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Posted On Wednesday, 01.02.2013 / 3:15 AM

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

U.S. set for medal round opener vs. Czech Republic

One year ago, the U.S. National Junior Team suffered an agonizing defeat at the hands of the Czech Republic in preliminary round action at the 2012 World Junior Championship.

The loss assured that the United States would not advance to the medal round for the first time since 1999.

The Americans are determined not to let history repeat itself Wednesday on an even bigger stage when they meet the Czechs in their opener of the 2013 WJC medal round in Ufa, Russia (4 a.m. ET, NHL.com, NHLN-US, TSN).

The winner of Wednesday's quarterfinal-round game will advance to play Canada in the semifinals. Canada, which beat The Americans 2-1 in the preliminary round, won Group B and earned a bye into the semifinal round Thursday.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.01.2013 / 2:07 PM

By Seth Jones -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Seth Jones Draft blog

Greetings from Ufa

Seth Jones, who plays for the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League, is currently starring for the United States at the 2013 World Junior Championship. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound defenseman has solid athletic bloodlines -- his father, Popeye Jones, played 11 seasons in the NBA. Jones has been paired with Mike Reilly and Jake McCabe at different points in the 2013 WJC in Ufa, Russia. Prior to playing the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals of the medal round on Wednesday, Jones provided his assessment of the tournament through four preliminary-round games.

Greeting from Ufa, Russia!

I thought I would provide an update on how things are going for me and Team USA heading into the medal round during our off day.

I think things have been good so far. It's obviously a different culture for everyone, but we're starting to get used to it. The food is a little bit different and it's not usually what you eat back in America, but we just have to deal with it and the team has been really good working together. I think the chemistry is starting to come along off the ice as well. We usually don't hang out a lot since we're with our respective teams during the regular season, but it's been really fun getting to know everyone.

I haven't really gotten out to spend time with teammates. My mom made the trip here, so I've been spending a lot of time with her.

As far as the games are concerned, and compared to games I've been involved with at the Under-18 level, this is probably the most intense hockey I've ever played. Especially back-to-back games against Russia and Canada -- it was a grind. We played good games and came up just short on both occasions. I thought we did a lot of things right in both those games but just didn't get the outcome that we wanted.

I've been pretty satisfied with the way I've played. I think I can eliminate some turnovers in the defensive zone and neutral zone, and keep it simple. But for the most part I feel I've been pretty solid and have been able to create a little on offense as well.

We're now looking forward to the next step of this tournament in the medal round. Whenever I've worn the Team USA jersey in the past, we've always been on the top and I've always been a part of that team that gets the bye into the semis. But this was different. We faced a couple of tough opponents and didn't get the outcomes we wanted, so we had to come from behind and got a big win against Slovakia [on Monday]. So now we're looking to take it one game at a time, and focus on the Czech Republic on Wednesday.

Thanks for reading everyone and enjoy the remainder of the tournament.

Follow Seth Jones on Twitter at: @seth_jones04

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.01.2013 / 10:07 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Russia's Nichushkin suspended one game

Russian forward Valeri Nichushkin, a top prospect for the 2013 NHL Draft, has been suspended one game by the International Ice Hockey Federation.

Nichushkin, who has one assist in four games, was banned for a hit he delivered to Canada's Tyler Wotherspoon in a 4-1 Group B preliminary round loss to Canada on Monday. Nichushkin was assessed a major penalty plus a game misconduct under Rule 523a. Wotherspoon suffered facial cuts but returned to the game.

The IIHF Disciplinary Panel review stated that Nichushkin delivered a hit from behind to his opponent, extending his arms into the head and neck areas of the Canadian player to drive Wotherspoon's head into the boards and glass. The hit was deemed reckless by the panel.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.01.2013 / 10:02 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

American defenseman suspended one game

The United States will be without defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere for its quarterfinal game against the Czech Republic on Wednesday (4 a.m. ET, NHLN-US, TSN).

On Tuesday, the International Ice Hockey Federation announced that Gostisbehere was suspended one game for the slashing major and game misconduct he was assessed in the final preliminary round game against Slovakia on Monday, a 9-3 victory that delivered the Americans into the medal round.

Gostisbehere was whistled for a foul on Slovakia's Matus Matis behind the play at the 16:50 mark of the first period. Gostisbehere was assessed a major penalty plus the game misconduct under rule 537b.

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Posted On Monday, 12.31.2012 / 1:41 PM

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

A 'Boone' to the Canadian lineup

Watch WJC on NHL Network-US

NHL Network-US is the home of the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship with coverage of more than 15 games as well as highlights and analysis.
* Game to be live streamed on NHL.com

(Medal Round Replays To Be Announced)
QUARTERFINALS:
Wed Jan. 2 4:00 AM USA vs. CZE 5:30 PM
Wed Jan. 2 8:00 AM RUS vs. SUI 8:00 PM
SEMIFINALS:
Thurs Jan. 3 4:00 AM TBD 5:30 PM
Thurs Jan. 3 8:00 AM TBD 8:00 PM
MEDAL ROUND
BRONZE: 
Sat Jan. 5 4:00 AM TBD 5:30 PM
GOLD:
Sat Jan 5 8:00 AM TBD 8:00 PM

For the first time at the 2013 World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia, Canadian coach Steve Spott got a good glimpse of what his team can accomplish with a full complement of players.

The bottom line is this. It's pretty impressive.

Third-line checking forward Boone Jenner finally returned to the lineup on Monday against Russia after serving a three-game suspension for a pre-tournament hit on Sweden's Jesper Pettersson in the second period of a Dec. 22 contest in Helsinki, Finland. Pettersson suffered a broken wrist and a dislocated shoulder on the play.

His return gave Spott 13 forwards to work with for the first time at the event. It also gave the veteran coach one more top penalty-killer at his disposal.

"He brings more of a forecheck presence," Spott said. "We want to be an aggressive team on the forecheck and he gives you that element. He's going to be a tremendous leader one day for the Blue Jackets, and he is a tremendous leader for us right now."

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound power-forward didn't register a point in his return, but basically did everything else in his first game of the tournament -- a 4-1 victory over the rival Russians that enabled Canada to clinch a first-round bye into the semifinals of the medal round.

"It was awesome," Jenner told TSN. "I mean, my adrenaline had been going since I woke up [Monday] morning. We knew the arena was going to be electric and we wanted to feed off of that energy, so I've been raring to go and thinking about that game so it was good to get out there and back on the ice."


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Posted On Monday, 12.31.2012 / 11:24 AM

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

Canada tops Russia, earns bye into semifinals

Canada clinched the top spot in Group B -- and a bye into the semifinals -- with a 4-1 defeat of Russia in the final game of the preliminary round on Monday.

Jonathan Huberdeau closed the scoring with an empty-net goal with 27.3 seconds left. Dougie Hamilton, Mark Scheifele and Jonathan Drouin, the player of the game for Canada, also scored.

Nikita Kucherov scored the lone goal for Russia. They had a chance for another when Vladimir Tkachev was pulled down by Canada defenseman Ryan Murphy and awarded a penalty shot with 19 seconds left in the third, but goalie Malcolm Subban got his right pad on Tkachev's attempt to push it wide.

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Posted On Monday, 12.31.2012 / 10:36 AM

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

Drouin gives Canada 3-1 lead after two periods

Jonathan Drouin continued his outstanding play, scoring the lone goal of the second period to give Canada a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes in its preliminary round final against Russia.

The winner of the game claims first place in Group B and earns a bye into the semifinals, while the loser finishes second in the group and plays Switzerland in the quarterfinals Wednesday.

Drouin, promoted to the top line for the game by coach Steve Spott (ED NOTE: link to http://www.nhl.com/ice/blogpost.htm?id=12477), went behind the net and was in the right place when a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins shot went wide of the net and onto the back wall. Drouin jumped on the puck, went behind the Russia net and stuffed the puck inside the post before Russia goalie Andrey Makarov could get into place.

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Posted On Monday, 12.31.2012 / 9:51 AM

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

Power play delivers Canada 2-1 lead after first

Canada took advantage of a five-minute power play midway through the first period to take a 2-1 lead against Russia after one period in their preliminary round finale.

The winner of the game claims first place in Group B and earns a bye into the semifinals, while the loser finishes second in the group and plays Switzerland in the quarterfinals Wednesday.

Russia's Valeri Nichushkin, a top 2013 NHL Draft prospect, was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct for a hit from behind at 11:44 of the period.

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Posted On Monday, 12.31.2012 / 9:42 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Americans to play Czechs in quarterfinal

The United States advanced to the quarterfinal round of the 2013 World Junior Championship with an 8-3 victory against Slovakia in a must-win game Monday, the final day of group play and will play the Czech Republic in the quarterfinal round Wednesday.

The Americans finished with two wins and six points in pool play, good for third place in Group B. If Slovakia had won Monday, it would have taken third place.

Under the tournament format, the United States play the second-place qualifier from Group A in a cross-over game. That team became the Czech Republic later Monday when Sweden defeated Finland, 7-4, to solidify the Group A standings.

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Posted On Monday, 12.31.2012 / 9:00 AM

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

Canada shuffles lines for matchup with Russia

With a full complement of 13 forwards for the first time, Canada coach Steve Spott has decided to shuffle his lines heading into the game Monday against Russia.

The winner of the game will clinch Group B and a bye into the semifinals. The loser will finish second in the group and play the third-place team from Group A in a quarterfinal Wednesday.

Canada's most striking change is on the top line, where top 2013 NHL Draft prospect Jonathan Drouin will play at left wing, alongside center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and right wing Mark Scheifele. Drouin has a goal and two assists in three games.

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Quote of the Day

I don't know how he does it. I don't know how he gets his body parallel with the player and pulls it through his legs like that. I know he's tried it a couple times in practice and it's never worked, so how he does it in a game, it's incredible.

— Capitals defenseman Mike Green on teammate Alex Ovechkin's highlight-reel goal against the Devils on Saturday