking to rediscover his game after sitting out for most of last season recovering from a knee injury.

Sitting out for the U.S. are forwards Stefan Matteau, Ryan Hartman, Thomas Di Pauli, Cole Bardreau, Steven Fogarty and Jimmy Vesey; defensemen Jake McCabe, Andy Welinski and Connor Murphy; and goaltenders Anthony Stolarz and Jon Gillies.

The big change to the Sweden lineup comes in goal, where Niklas Lundstrom will start in place of Oscar Dansk, who sustained a minor knee injury in Tuesday's game against Finland.

With the U.S. opting for eight defensemen today, top 2013 NHL Draft prospect Alexander Wennberg, a center, is listed on the roster as a blueliner, so it should be interesting to see how that works out. Earlier this week I asked Wennberg if he had always played center. He said he did try playing defense as a youngster, but it didn't work for him.

"I've always been a center," he told NHL.com. "I didn't like to play [defense]. I like to play offense."

U.S.

Mario Lucia - Sean Kuraly - Stefan Noesen

John Gaudreau - Vincent Trocheck - Nicolas Kerdiles

Reid Boucher - Alex Galchenyuk - J.T. Miller

Blake Pietila - Travis Boyd - Colin Blackwell

Tyler Biggs

Mike Reilly - Seth Jones

Matthew Grzelcyk - Jacob Trouba

Garrett Haar - Shayne Gostisbehere

Patrick Sieloff - Brady Skjei

John Gibson

Garret Sparks

SWEDEN

Pontus Aberg - William Karlsson - Filip Forsberg

Jeremy Boyce Rotevall - Joachim Nermark - Mika Zibanejad

Emil Lundberg - Victor Rask - Viktor Arvidsson

Linus Froberg - Oskar Sundqvist - Max Gortz

Jakob Lilja

Hampus Lindholm - Oscar Klefbom

Rasmus Bengtsson - Jonatan Nielsen

Mikael Wikstrand - Alexander Wennberg

Linus Arnesson

Niklas Lundstrom

Oscar Dansk

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Thursday, 08.09.2012 / 2:28 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Summer with Stanley blog

Cup win part of special journey for Lombardis

Kings' general manager Dean Lombardi poses for a photo on his day with the Stanley Cup in Ludlow, Mass. (Photo: Tal Pinchevsky/NHL.com)

There have been plenty of locals in Ludlow, Mass., conspicuously wearing Boston Bruins jerseys for Dean Lombardi's day with the Stanley Cup. But with streams of Bruins fans filing into town hall more than two hours after the Cup's arrival, one longtime fan of the Los Angeles Kings general manager made sure to wear her Kings T-shirt.

"I had no idea how much he's loved here," said Wandamae Lombardi, Dean's wife of almost 20 years. "It's amazing. He's had a great year."

Mrs. Lombardi is no stranger to hockey. Her father is Hall of Fame player/coach/GM Bob Pulford, and she met her husband when she was working the San Jose Sharks marketing department. Since that chance meeting, it's been a remarkable journey for the Lombardis, culminating in the Kings' Cup win, which occurred just months before the couple's 20th wedding anniversary, to be celebrated Sept. 5.

"I knew this team had it in them," Wandamae told NHL.com. "They really believed in themselves after they beat Vancouver."

And in a life surrounded by hockey, Mrs. Lombardi can't help but get excited about her husband's Stanley Cup summer.

"It's all come full circle. My father was a player and coach in L.A. Dean hired (former Sharks coach and current Kings coach) Darryl (Sutter)," Wandamae said. "It's very poignant."

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Posted On Thursday, 08.09.2012 / 12:48 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Summer with Stanley blog

Childhood friends celebrate Cup win with Lombardi

When it came time to receive the Stanley Cup in Ludlow, Mass., Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi knew who he wanted to be with.

Throughout the day, from a visit to local children's hospitals to a public event at the town hall to a private party scheduled for later in the day, Lombardi was flanked by longtime friends and former teammates, some of whom have known him since he was 6 years old.

While Lombardi has enjoyed a nomadic hockey career, a number of his old friends have stayed in the area and were thrilled to welcome their old friend back -- this time with a special guest.

While Lombardi and his friends reminisced at the Polish American Citizens Club, local minor hockey teams posed with the Cup in the background. All in all, it's so far been a memorable day in Ludlow.

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Posted On Thursday, 08.09.2012 / 12:04 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

Some new looks for U.S. lineup

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- The U.S. morning skate Thursday included players who didn't skate in Wednesday's game plus the group wasn't playing Thursday, so there was no way to discern forward lines or defense pairings.

The U.S. will dress 13 forwards, eight defenseman and two goalies against Sweden.

Four defensemen who played Wednesday against Finland will remain in the lineup, with Shayne Gostisbehere, Matthew Grzelcyk, Garrett Haar and Brady Skjei being joined by Seth Jones, Jacob Trouba, Patrick Sieloff and Mike Reilly.

Up front, the team's top line of Sean Kuraly centering Mario Lucia and Stefan Noesen will play again Thursday and is expected to stay together. Other forwards who will stay in the lineup are Alex Galchenyuk John Gaudreau, J.T. Miller and Nicolas Kerdiles. They'll be joined by Colin Blackwell, Reid Boucher, Travis Boyd, Blake Pietila, Vincent Trocheck and Jimmy Vesey.

Sitting out will be forwards Thomas Di Pauli, Cole Bardreau, Ryan Hartman, Stefan Matteau, Steven Fogarty and Tyler Biggs; defensemen Jake McCabe, Connor Murphy and Andy Welinski; and goalies Jon Gillies and Anthony Stolarz.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Thursday, 08.09.2012 / 11:58 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

U.S. ready for tougher foe in Sweden

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- The U.S. team will see a higher level of competition Thursday when they face Sweden here at Herb Brooks Arena.

The 2012 World Junior Championship gold medalists have six players in Lake Placid from last year's team, and are coming into Thursday's game after a full day away from the rink.

"Sweden has had some really quality practice time," U.S. coach Phil Housley told NHL.com. "You can see it in their breakouts, their transition game. Certainly this is a really good test for us. Just watching them the last couple days, they seem to be in sync. All their passing, they move the puck extremely well. So you can see they've spent time together."

There will be a few changes to the lineup, especially on defense, as Seth Jones, Jacob Trouba and Patrick Sieloff will be on the ice. That trio all stands at least 6-feet tall and around 200 pounds. That's Housley's plan for countering Sweden's size and skill up front.

"They transition so well," Housley said. "It goes back to making the right decisions in the neutral zone. They also shoot the puck a lot. They attack the net well. Our [defensemen] are going to have to pick up guys behind them. We're going to have to contain them, keep them to the outside. They have some big forwards that can control the puck. We're going to have to shore up our [defensive] zone and try to eliminate their chances."

One of the things that won't change for the U.S. is the starting goalie. John Gibson, who allowed one goal on 13 shots in 35 minutes of play Wednesday against Finland, will start Thursday against Sweden. Garret Sparks, who stopped nine of 10 shots in relief of Gibson on Wednesday, will dress as the backup.

"We want to give him work," Housley said of Gibson, one of three players in camp who was on the U.S. World Junior team last year. "He's been there before; it's a big game, so to speak. Sweden is a very good team. We want to give him some work. Gibson and Sparks have played extremely well. Yesterday was a great test for them at key times of the game and they came through it for us. We want to see more of Gibby [Gibson] playing against really stiff competition."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Thursday, 08.09.2012 / 11:44 AM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Summer with Stanley blog

Lombardi brings Cup home to Ludlow

Ludlow, Massachusetts welcomes home Kings GM and resident Dean Lombardi on his day with the Stanley Cup. (Photo: Tal Pinchevsky/NHL.com)

Ludlow, Mass., is a short drive from the Basketball Hall of Fame in nearby Springfield. But the discussion today is all hockey, as Los Angeles Kings general manager and Ludlow resident Dean Lombardi enjoys his day with the Stanley Cup.

The Cup last came to this area in 1995, when it was hosted by nearby Wilbraham. On Thursday, residents lined up at least two hours in advance at the Polish American Citizens Club, where Lombardi is expected to bring the Cup by at noon. A local fundraiser is being held with a charity auction, in which locals will have the chance to win autographed Kings jerseys.

Prior to his arrival at the hall, Lombardi took the Cup to nearby hospitals before spending time with his first hockey coach, Tony Costa, who is known locally as the godfather of Ludlow hockey.

Lombardi is scheduled to spend five hours with the Cup at the Citizens Club, so stay tuned for more information at NHL.com.

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Posted On Thursday, 08.09.2012 / 10:42 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

Back to work, as Sweden prepares for U.S.

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- The Sweden players and staff spent Wednesday enjoying the picturesque scenery here in Lake Placid.

But Thursday morning it was time to get back to work, as the team had a game against the U.S. Thursday afternoon to get ready for.

Sweden coach Roger Ronnberg said the biggest thing he's looking for is a better start to the game. His team routed Finland 8-2 on Tuesday, but Ronnberg said he wasn't happy with his team's effort in the opening 20 minutes.

"I think we were playing sloppy," Ronnberg told NHL.com. "We weren't focused, we weren't ready to work hard enough. We allowed the Finns to outplay us, and that's not the way we would have liked it."

Of the 22 players Sweden brought here, Ronnberg said 10-15 will make the team that goes to Russia for the 2013 World Junior Championship. Among the group here is Mika Zibanejad, who scored the overtime goal that won the gold medal.

Ronnberg, though, isn't sure he'll have Zibanejad for a repeat attempt at the gold. Taken with the sixth pick of the 2011 draft by the Ottawa Senators, Zibanejad started last season in the NHL before being returned to Djurgardens in the Swedish Elite League after nine games with the Senators.

"We are not counting on Mika for the World Juniors," Ronnberg said, "but if he's available I'm more than pleased [to have him]."

Ronnberg also said St. Louis Blues prospect Niklas Lundstrom will start in goal while Oscar Dansk rests a minor knee injury. Dansk was hurt in Tuesday's 8-2 win against Finland.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Thursday, 08.09.2012 / 10:00 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

Sweden goalie Dansk banged up

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- When Sweden faces the U.S. on Thursday at Herb Brooks Arena, St. Louis Blues prospect Niklas Lundstrom will be in goal.

Oscar Dansk, taken by the Columbus Blue Jackets with the first pick of the second round at the 2012 NHL Draft, sustained a minor knee injury during Tuesday's 8-2 win against Finland.

"Oscar is suffering from a small injury in his knee so we're going to rest him [Thursday]," Sweden coach Roger Ronnberg told NHL.com.

Lundstrom, a fifth-round pick of the Blues in 2011, stopped 25 of 26 shots in a 5-1 win against a Team USA split squad Monday.

Ronnberg said he's been happy with what he's seen from both his goaltenders in Lake Placid.

"I like them both," he said. "I think they are well-educated. We have a really good number of good goalie coaches in Sweden and that reflects on the goalies. Those guys are well-educated, they're good in the basics, they have a good game plan in how they should play in all situations. They give us the chance to win every night."

Ronnberg said there are two other goalies he'll evaluate at the next camp, in the Czech Republic in September, and it could be one of the more difficult decisions he has to make in building a team that can compete for a second-straight gold medal at the 2013 World Junior Championship.

"I have more guys at home," Ronnberg said. "We'll see. It's a hard situation to pick the best two."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Wednesday, 08.08.2012 / 8:43 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

USA goalies impress against Finland

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- John Gibson stopped 12 of 13 shots in just over 35 minutes of action Wednesday in Team USA's 5-2 win against Finland. While it's assumed the starting job for the United States at the 2013 World Junior Championship is Gibson's to lose, the Anaheim Ducks prospect isn't ready to put himself in any spot in the lineup just yet.

"Obviously I've had conversations with the coaching staff, but regardless of what's said I want to play my best and not really think about No. 1 or whatever," Gibson told NHL.com. "I just want to go out and play and earn my spot."

His best save came midway through the first period, when Finland's Robert Leino got loose on a shorthanded breakaway, but Gibson got his pads on Leino's shot.

Gibson was replaced by Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Garret Sparks with 4:49 left in the second period and he stopped nine of the 10 shots he faced. The only puck to get past Sparks was with two minutes left in the second when Miro Aaltonen beat him between his pads on a mini-break.

He recovered to make a nice save on Buffalo Sabres top prospect Joel Armia early in the third when the U.S. team led 3-2, then in the final minute he did the splits to stop a drive by Finland captain and Pittsburgh Penguins first-round pick Olli Maatta on a five-on-three Finland advantage.

U.S. coach Phil Housley said he was happy with how both his netminders played.

"For the most part the goals that they got we sort of gave it to them," he said. "As far as our goaltenders, they're making stops at the right time. Both of them made key stops when they were in the net at times in the game where we needed a big save."

With the U.S. team playing again Wednesday, it's expected Jon Gillies and/or Anthony Stolarz will get the chance in goal. With two games left to evaluate the 34 players at camp, Housley has said he wants to get every player an opportunity in a game.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Wednesday, 08.08.2012 / 8:31 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

Finland ready for some rest

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- After three games in three days, Finland coach Harri Lindell is looking forward to getting his team some rest.

"We need that, absolutely," he told NHL.com after his team's 5-2 loss to the United States on Wednesday. "We need it. Let's see if we can find something special for the team to get their thoughts away from hockey and just relax."

Finland lost 5-4 to a U.S. split squad Monday, then was routed 8-2 by Sweden on Tuesday.

Lindell said despite the loss Wednesday he was happy with how his team played.

"This game was a very tough game because it was the third game in three days," he said. "It was a great team we were playing against. … We were trying to be mentally prepared

for this game, [and] I think we got a response there."

One place the Finns didn't respond was on special teams. They went 0-for-4 with the man advantage, including a power play 20 seconds into the game and another that was called with 0.6 seconds left in the first period.

That performance came after they went 0-for-7 against the USA Blue team Monday and didn't have a power play against Sweden.

Compounding the problem Wednesday was a stretch of four minutes midway through the first that saw the Finns down a man for all but six seconds.

Lindell said he hopes the time off cures those issues as well as allows him to get forward Miikka Salomaki back in the lineup.

The Nashville Predators' 2011 second-round pick was expected to play a top-two-line role for the Finns, but was a late scratch from Tuesday's game and didn't play Wednesday due to what Lindell said was an upper-body injury. Lindell said it's not a serious injury, but he found no need to risk making it worse at this time of year. He said there's a chance Salomaki could play Friday against Sweden or Saturday against the United States.

"If it was a playoff game or a championship game, he could play," Lindell said. "We don't want to risk him because he's important player. There will be a good chance he can play one or two more games."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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