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USA Hockey junior evaluation camp blog

Saturday, 08.07.2010 / 8:00 PM / 2011 World Junior Championship

By Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

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USA Hockey junior evaluation camp blog

 

U.S. finishes on a high.
08.07.2010 / 8:00 p.m. (ET)

Yesterday the U.S. played its worst period of the week-long USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation camp in the second against Sweden. Today against Finland, they might have played their best.

They trailed 3-1 early in the second, but scored five straight to take an 8-3 decision to close the camp.

"We maintained puck control today, and it showed," said U.S. coach Keith Allain.

Nick Bjugstad, who led all U.S. players with 7 goals at the camp, scored the go-ahead goal in the second. Kyle Palmieri, who led all scorers with 10 points, also had a goal.

Austin Watson scored a pair of goals, and Zach Budish scored for the second straight game.

As good as some of the U.S. players played, there's a lot of work to be done between now and December when the team for the 2011 World Junior Championship is picked.

"We're going to have some very difficult decisions over the next few months, but I'm happy with what our guys were able to accomplish here this week," said Allain.

That's it for now from NHL.com. Thanks to all those who followed along.

-- Adam Kimelman

Today for the U.S.

08.07.2010 / 2:58 p.m. (ET)

Here's the lineup the U.S. will be using for today's camp-closing game against Finland:

Emerson Etem-Charlie Coyle-Jeremy Morin
Chris Kreider-Nick Bjugstad-Kyle Palmieri
Jason Zucker-Zach Budish-Ryan Bourque
Connor Brickley-Austin Watson-Chris Brown
Beau Bennett

Derek Forbort-Justin Faulk
Brian Dumoulin-John Ramage
Jonathan Merrill-Adam Clendening
Stephen Johns

Jack Campbell will make his second start in goal, backed up by Andy Iles.

Forwards Jerry D'Amigo, Brock Nelson and Brandon Saad, defensemen Patrick Wey and Phillip Samuelsson, and goalie Zane Gothberg.

-- Adam Kimelman

Maintaining composure
08.06.2010 / 8:07 p.m. (ET)

One of the hallmarks of last year's U.S. team was the way it never allowed adversity to affect it, whether it was bad penalties, being behind in games, losing to Canada in a shootout on New Year's Eve after blowing a two-goal third-period lead, or giving up two goals in the final two-plus minutes of the third-period of the gold-medal game.

Today, however, you saw what happens when a team allows adversity to affect it. The game turned for the U.S. when they were whistled for three straight penalties in a 2:15 span -- Ryan Bourque for hooking at 4:58; Stephen Johns for kneeing at 5:37; and Jeremy Morin for high-sticking at 6:31. Sweden scored 20 seconds after Bourque's penalty; 15 seconds after Johns' reached the box; and 62 seconds after Morin was sent off. The U.S. was whistled for two more penalties in the second, and after each one the players could be heard arguing with the referees, and at least one stayed after the period to talk some more.

John Ramage, one of six players from last year's team in the game today, admits things got out of control.

"It was a physical game and things got a little out of hand on our bench," he told NHL.com. "That's something we have to control. It's a learning process; that's why you have this developmental camp. That's something we'll get under control by the tournament's time."

Ramage said it's up to older players like him to set the example, something he admits to getting away from today.

"I think its starts with the older guys to show by example, and I think some of the older guys, including myself, got out of hand talking to the refs tonight. I think that's the example for the team. That's something we have to control and move forward from."

They'll have another chance tomorrow, when they close the camp with a game against Finland.

-- Adam Kimelman

At least it was even at five-on-five
08.06.2010 / 7:54 p.m. (ET)

Sweden took advantage of 10 U.S. power plays, scoring four times. U.S. coach Keith Allain, however, wasn't overly concerned.

"What was the score five-on-five? It was a question of us spending too much time in the penalty box," he said.

Zach Budish's goal was the only even-strength score of the game, and they had a Jeremy Morin goal waved off in the second when the net was knocked off its moorings just before the puck went across the line. But it was hard to get a good gauge on the U.S. play at even strength because of all the penalties.

Sweden coach Roger Ronnberg believed his team's play also had something to do with it. While not completely satisfied with his team's even-strength game, he was happy to leave Lake Placid with another victory.

"You're never satisfied," he told NHL.com. "I can live with those kind of games because it feels like we controlled the game five-on-five. We didn't give up many scoring chances and we really showed some good skills on the power play."

After a team dinner, the Sweden group will board a bus for a day in New York City, then return home.

-- Adam Kimelman

Sweden takes it 4-1
08.06.2010 / 6:17 p.m. (ET)

The U.S. certainly played better in the third period than it did in the second, but it still wasn't good enough.

Another penalty led to another Sweden goal, this time by Patrick Cehlin on a shot from the right circle.

Their goal was a good one, as Zach Budish -- playing right wing today -- used his giant body to set up shop in front of the net and tip Patrick Wey's shot behind Robin Lehner.

But it was far from the effort they showed the last time they played Sweden.

Lots of sour feelings on the U.S. side, as you could hear some of the players yapping about having won the gold medal. In their defense, I think more than a few players were upset over the Swedes making some odd bird-sounding noise after every goal and after they won.

The U.S. will have a chance to come back tomorrow as they close the camp with a game against Finland.

Back with more from the post-game scrums.

-- Adam Kimelman

Sweden's second-period blitz
08.06.2010 / 5:25 p.m. (ET)

Well, that's one period I'm sure the U.S. would like to have a mulligan on. Between bad penalties, poor defense and penalty killing and missed opportunities, it was by far the worst 20 minutes the team has played since arriving here last Friday.

Three straight penalties turned into three Sweden power-play goals in a 2:15 span, by Anton Lander, Calle Jarnkrok and William Wallen.

Then when the U.S. had a chance, Jeremy Morin's goal was waived off when the net came off its moorings just before the puck crossed the line.

In all the U.S. was called for five penalties, which kept them from getting any flow going offensively. The players look frustrated by the officiating and have lost a bit of composure.

I remember one of things coach Dean Blais preached last year was don't ever argue with the refs. Take what was being called, go to the box and keep your mouth shut. It was something they started in Lake Placid, reinforced all through the season and kept going right through the gold-medal game in Saskatoon. The returning players skating today -- Jerry D'Amigo, Chris Kreider, Ryan Bourque and John Ramage -- would do well to remind their teammates of that plan.

Sweden leads 3-0 after two periods. Back with more after the game.

-- Adam Kimelman

We're scoreless after one period
08.06.2010 / 4:37 p.m. (ET)

Well, it's certainly been a different game than the first time these teams met a few days ago. First of all, the U.S. didn't turn the goal light on four times in the first four minutes. It's not that the U.S. was bad, it's just that Sweden really played up to the level of competition.

In goal, Robin Lehner was very good, even though he didn't really see a whole lot of action as the Swedish defense played very well.

The U.S. had a chance on a four-minute power play midway through the period, but generated just a few scoring chances. In fact, they seemed to have just as many chances on a Swedish power play late in the period. The Swedes were very sloppy with the puck in the second half of the man-advantage, turning the puck over three straight times, two of which led to U.S. scoring chances.

Still, it was a very high-paced, fun first period. Back with more in a bit.

-- Adam Kimelman

Lineup update
08.06.2010 / 4:26 p.m. (ET)

Just saw Sweden forward Carl Klingberg walk up into the bleachers, so that changes a few things.

Looks like Anton Lander and Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson are going to start with Patrick Cehlin, a 2010 fifth-round pick of the Nashville Predators, on the right wing. Klingberg missed Sweden's first two games with a sore left foot that he said had been too swollen to jam into a skate. He had ice on the foot when I talked to him after he played last night, and I guess it's bothering him again.

We'll keep an eye on the rest of the Sweden lines.

-- Adam Kimelman

Today's lineups
08.06.2010 / 3:31 p.m. (ET)

Here are today's lineups for the U.S. and Sweden game:

U.S.
Brandon Saad-Brock Nelson-Beau Bennett
Jerry D'Amigo-Nick Bjugstad-Ryan Bourque
Chris Kreider-Charlie Coyle-Jeremy Morin
Chris Brown-Austin Watson-Zach Budish
Emerson Etem

Derek Forbort-Justin Faulk
Brian Dumoulin-John Ramage
Jonathan Merrill-Patrick Wey
Stephen Johns

As we wrote earlier, Zane Gothberg will make his exhibition debut, starting in goal. Jack Campbell will back him up.

Sitting out today are forwards Kyle Palmieri, Connor Brickley and Jason Zucker, defensemen Phillip Samuelsson and Adam Clendening and goaltender Andy Iles.

Sweden:
Gabriel Landeskog-Calle Jarnkrok-Sebastian Wannstrom
Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson-Anton Lander-Carl Klingberg
William Wallen-Jacob Josefson-Patrick Cehlin
Martin Karlsson-Oscar Lindberg-Jesper Fasth

Fredrik Stryman-Simon Bertilsson
Oliver Ekman-Larsson-Adam Almqvist
Mark Owuya-Adam Larsson

It looks like Robin Lehner will be back in goal with a chance to make up for his problems from Tuesday's first game between these teams, when he allowed four goals on six shots and was yanked just 4:05 into the game. Fredrik Pettersson-Wentzel will be the back-up. He played well Thursday against Finland, and before that in relief of Lehner Tuesday against the U.S., allowing just one goal in 55-plus minutes.

Puck drops at 4 p.m. We'll be back with more in a bit.

-- Adam Kimelman

More on Wiffle-gate
08.06.2010 / 12:31 p.m. (ET)

Ryan Bourque didn't appear too pleased to have been blamed for his team's Wiffle ball loss yesterday.

"He was supposed to be our fearless leader, our captain, and he had a bad showing today," Wiffle-mate Austin Watson told NHL.com yesterday.

Given a chance to respond, Bourque said his team's pitching -- Watson -- really was the problem.

"I think it was a team effort and we all didn't have our best game, especially Austin," said Bourque following this morning's practice. "The first inning he let up four runs and then he got taken out of the game as a pitcher. … Pitching was an issue. We had to bring in a few relievers. It worked out, but I guess it was too much of a deficit to climb back from."

In real news, we'll have the full lineup for the teams later, but we can reveal that forwards Connor Brickley, Kyle Palmieri and Jason Zucker, defensemen Adam Clendening and Phillip Samuelsson, and goalie Andy Iles all will sit out today.

-- Adam Kimelman

Short day for Sweden

08.06.2010 / 09:19 a.m. (ET)

After last night's game, only a few Sweden players were on the ice today, including top forward Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson and defenseman Adam Larsson.

Coach Roger Ronnberg said yesterday he expects a far different game than last night's match with Finland. Where the Finns will play a more defensive-oriented style, Ronnberg knows the U.S. will come with a fierce, fast forecheck and be aggressive at all opportunities.

Having seen the U.S. last year at Lake Placid, and knowing fast and heavy on the forecheck is how coach Dean Blais wanted them to play, it looks like coach Keith Allain this year has stuck with the same plan -- only the players are even faster now. It's pretty impressive to see, and bodes well for December and January in Buffalo.

Not sure on the lineups yet, but its likely Zane Gothberg will get his first start in goal. I'll have more details on lineups in a while.

--Adam Kimelman


Tremendous top line

08.05.2010 / 07:19 p.m. (ET)

Sweden's top line of Anton Lander centering Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson on the left side and Carl Klingberg on the right looked awfully good today, creating scoring opportunities on almost every shift. They combined for 3 goals and 2 assists today.

"It was fun to see them work together as a good unit," Sweden coach Roger Ronnberg told NHL.com. "They make each other better. He (Klingberg) completes that line, in a good way. Nice to see."

Lander and Paajarvi-Svensson played together Tuesday against the U.S., with William Wallen completing the trio, but little Sweden did in that game seemed to work. Ronnberg said he would keep today's top line the same tomorrow against the U.S. The coach said he's curious how they'll react against a much different, much more difficult opponent.

"I want to see how they can handle the U.S. tomorrow," said Ronnberg. "It's a totally different game with totally different demands than this game. To be good in this game, that's one thing. It's a totally different thing to be good tomorrow."

Ronnberg also said he expected a much more physical game from Finland, which ran around and hit everything in sight when the teams played Monday. For some reason, they were far less aggressive today.

"I did (expect more physical play), but I think our guys, they didn't give them a chance," said Ronnberg.

-- Adam Kimelman


Sweden wins it

08.05.2010 / 06:06 p.m. (ET)

Sweden came away with a 6-2 in its rematch with Finland, but can't really be happy about the third period. They took way too many penalties, and played most of the period shorthanded.
 
Finland only took advantage once, however, during a 5-on-3 power play when Iiro Pakarinen scored on a rocket from the left side.
 
Sweden did score a pair of goals, one by Calle Jarnkrok -- who got high-sticked in the face on the play -- and a power-play goal by William Wallen.
 
Fredrik Pettersson-Wentzel looked solid in goal -- can't really blame him for any of the pucks that got past him. And he'll get the start tomorrow against the U.S. He allowed just one goal in 55-plus minutes of play Tuesday against the U.S. in relief of Robin Lehner.
 
Finland will get to enjoy all the outdoor activities here in beautiful Lake Placid. There are a lot of nice places to go in the summer, but you'd be hard-pressed to convince me there's a better one than Lake Placid.
 
OK, enough shilling for the local tourism board. Back with more from the post-game scrums.

-- Adam Kimelman

Erixon feeling better
08.05.2010 / 05:45 p.m. (ET)

Talked to Sweden defenseman Tim Erixon between periods and it's good to report the Calgary Flames prospect is feeling better after being run face-first into the boards in the second period of Monday's game against Finland.

Erixon said he lost consciousness on the ice and doesn't remember anything until he got back to the locker room. The area under his left eye is purple and he's got a cut next to the eye, but he said he has no vision problems, and when he woke up Tuesday morning, there were no headaches or dizziness.

Erixon won't play the rest of the tournament for obvious reasons, but said if the competition were more serious, he probably could have played.

"Of course, it's not the biggest tournament, they (doctors) know that," Erixon told NHL.com. "If it would have been the World Juniors, I probably could have played."

-- Adam Kimelman

Sweden up 4-1 after two

08.05.2010 / 05:28 p.m. (ET)

Nice to finally see some push-back from Finland, but they're not nearly as physical as they were in Monday's match.

Joonas Donskoi scored from right in front off a Julius Juntilla set-up, but that came after Carl Klingberg scored his second goal of the game just 2:06 into the period.

This is Klingberg's first game, and he's got a lot of energy. Sweden coach Roger Ronnberg told me that one of the reasons he brought his team to Lake Placid was for experience on the smaller ice and to watch what makes the other teams successful. With big bodies who make beelines for the front of the net like Klingberg and Gabriel Landeskog, they might have begun to find the right formula.

Back with more after the game.

-- Adam Kimelman

U.S. goes to the diamond
08.05.2010 / 04:54 p.m. (ET)

The U.S. players used their day off to play wiffle ball. Austin Watson was the losing pitcher in a 4-1 decision, but he said he didn't think the runs should be pinned on him.

"I started off pitching there, gave up four runs quickly, but it wasn't really my fault, tough errors by my team," Watson told NHL.com. "They didn't realize the pitcher's mound was out for first, they kept throwing all the way to first. It was too tight an area to do that, and I got lit up for four runs but I don't think you can count any of them against me."

Watson pointed the blame squarely on his team's captain, Ryan Bourque.

"He was supposed to be our fearless leader, our captain, and he had a bad showing today," said Watson.

All kidding aside, Watson said having a full day off the ice was a nice thing for a group of players that have been going nearly non-stop since Friday.

"It was good to get off the ice," said Watson. "It's a long week and to be able to just have a day off and get some time spent with each other, the time away from the rink is nice."

-- Adam Kimelman

Sweden takes early lead
08.05.2010 / 04:37 p.m. (ET)

Sweden definitely was the more aggressive team in the first period. A lot of that has to do with Gabriel Landeskog. He's not the biggest player on the ice, but when he gets up to speed on the forecheck, he hits like a truck, and he goes straight to the net almost every time.

It took just 44 seconds for the first bit of pushing and shoving, and the first period was filled with the same nastiness that marked Monday's encounter.

Sebastien Wannstrom scored the game's first goal on a penalty shot, and Anton Lander and Carl Klingberg also had goals. Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson assisted on the second two goals.

More from the second period.

­--Adam Kimelman

Today's lineups
08.05.2010 / 03:32 p.m. (ET)

Here are the lineups for today's game between Sweden and Finland.

Sweden:
Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson-Anton Lander-Carl Klingberg
Gabriel Landeskog-Calle Jarnkrok-Sebastien Wannstrom
William Wallen-Jacob Josefson-Patrick Cehlin
Martin Karlsson-Oscar Lindberg-Jesper Fasth

Oliver Ekman-Larsson-Adam Almqvist
Fredrik Styrman-Simon Bertilsson
Adam Larsson-Mark Owuya

Fredrik Pettersson-Wentzel will make his first start in goal of the tournament, backed up by Robin Lehner.

Sweden's top line of Paajarvi-Svensson, Lander and Klingberg should be fun to watch. Klingberg is a real big body (6-foot-3, 205) the Thrashers took with the 34th pick of the 2009 Entry Draft. Martin Karlsson, who had been playing with Paajarvi-Svensson and Lander, was moved down to the fourth line.

Finland:
Toni Rajala-Joonas Nattinen-Iiro Pakarinen
Joonas Donskoi-Erik Haula-Julius Juntilla
Teemu Tallberg-Mikael Salmivirta-Mika Partanen
Teemu Rautianinen-Valtteri Virkkunen-Janne Kumpulainen
Joonas Makinen

Nico Manelius-Jani Hakanpaa
Rasmus Rissanen-Jyrki Jokipakka
Tommi Kivisto-Jesse Virtanen

Jonathan Iilahti will start in goal, with Christopher Gibson backing him up. Gibson started Monday's game against Sweden.

Finland's top two lines have been pretty much unchanged through their first two games.

Puck drops at 4 p.m.

Also, for those wondering, Alex Clark, one of USA Hockey's top-notch PR staffers, informed me the U.S. team spent today playing wiffle ball.

More after the first period.

--Adam Kimelman

Sweden searching for new goalie
08.05.2010 / 11:32 a.m. (ET)

The last few years Sweden has been set in goal at the junior level with Jacob Markstrom, but now that Markstrom has aged out, the search is on for his replacement.

Robin Lehner, a 2009 second-round pick of the Ottawa Senators, and Fredrik Pettersson-Wentzel, a 2010 fifth-round pick of the Atlanta Thrashers, are with the team in Lake Placid competing for a spot.
Lehner has started both games here, against Finland on Monday and the U.S. on Tuesday. He was OK against Finland, stopping 14 of 17 shots in a 5-3 victory. Against the U.S., though, he allowed four goals on six shots and was pulled just 4:05 into the game. Pettersson-Wentzel looked good in replacing him, allowing just one goal over the final 55-plus minutes in what became a 6-3 loss.

In speaking with Sweden coach Roger Ronnberg, however, it sounds like Lehner -- who is serving as an assistant captain for the team -- still has the upper hand in the competition.

"I love Robin's ability to compete," Ronnberg told NHL.com. "He competes every practice, every drill, he wants to beat everybody. He doesn't like to let in any pucks. Unfortunately he had an unlucky game against the U.S. at the start of the game. Even the best goaltenders, they have those games where the puck goes in even if you do everything right. I'm not worried about that. I trust him. He's a good goaltender."

That's not to say Ronnberg doesn't like what he's seen from Pettersson-Wentzel, who he watched closely last season while he posted a 1.85 goals-against average and six shutouts with Almtuna in the Swedish second division.

"He had a tremendous season last year," said Ronnberg. "He hasn't been with the national team before. Last season was the first time he took a spot. He played really good when he jumped into the net against the U.S."

Pettersson-Wentzel will get another chance today when he starts this afternoon's game against Finland. Lehner started Monday's game against Finland, and Ronnberg said the plan was to give each of his goaltenders two starts.

Finland coach Lauri Marjamaki said he'll start Jonathan Iilahti in net; Christopher Gibson started Monday's game against Sweden, and Marjamaki said he has the same plans in mind with his goaltending.

Today's game starts at 4 p.m. I'll have line combinations and pairings as soon as the teams announce them.

-- Adam Kimelman

Finns missing in action
08.05.2010 / 10:30 a.m. (ET)

A few fans have asked about three top-line forwards missing from Finland's squad here in Lake Placid, so this morning I chatted briefly with coach Lauri Marjamaki about Mikael Granlund, Sami Vatanen and Teemu Pulkkinen.

In the cases of Granlund, the Minnesota Wild's 2010 first-round pick, and Vatanen, a 2009 fourth-round pick of the Anaheim Ducks, it was a case of allowing the players more time to rest and relax after busy seasons -- Granlund with HIFK, Vatanen with JvP Jyvaskyla, both in the top Finnish men's league.

For Granlund, it also meant not making a third trip since May from Finland to North America, following his traveling to Toronto for the NHL Scouting Combine and to Los Angeles for the Draft. Too much long-distance travel for a young player, Marjamaki said.

In Vatanen's case, it meant giving him a bit more time to relax and get ready for next season after playing his first season in SM-Liiga, followed by a stint with Finland's team at the World Championship.

Pulkkinen, a 2010 fourth-round pick of the Detroit Red Wings, still is recovering from surgery on his left shoulder that kept him from working out at the Combine. He is expected to be healthy in time for the start of the SM-Liiga season, where he'll play for Jokerit.

None of the three, however, needs to worry about their spots on the World Junior Championship team. Marjamaki said all three -- if healthy -- absolutely will be with the team when it travels to North America for its pre-tournament training camp. Granlund led last year's WJC team in scoring, with 7 points in six games. Vatanen had 2 goals and 5 points in six games. Pulkkinen missed the WJC with a wrist injury.

--Adam Kimelman

Clendening cleared to play
08.04.2010 / 7:50 p.m. (ET)

U.S. defenseman Adam Clendening was tossed from Wednesday's game at 14:02 of the second period after he cross-checked Finland forward Topi Taavitsainen in the mouth. He was given a major penalty and a game misconduct.

Clendening said he was just protecting his goalie.

"The guy came to run the goaltender and that's part of your job as a defenseman, to protect that guy," Clendening said. "He's a pretty valuable guy. It didn't help he was a smaller guy, so I think the cross-check rode up and got him in the face. It happens."

Clendening, who first was taken to the penalty box before being sent to the locker room, said the referee who skated him to the box told him he would have done the same thing.

"The ref skating me over to the box was like, I would have done the same thing, it looked like he was coming to run your goalie," Clendening said. "And I was like, I'm not going to let him run into my goalie. It just sucks he was a little smaller, it rode up and got him."

Clendening said there will be no supplementary discipline from the IIHF, which serves as the governing body for these games. So he can play Thursday, but since the U.S. has nine defensemen in camp, two have been sitting out per game -- and since Clendening has played the first two games, there's a chance he wouldn't have played anyway.

--Adam Kimelman

U.S. wins again
08.04.2010 / 6:30 p.m. (ET)

Finland scored the lone goal of the third period, a power-play goal by Valtteri Virkkunen, but the U.S. cruised to a 6-3 victory. While they didn't score in the final 20 minutes, the Americans certainly created opportunities.

This was an entirely different game from yesterday's match against Sweden. Where the Swedes tried to turn the game into a track meet, Finland plays a more defensive style. To see the U.S. win both ways is a pretty good sign.

Through two games, the U.S. certainly has shown as much speed and tenacity on the puck as it did last year in Saskatoon.

Jeremy Morin finished with a goal and an assist, was very active offensively and did a good job playing the top of the triangle on the three-man penalty killing unit. Beau Bennett, who played on the top line with Emerson Etem and Nick Bjugstad, had 2 more assists.

The U.S. is off tomorrow, and plays Sweden on Friday. Thursday's game sees Finland and Sweden face off.

--Adam Kimelman

U.S. holds lead, loses player
08.04.2010 / 5:33 p.m. (ET)

Brock Nelson, Chris Kreider and Nick Bjugstad scored for the U.S. to give them a 6-2 lead after two periods.

Julius Junttila and Rasmus Rissanen scored for Finland.

Nelson's power-play goal was pretty simple -- the Islanders' 2010 first-round pick stood in the crease and let a Brandon Saad rebound bounce off his stick and into the net 3:41 into the period to make it 4-1.

Kreider scored a pretty goal, skating through the slot to tip Derek Forbort's high shot past goalie Jonathan Iilahti at 13:28.

After that the U.S. lost defenseman Adam Clendening, who cross-checked a Finland player in the mouth, and was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct.

After Phillip Samuelsson was called for cross-checking, Rissanen's rocket from the right side got past Andy Iles to make it 5-2.

But with 9.4 seconds left, Nick Bjugstad scored off a Beau Bennett set-up to make it 6-2.

Despite allowing the power-play goal, the U.S. penalty-killing unit has looked awfully good so far.

More when the game ends.

-- Adam Kimelman

U.S. leads Finland 3-0 after one period
08.04.2010 / 4:43 p.m. (ET)

It's a different game than yesterday's contest against Sweden, but the U.S. played another strong first period, and leads Finland 3-0 after one.

Jeremy Morin easily was the most active U.S. player offensively and scored the game's first goal on a nice wrist shot from the left side. The power play goal came just 2:32 into the game.

Nick Bjugstad made it 2-0 when he scored off a rebound of a Justin Faulk shot, and then Chris Brown made a great move to create some open space deep in the Finland end and score from in close to make it 3-0.

Andy Iles, getting the start in the U.S. net, barely was tested, even on Finland's two power plays.

--Adam Kimelman

Finland lineup
08.04.2010 / 3:31 p.m. (ET)

Here are the forward lines and defense pairings Finland will use today against the U.S:

Toni Rajala-Joonas Nattinen-Iiro Pakarinen
Joonas Donskoi-Erik Haula-Julius Junttila
Teemu Rautiainen-Mikael Salmivirta-Mika Partanen
Valtteri Virkkunen-Joonas Makinen-Topi Taavitsainen
Teemu Tallberg

Nico Manelius-Jyrki Jokipakka
Rasmus Rissanen-Jani Hakanpaa
Tommi Kivisto-Jesse Virtanen
Mikael Aaltonen-Miihkali Teppo

Jonathan Iilahti will start in goal, with Christopher Gibson backing him up.

Puck drops at 4 p.m.

-- Adam Kimelman

U.S. lines and pairings
08.04.2010 / 9:55 a.m. (ET)

Here's the lineup the U.S. will use for today's game against Finland:

Emerson Etem-Nick Bjugstad-Beau Bennett
Chris Kreider-Charlie Coyle-Jeremy Morin
Brandon Saad-Brock Nelson-Kyle Palmieri
Connor Brickley-Zach Budish-Chris Brown
Jason Zucker

Derek Forbort-Justin Faulk
Phillip Samuelsson-Adam Clendening
Jonathan Merrill-Stephen Johns
Patrick Wey

Andy Iles will start in goal, with Zane Gothberg backing him up.

Ryan Bourque, Brian Dumoulin, John Ramage, Austin Watson, Jerry D'Amigo and Jack Campbell all will sit out.

Also, just learned the Sweden team will be off the ice today -- they're going whitewater rafting.

-- Adam Kimelman

Looking back at U.S.-Sweden clash
08.04.2010 / 8:39 a.m. (ET)

Some quick observations from yesterday's U.S.-Sweden game:

* Chris Kreider was sporting a pretty gnarly gash next to his left eye after the game. He said he got it from a skate and needed eight stitches to close.

* Charlie Coyle, who centered Kreider and Kyle Palmieri, was excellent on faceoffs. Coach Keith Allain called him his team's most consistent faceoff man.

* A little surprised to see Jacob Josefson on the fourth line for Sweden. But he had the power-play goal that drew Sweden to within 4-3 in the second period; was it just a case of coach Roger Ronnberg juggling lines to gauge chemistry?.

* I expected to see a better effort early from Sweden, considering they had a game under their belts. The first four minutes they looked completely overwhelmed by the U.S. players' speed and skill. They were far better in the second period -- similar to the way they played against Finland -- but that seems like a bad habit for a team to fall into.

* Not sure if Sweden goalie Robin Lehner was tired from having played a rough game against Finland 24 hours earlier or if he just wasn't himself, but certainly no one expected him to give up four goals in the first 4:05 of the game. Lehner was a 2009 second-round pick of the Ottawa Senators, and they certainly think he could be a long-term answer in net. His replacement, Fredrik Pettersson-Wentzel, played well and allowed only one fluky goal, which bounced off the post, off his back and into the net. Sweden doesn't play again until Thursday against Finland, and it'll be interesting to see who gets the start in net.

* Allain wasn't overflowing with praise for his goaltender, Jack Campbell. Campbell stopped 24 shots, and it's likely he'll still be the starter in Buffalo, but it seems like Allain was hoping for more. "I thought Jack was OK," the coach said. "I think he's played better and he's played worse. We were pleased with his effort overall."

* Allain said either Andy Iles, who backed up Campbell yesterday, or Zane Gothberg will start in goal today against Finland.

* There was almost no flow to the game in the third period, as the referees called 14 penalties, including six in a 1:55 span of game time midway through the period.

* One of the hallmarks of last year's U.S. team was its speed and aggression on the forecheck. If anything they looked even faster yesterday against Sweden. "We were pretty excited for the game and wanted to come out with a lot of energy and almost show the world what we're all about," said Palmieri. "I think we did that pretty well. It's our first time playing together as a team, coming out here and putting up four goals in the first period was really impressive. We just have to learn to keep an even keel throughout the game and keep the energy up."

* Allain might have had the best line of the night, when he was asked if he was worried after Sweden turned that early 4-0 lead into a 4-3 nail-biter. "Our guys hung in there," said Allain. "It's one thing to let them get close, it's another to let them take the lead and we didn't allow that."

Finland is getting on the ice for practice. If they have their lines for tonight's game, I'll pass them along.

-- Adam Kimelman

U.S. wins 6-3
08.03.2010 / 7:44 p.m. (ET)

The third period was a choppy, chippy affair due to 14 penalties, but the U.S. scored the only goals of the final 20 minutes.

Justin Faulk's shot from the point at 9:41 of the period hit the right post, bounced off the back of Sweden goalie Fredrik Petterson-Wentzel and rolled across the goal line for the defenseman's second goal of the game.

Brock Nelson scored an empty-net goal with 12 seconds left to seal the final score. Kyle Palmieri and Beau Bennett had a pair of assists.

Andy Iles was solid in goal in the third period for the U.S. He's competing with Zane Gothberg for the backup spot, as barring alien abduction, Jack Campbell will be the starter in Buffalo.

We'll have more from the post-game media scrums.

-- Adam Kimelman

Sweden making it close
08.03.2010 / 5:30 p.m. (ET)

In a similar fashion to yesterday's game against Finland, Sweden has played far better in the second period then it did in the first, as goals by Patrick Cehlin and Jacob Josefson pulled Sweden within one, at 4-3.
 
There was lots more aggressive play, as players from both sides weren't shy about taking the body at every opportunity, and there were more than a few goal-mouth scrums. Calle Jarnkrok started one early in the period when he bumped U.S. goalie Jack Campbell, causing three U.S. players to jump him. Jarnkrok was the only player to draw a penalty, for goaltender interference.
 
Later in the period, Brian Dumoulin of the U.S. and Sweden's Oliver Ekman-Larsson exchanged pushes and shoves, leading to both being sent off.
 
The goals were nice, as Cehlin banged a rebound out of the air and past Campbell at 7:49 of the period, and Josefson was the last player to get a whack at the rebound of an Ekman-Larsson shot for a power-play goal at 13:31.
 
Despite allowing the goals, Campbell looked good, making a few nice saves, including an impressive glove stop on John Norman early in the period.
 
More after the third period.

-- Adam Kimelman

A wild first period
08.03.2010 / 4:44 p.m. (ET)

The U.S. didn't waste any time getting started offensively, scoring four times in the first 4:05 of the game and leading 4-1 after 20 minutes.

Jason Zucker, one of the holdover from last year's gold medalists, opened the scoring with a sweet backhand under the crossbar just 1:16 into the game.

Derek Forbort and Justin Faulk had power-play goals 39 seconds apart, and then Charlie Coyle finished a 2-on-1 break.

That chased Sweden goalie Robin Lehner in favor of Fredrik Petterson-Wentzel.

Sweden got its lone goal when Anton Lander banged in the rebound of an Adam Larsson shot at 17:21 of the period. The goal came after the U.S. had been called for too many men on the ice.

The U.S. looked awfully fast and aggressive, winning every puck battle in the first half of the game. Sweden seemed to settle in late in the period, but they couldn't capitalize on a four-minute power-play when Jonathan Merrill was sent off for interference and boarding midway through the frame.

Coyle and Beau Bennett, a pair of first-round picks, looked real good in the period, showcasing real good skills, and the U.S. penalty killing group, despite giving up the goal late, also looked very strong.

-- Adam Kimelman

Sweden lines
08.03.2010 / 3:50 p.m. (ET)

Here are Sweden's forward lines and defense pairings for today's game against the U.S.

Martin Karlsson-Oscar Lindberg-Jesper Fasth
Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson-Anton Lander-William Wallen
Gabriel Landeskog-Calle Jarnkrok-Sebastian Wannstrom
John Norman-Jacob Josefson-Patrick Cehlin

Oliver Ekman-Larsson-Adam Almqvist
Peter Andersson-Adam Larsson
Fredrik Stryman-Simon Bertilsson
Mark Owuya

Owuya replaces Tim Erixon in the lineup.

Robin Lehner will start in goal, Fredrik Petterson-Wentzel backing him up.

More once the game starts.

-- Adam Kimelman

U.S. lines, pairings

08.03.2010 / 10:32 a.m. (ET)

Here is the lineup for the U.S. for today's game against Sweden:

Ryan Bourque-Nick Bjugstad-Jeremy Morin
Jerry D'Amigo-Austin Watson-Emerson Etem
Chris Kreider-Charlie Coyle-Kyle Palmieri
Jason Zucker-Brock Nelson-Beau Bennett
Connor Brickley

Derek Forbort-Justin Faulk
Brian Dumoulin-Adam Clendening
Jonathan Merrill-John Ramage
Philip Samuelsson

Jack Campbell will start in net, with Andy Iles backing him up.

Forwards Zack Budish and Brandon Saad, defensemen Stephen Johns and Patrick Wey, and goalie Zane Gothberg will not play.

­--Adam Kimelman

Erixon out
08.03.2010 / 10:04 a.m. (ET)

Tim Erixon, who got run into the end boards in the third period of last night's game against Finland, will not play the rest of the camp. A Team Sweden official told NHL.com that Erixon lost conscious for a few moments on the ice and was still dizzy about two hours later. He also suffered a cut to his chin and has swelling around his right eye.

Doctors said Erixon could maybe play by the end of the camp, and the Calgary Flames' first-round pick reported feeling better today, but for precautionary reasons, he won't be playing the rest of the way here in Lake Placid.

Team USA is on the ice. I'll have more after their practice.

--Adam Kimelman

Sweden wins 5-3
08.02.2010 / 08:35 p.m. (ET)

A flurry of goals and some real big hits marked the final period, as Sweden skated away with a 5-3 victory in the first international exhibition game here in Lake Placid.

Adam Larsson, a possible top-5 pick for the 2011 Entry Draft, got things started when he fed a cutting Jesper Festh for a goal 7:26 into the period.

Finland tied the game when Joonas Makinen banged in a rebound to tie it at 3-3. It didn't stay tied long, however. Just 29 seconds later, William Wallen scored to put Sweden ahead 4-3.

After an elbowing penalty on Mikael Salmivirta, Adam Almqvist scored on a nice wrist shot from the point to make it 5-3.

The hitting was extreme throughout. Sweden's Tim Erixon got run through the boards just 13 seconds into the period by Finland's Iiro Pakarinen, and late in the period Pakarainen took run at Sweden goalie Robin Lehner behind the net. He was charged with goaltender interference, and took a roughing penalty when he and Sweden defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson mixed it up after the whistle.

It was a good start to the international exhibition games. Tomorrow at 4 p.m., the U.S. plays Sweden. NHL.com will have all the coverage, as well as inside looks at all three teams following their respective practices.

--Adam Kimelman

Erixon injured
08.02.2010 / 08:05 p.m. (ET)

Flames top defense prospect Tim Erixon got knocked out of the game on a hard hit into the end boards by Finland's Iiro Pakarainen just 14 seconds into the third period.

The players were chasing a dump-in and Pakarainen, finishing his hit, drove Erixon into the end boards. Erixon stayed down for a minute or two, then looked wobbly as he was helped off the ice.

More information if it becomes available.

--Adam Kimelman

Sweden leads after one
08.02.2010 / 04:35 p.m. (ET)

After a period that saw a ton of hitting, Sweden holds a 1-0 lead on Calle Jarnkrok's power-play goal, off an assist by Sebastian Wannstrom.

One of the more impressive players in the period was Sweden defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, the Phoenix Coyotes' 2009 first-round draft pick. He's very smooth with the puck and there looks to be zero panic in his game. One of the only knocks on him was his size, but if he's put on some muscle, he's got a chance to play for the Coyotes this season.

We'll have more after the second period.

--Adam Kimelman

Live from Lake Placid
08.02.2010 / 04:15 p.m. (ET)

Traffic and a few downpours slowed me down, but I finally arrived at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, N.Y. for the USA Hockey Junior Evaluation Camp. A quick look-around shows a few NHL decision-makers beat me into town, among them Atlanta Thrashers GM Rick Dudley, Pittsburgh Penguins Director of Amateur Scouting Randy Sexton, and Calgary Flames head scout Tod Button.

Sweden and Finland are about to face off in the first international exhibition games, and here are the forward lines and defense pairings.

Sweden:
Martin Karlsson-Oscar Lindberg-Jesper Fasth
Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson-Jacob Josefson-Patrick Cehlin
John Norman-Anton Lander-Sebastian Wannstrom
Gabriel Landeskog-Calle Jarnkrok-William Wallen

Tim Erixon-Oliver Ekman-Larsson
Peter Andersson-Adam Almqvist
Adam Larsson-Fredrik Styrman
Simon Bertilsson

Robin Lehner is the starter in goal, backed up by Fredrik Petterson-Wentzel

Finland:
Toni Rajala-Joonas Nattinen-Iiro Pakarinen
Joonas Donskoi-Erik Haula-Julius Junttila
Teemu Tallberg-Mikael Salmivirta-Janne Kumpulainen
Valtteri Virkkunen-Joonas Makinen

Nico Manelius-Jyrki Jokipakka
Rasmus Rissanen-Jani Hakanpaa
Tommi Kivisto-Jesse Virtanen
Mikael Aaltonen-Miihkali Teppo

Christopher Gibson is in goal, with Jonathan Iilahti backing him up.

More after one period

--Adam Kimelman

U.S. National Junior roster trimmed to 28

08.02.2010 / 10:21 a.m. (ET)

Eight members of the U.S. National Junior Team that garnered gold in Saskatoon last January will look to successful defend their crown on home soil at this year's World Junior Championships.

The 2011 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship will be held Dec. 26, 2010 to Jan. 5, 2011 in Buffalo.

The returnees from last year's gold-medal winning group include goalie Jack Campbell, who was drafted 11th overall by the Dallas Stars in June, along with forwards Ryan Bourque (N.Y. Rangers), Jerry D'Amigo (Toronto), Chris Kreider (N.Y. Rangers), Jeremy Morin (Chicago), Kyle Palmieri (Anaheim), Jason Zucker (Minnesota) and defenseman John Ramage (Calgary).

Defenseman Cam Fowler (Anaheim) was the only other player from last year's team invited to USA Hockey's National Junior Evaluation Camp this week in Lake Placid, N.Y. Fowler did not attend the camp after signing an entry-level contract with the Anaheim Ducks last week.

Team USA coach Keith Allain and his staff pared the original 42-player roster to 28 on Monday in anticipation of facing Finland and Sweden in a series of international contests slated this week. The U.S. will battle Finland and Sweden twice each from Aug. 3-7.

"We're excited to see these players perform against top international competition this week," Allain said. "As the World Junior Championship approaches, we'll continue to monitor all American players who can help us win the gold in Buffalo."

Of the players selected to the 28-man roster, eight were first-round draft picks in 2010. They include goalie Campbell, defenseman Derek Forbort (Kings, No. 15) and forwards Beau Bennett (Penguins, No. 20), Nick Bjugstad (Panthers, No. 19), Charlie Coyle (Sharks, No. 28), Emerson Etem (Ducks, No. 29), Brock Nelson (Islanders, No. 30) and Austin Watson (Predators, No. 18).

U.S. NATIONAL JUNIOR CAMP ROSTER
GOALTENDERS: Jack Campbell (Dallas), Zane Gothberg (Boston), Andy Iles (2011 Draft eligible).
DEFENSEMEN: Adam Clendening (2011 Draft eligible), Brian Dumoulin (Carolina), Justin Faulk (Carolina), Derek Forbort (Los Angeles), Stephen Johns (Chicago), Jonathon Merrill (New Jersey), John Ramage (Calgary), Philip Samuelsson (Pittsburgh), Patrick Wey (Washington).
FORWARDS: Beau Bennett (Pittsburgh), Nick Bjugstad (Florida), Ryan Bourque (N.Y. Rangers), Connor Brickley (Florida), Chris Brown (Phoenix), Zach Budish (Nashville), Charlie Coyle (San Jose), Jerry D'Amigo (Toronto), Emerson Etem (Anaheim), Chris Kreider (N.Y. Rangers), Jeremy Morin (Chicago), Brock Nelson (N.Y. Islanders), Kyle Palmieri (Anaheim), Brandon Saad (2011 Draft eligible), Austin Watson (Nashville),  Jason Zucker (Minnesota).

--Mike G. Morreale

White wins again
07.31.2010 / 8:01 p.m. ET

There are lots of great things about having kids, but they certainly make it tough to blog. But enough about me; here are the details from today's game.

Remember all those nice things I said about Kyle Palmieri earlier? Well, he finished with 2 goals, giving him 3 in two games as White took a 4-2 decision. Ryan Bourque scored the go-ahead goal six minutes into the second period, with a pair of 2010 first-round picks assisting him -- Charlie Coyle (Sharks) and Emerson Etem (Ducks).

Nick Bjugstad also scored for White, while Jeremy Morin scored twice for Blue.

In goal, Zane Gothberg stopped three of the four shots he faced as the White starter, and backup Jack Campbell -- likely the front-runner to start in Buffalo in December -- made nine saves on 10 shots in relief.

Andy Iles started for Blue and allowed two goals on 15 shots, while Michael Houser relieved him and stopped 11 of 13 shots.

Sunday will mark the final day of intrasquad scrimmages, and then coach Keith Allain and the USA Hockey staff will have some decisions to make as they attempt to pare down the roster from 42 heading into the games next week against Finland and Sweden.

All tied after one period

07.31.2010 / 4:44 p.m. ET

Jeremy Morin, who the Blackhawks got back from the Thrashers as part of the Dustin Byfuglien deal, tied the game the Blue side with a power-play goal.

White outshot Blue 9-4, but goaltenders Zane Gothberg (White) and Andy Iles (Blue) were up to the challenges they faced.

More from the second period.

Palmieri does it again

07.31.2010 / 4:16 p.m. ET

I'll admit I'm a bit biased toward Kyle Palmieri. We're both from New Jersey, so there's a common thing, and having spent some time around him the last two years, I think he's a good kid and a heck of a hockey player, and was happy to watch him celebrate with the gold medal last January in Saskatoon.

So far in this year's USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp, he's proving he's ready to repeat the success he had last year. After scoring a goal and setting up another yesterday, he scored the game's first goal for his White team against Blue.

More from the second day of intrasquad scrimmages as the game goes on.

A quick word of praise

07.31.2010 / 2:23 p.m. ET

Most of the attention will be paid to the players and coaches at the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp, but there are a few behind-the-scenes people who deserve some consideration -- the USA Hockey PR staff, led by Alex Clark.

NHL.com won't be arriving in scenic Lake Placid until Monday afternoon, but we'll still be blogging away. However, Clark is on the scene, and his blog at USA Hockey's Web site is worth checking out for details on the intrasquad scrimmages and practices, plus he's got pictures and other inside information that fans might find interesting. It's worth checking out -- after you peruse what we've got at NHL.com, of course.

We'll have more later after the second day of intrasquad scrimmages.

White tops Blue in opening scrimmage
07.31.2010 / 9:16 a.m. ET

The first day of practice and scrimmages are in the book at the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid. The first three days of the camp, which started Friday, feature on- and off-ice workouts and intrasquad games.

In the first White vs. Blue game, Kyle Palmieri -- one of the players returning from last year's gold-medal winning Saskatoon squad -- assisted on Brock Nelson's opening goal and then scored his own to make it 2-0 for his White squad after one period.

Beau Bennett scored Blue's lone goal in the second period, and White closed the scoring with goals by Ryan Bourque -- another returnee -- 13 seconds into the third period, and then Brandon Saad scored later in the period, with an assist from Nelson.

Jack Campbell stopped 11 of 12 shots in playing the first half of the game in net for White, and then Zane Gothberg stopped all 12 shots he faced in relief.

In the Blue net, Michael Houser started and stopped 14 of 16 shots, and then Andy Iles stopped 16 of 18 shots in relief.

U.S. coach Keith Allain took in the action from off the ice, as assistants Mark Osiecki (Blue) and Phil Housley (White) served as coaches.

The players will take to the ice again later Saturday for another round of practice and scrimmages, all leading into Sunday's cut-down day, when the roster will be trimmed from its current total of 42. 

Welcome to camp!

07.30.2010 / 9:06 a.m. ET

Welcome to NHL.com's full coverage of this year's USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp. This event marks the first chance for players competing for U.S. roster spots for the 2011 World Junior Championship in Buffalo to make an impression on coach Keith Allain and his staff.

Two players who won't be getting that chance, however, are defensemen Cam Fowler and Nick Leddy. Both players just signed entry-level contracts with their respective NHL clubs -- Fowler with the Ducks, Leddy with the Blackhawks -- and won't be available for the camp, which starts today and runs through Aug. 7.

Does it mean both players are ineligible for the team? Not at all. But if Fowler or Leddy makes the NHL, it's a near-certainty they won't be released for the tournament, which starts Dec. 26.

And both players had legitimate expectations of making the U.S. team. Fowler played a big role in helping the U.S. win gold in Saskatoon, finishing with 2 assists and a plus-8 rating. Leddy had a solid freshman season at the University of Minnesota, finishing with 11 points in 30 games.

We'll have more later in the day, as the U.S. starts three days of intrasquad scrimmages with 42 players -- four goalies, 12 defensemen and 26 forwards.


 
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