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Posted On Tuesday, 12.18.2012 / 1:33 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Anna Galchenyuk anticipates watching brother at WJC

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- How special would it be to don the red, white and blue as a member of the U.S. National Junior Team in Ufa, Russia, at the 2013 World Junior Championship for Alex Galchenyuk?

Just ask his older sister, Anna. The 25-year-old was all smiles Tuesday on the final day of U.S. selection camp at the New York Rangers' training facility as she watched her ultra-talented brother take line rushes on the power play.

"I'm very proud of him," Anna Galchenyuk told NHL.com. "A lot of people say he was lucky, but there's no luck. There's so much hard work that he put into this, his entire life. We're very proud watching him and the accomplishments that are coming right now. It makes me so much happier."

Anna, who works at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., joined her brother Monday for dinner and was at Tuesday's practice.

"We're really excited for him right now … our whole family is," she said. "He's looking so much to representing the United States. He was born here and even when we were flying back and forth to Moscow [Russia], he's always enjoyed returning back to the States."

After Tuesday's practice, Alex posed for some pictures with his sister and conversed with her in Russian for 10 minutes before departing the rink for the airport.

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.18.2012 / 11:20 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Jones looks to be first African-American to go No. 1

It's no wonder Seth Jones doesn't just throw his arms in the air and confess to the hounding media that the decision to ultimately choose hockey over basketball is the one question he's answered a million times in recent months.

Truth is, though, the 18-year-old defenseman realizes it isn't often that a potential first-overall NHL draft pick also happens to be the son of a former NBA superstar and current assistant coach of the Brooklyn Nets.

"I've been bombarded with questions about that, which is normal I guess," Jones said on the final day of U.S. National Junior Team selection camp on Tuesday. "But my dad [Popeye Jones] didn't encourage me to play hockey; we knew nothing about hockey. He asked Joe Sakic what we needed to do to get involved and I was hooked."

It was actually during Popeye's tenure with Denver Nuggets in 1999-2000 when he approached Sakic about Seth and his desire to give hockey a shot. The rest is history.


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Posted On Tuesday, 12.18.2012 / 12:06 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Memorable night for Spokane's Holmberg

Mitchell Holmberg scored in just one of the two games he played over the weekend, but it was quite a performance.

The Spokane Chiefs right wing had a hat trick and a pair of assists -- including one on the game-tying goal -- and also scored in the shootout in his team's 7-6 shootout win against the Seattle Thunderbirds on Friday. The five points were a career-high.

Holmberg now leads the Chiefs with 41 points, and his 22 goals are second.

There were other 2013 NHL Draft prospects in the Western Hockey League who had big performances last weekend:

* Holmberg's teammates, Marek Kalus and Reid Gow, each had three assists in Spokane's win against Seattle on Friday.

* Brandon center Tim McGauley had two goals in the Wheat Kings' 4-2 win against the Moose Jaw Warriors on Friday.

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Posted On Monday, 12.17.2012 / 11:42 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Quenneville, Renouf, Jensen honored by USHL

Dubuque's Peter Quenneville, Youngstown's Daniel Renouf and Fargo's Brendan Jensen, all 2013 NHL Draft prospects, were honored by the United States Hockey League for their play last week.

Quenneville was named CCM Forward of the Week after finishing with four goals and four assists in two games. He had a pair of power-play goals and an assist in a 5-2 defeat of Team USA on Friday. One night later he had two goals and three assists in a 7-1 defeat of the Chicago Steel.

Renouf was honored as CCM Defenseman of the Week after he had two goals and two assists in two games over the weekend. He had a pair of goals, one shorthanded, in the Phantoms' 5-0 win at Des Moines on Friday. On Saturday he had a pair of assists in a 4-3 loss to Des Moines.

Jensen earned a share of the Reebok Goaltender of the Week award after picking up a pair of wins and stopping 54 of 56 shots in two games. He stopped all 26 shots he faced Friday in a 9-0 win against Team USA for his first USHL shutout. A night later, he stopped 28 of 30 shots to lead Fargo to a 5-2 win against the Muskegon Lumberjacks.

Here is how a few other 2013 NHL Draft prospects in the USHL performed over the weekend:

* Fargo teammates Gabe Guertler and David Gust had big weekends. Each had two goals and an assist in the Force's 9-0 win at Team USA on Friday. On Saturday, Gust had two goals and Guertler had a pair of assists in Fargo's 5-2 win at Muskegon.

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Posted On Monday, 12.17.2012 / 11:05 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Campagna plays big role in Sudbury success

The Sudbury Wolves won two of its games over the weekend, and center Mathew Campagna was a big reason why.

Campagna, an 18-year-old center, assisted on the winning goal in both Wolves wins over the weekend. On Friday he had a goal in the first period and early in the second he assisted on Nicholas Baptiste's power-play goal that put Sudbury ahead for good 3-2 en route to a 7-3 defeat of the Plymouth Whalers.

Campagna had an assist Saturday, but Sudbury lost 3-2 in overtime at the Niagara IceDogs. But on Sunday he had a pair of assists, including helping set up Nathan Pancel's game-winning goal with 2:14 left in the second period as Sudbury won 3-1 at the Mississauga Steelheads.

Campagna, who went unpicked in last year's draft, has 34 points in 35 games this season, three more points than he scored in 45 games last season.

Here is how a few other 2013 NHL Draft eligible players in the Ontario Hockey League performed over the weekend:

* Erie left wing Stephen Harper had a pair of goals and teammate Connor Crisp had a goal and two assists in the Otters' 6-2 win at the Kitchener Rangers on Friday. Harper is No. 8 on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary ranking of OHL skaters for this year's draft.

* Sudbury left wing Dominik Kubalik had a goal and two assists and teammate Jacob Harris scored two goals in the Wolves 7-3 win against Plymouth on Friday.

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Posted On Monday, 12.17.2012 / 7:36 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Final U.S. cuts won't be easy for Housley

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- With just 26 players left in camp and a need to get the roster down to 23 prior to the start of the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship, coach Phil Housley said the job of deciding who stays and who goes home isn't getting any easier.

Stefan Noesen was released from the team after being ruled ineligible for the tournament because of his 10-game OHL suspension, so only three more players need to be cut. However, the players are doing a nice job making those final decisions extremely difficult.

"I'm disappointed to see Noesen go with his situation," Housley said. "Certainly he would have been a part of our team. I think he's a big-time player. Even with that situation, it's going to be very hard -- especially on the back end."

Housley said the biggest part of discussions he will have with the rest of the USA Hockey staff is figuring how each player fits a necessary role.

"I think it's what role that we're going to find the players to fulfill," he said. "It's tough to be on the ice as a coach. You can watch but you can't really get a good sense of evaluating until you talk to the whole staff and see what their point of view is and where they're coming from. Those decisions are going to be tough. It's the role and where they fit into that role."

The two practice sessions were more up-tempo than the practice Sunday, as most of the players arrived in New York only hours before camp opened. The afternoon session saw things get even more physical with a 3-on-3 game played across the width of the ice. Bodies were banging around often.

"Today with both sessions we had was just great," Housley said. "The jump they had, the things that we're focusing on right now, they're understanding it more as we review our concepts. I think overall the competitive level that we saw in the small games at the end provided some very high compete, and it's fun at the same time."

The players also enjoyed the physical play at the end.

"Everyone has to get a feel for each other," Seth Jones said. "Today we played a little 3-on-3 game at the end. It was really competitive, really physical. People are battling for spots and no one's going to take anyone lightly."

Another player who was dialed into the practice was J.T. Miller, who has emerged as a team leader and could be the front-runner to be named team captain.

"Since we've been here he's put his foot down and really extended himself in that leadership role, which is good to see," Housley said. "It's the little things away from the rink that you don't see, which is great for me, to get the guys together. They're all on one page and that's great. You're going to need leaders, to get guys to say the right things in the locker room when the coach isn't there. … It's a sign of his maturity as a player. He's a guy that's playing in the American league at a very young age. There's not a lot of guys that can say that. He's a strong young man. It's great to see him lead by example. He competes out there. That's what we're going to need form our leaders, leading by example."

Heading into the final session of camp Tuesday, Housley said he's extremely happy with what he's seen so far.

"It's been great," he said. "The enthusiasm on the ice, the competitive battles -- it's everything we're looking for. Seems like these guys are coming together in a short period of time. I thought in Lake Placid they made strides toward creating that bond. Now it's really a joy to see these guys on the ice come together."

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

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Posted On Monday, 12.17.2012 / 7:09 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Richter impressed by talent level at U.S. camp

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- One interested observer for the afternoon session here at MSG Training Center was former New York Rangers goaltender Mike Richter.

"I'm used to coaching 12-year-olds," Richter told NHL.com. "It's pretty sweet to see the skill level and the size [of the players]."

Richter said he was impressed by all the players assembled for this week's 2013 World Junior Championship selection camp, but of course he was biased toward the goalies.

"The size is impressive with all these guys, it seems," Richter said. "There's a hell of a lot more to the story than that; there's plenty of big players in the League. These guys know their games so well. The position of goaltending has changed so much over the years. These guys are starting to get in good shape physically. They know the position very, very well. They're truly small professionals. They work on their weaknesses. Lots of them have goalie coaches. They don't go out there and hope the puck hits them. They have strategy and work to perfect it. You're looking at some pretty well-honed players when you look between the pipes. These guys they have out on the ice now are very, very impressive."

Richter also reminisced about his time playing in the WJC. He had an 8.37 goals-against average in three games in 1985 when he was a high school senior. A year later, as a freshman at Yale, he helped the U.S. win its first medal at the tournament, a bronze, as he posted a 2.60 GAA in four games.

"It was just a phenomenal experience," he said. "I was a backup my first year. I was in high school and just getting up to that level was amazing. Just in practice it was an eye-opener how good the players could be at that level. The same thing [the following year], even thought I was in college, you're getting the best of the best at that age group. Adjusting to the level of shots, how fast they came, how the decision-making of the forwards, how quickly you had to be set as a goaltender. It takes a couple days to adjust. And then once you do, you say I feel pretty good about this, you see patterns in the guys you're playing with in practice. Then you go out there and your first game is against Russia or the Czechs and you're like wow, another level up. The intensity is spectacular. These are great opportunities to grow and measure yourself against the world's best at a young age."

Watching the players in practice today gave Richter a positive feeling not just for the hopes of this WJC entry from the United States, but the future of the game.

"These guys are still developing and there's a lot of upside to what you see and they're great right now," he said. "Most of these guys on the team have been drafted, first-round picks, they're really impressive athletes. You're seeing the future of the NHL on the ice right now."

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

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Posted On Monday, 12.17.2012 / 3:19 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Miller keeps climbing hockey ladder, succeeding

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- J.T. Miller has been a man on the move the last three seasons. Three different teams at three different levels of hockey, and about the only thing in common has been a high level of success for the New York Rangers prospect.

After scoring 50 points in 56 games with the U.S. National Team Development Program in 2010-11, Miller was selected by the Rangers with the 15th pick of the 2011 NHL Draft. He spent last season with the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League, where he finished fourth on the team with 25 goals and 62 points.

He's also grown to 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, which has better equipped him to climb another rung on the hockey ladder -- to the Connecticut Whale of the American Hockey League. In 26 games, Miller is fourth on the team with 14 points. Not bad for a 19-year-old in the AHL, where most of the first-year players are 2-3 years older.

"To be able to play center on the power play in the American Hockey League speaks volumes as to where his development has gone," U.S. coach Phil Housley told NHL.com. "He's very, very strong. You're going to need grit in this tournament, especially our team -- we're playing four games in five nights -- so definitely we're going to have to have some guys that play with some consistency and I see J.T. doing that."

Miller said every season he's played in a different league, the speed and strength of the players he faces on a nightly basis has gone up. And playing against older, stronger players in the AHL could make him better equipped for anything he'll face in the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship.

"It helps with the whole speed and the strength, the thing that's going to help me a lot more," Miller said. "Some of the guys we play against won't seem as strong or fast, and might prepare me that much more to make sure I'm playing my best. Use what I know and everything I've learned in the AHL."

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

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Posted On Monday, 12.17.2012 / 2:32 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Bardreau would embrace grinding role for U.S.

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Forward Cole Bardreau might be the only undrafted NHL free agent on the U.S. National Team Junior camp roster this week here at the New York Rangers' practice facility during selection camp, but his international success is just too good to be ignored.

The 5-foot-10, 181-pound center, a sophomore at Cornell University this season, played a part in the United States' gold medal-winning performance at the 2011 Under-18 World Championship in Germany and a first-place showing at the 2011 U-18 Five Nations Tournament in the Czech Republic.

In 2010, he was on the U.S. National U-18 Team that was first at the Four Nations Cup in Sweden while also earning gold at the World U-17 Hockey Challenge in Ontario.

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Posted On Monday, 12.17.2012 / 2:08 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Gibson set in net for Americans

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- If there's one player on the U.S. National Junior Team selection camp roster with a good idea what players for Canada might expect from coach Steve Spott, it's Kitchener Rangers goalie John Gibson.

Gibson just so happens to be Spott's starting goalie in Kitchener. He's currently second in the Ontario Hockey League with a 2.13 goals-against average and .934 save percentage. Spott, of course, is the coach for the Rangers when he's not instructing the Canadian National Junior Team.

Originally chosen by Kitchener in the 11th round of the 2009 OHL priority draft, Gibson would later be selected by the Anaheim Ducks in the second round of 2011 NHL Draft. Gibson, who was signed by Spott to an OHL contract on July 27, 2011, is already penciled in as the U.S. starter for the 2013 World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia.

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