2015 NHL Draft
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2015 IIHF World Championship

Worlds gave Eichel valuable experience as draft nears

Monday, 05.18.2015 / 3:50 PM / 2015 IIHF World Championship

Michael Langr - NHL.com Correspondent

PRAGUE -- When Jack Eichel arrives in Florida for the 2015 NHL Draft next month, he'll bring with him valuable experience from top-level international hockey. Eichel, NHL Central Scouting's No. 2-rated North American skater for this year's draft, performed well at the IIHF World Championship in the Czech Republic, where he helped the United States win a bronze medal.

"It means a lot. I don't think anyone really thought we would be here at this position," Eichel said Sunday after he had an assist in a 3-0 win against the Czech Republic in the bronze-medal game. "For us to overcome a lot of odds and win a bronze medal in a tournament with a lot of skill and a lot of talent, it's really good for the confidence. We had a really young team. Our goaltender (Winnipeg Jets prospect Connor Hellebuyck) stepped up to play huge this entire tournament. For me personally it's really nice to get a medal from my first men's World Championship."

The 18-year old forward finished the tournament third on the United States in scoring with seven points in 10 games. Coach Todd Richards (Columbus Blue Jackets) put him on a line with forwards Trevor Lewis (Los Angeles Kings) and Brock Nelson (New York Islanders), and they developed into the best American line.

"Obviously there was a lot of good players around me that made me pretty successful here," Eichel said. "I've played with two NHLers and they helped me a lot. Not only them but everybody in the locker room. The coaches put me in really good situations."

Crosby in Triple Gold Club with World Championship

Sunday, 05.17.2015 / 9:15 PM / 2015 IIHF World Championship

Michael Langr - NHL.com Correspondent

PRAGUE -- Mission accomplished.

Sidney Crosby will head home with a gold medal from Canada's undefeated run at the 2015 IIHF World Championship, meaning he joined the Triple Gold Club for players who have won the Stanley Cup and gold at the Olympics and Worlds.

The Pittsburgh Penguins center is the 26th member of the Triple Gold Club, the ninth from Canada. He is the first member of the exclusive club to captain all three championship teams: the Penguins in 2009, Canada at the Olympics in Vancouver in 2010 and Sochi in 2014 and at the 2015 Worlds at Prague's O2 Arena.

"That's what we all came for, we came here to win, and obviously you've been part of different things like this, Olympics, World Juniors and all that stuff," Crosby said after winning the gold-medal game 6-1 against Russia on Sunday. "Different experiences and being able to accomplish this any time of the year, play for Team Canada, it's pretty special."


Russia to defend World title against Canada

Saturday, 05.16.2015 / 8:12 PM / 2015 IIHF World Championship

NHL.com Staff

Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin were part of one of the most famous international showdowns in hockey history, the championship game between Canada and Russia at the 2005 World Junior Championship.

Crosby and Canada defeated Ovechkin and Russia 6-1 that day. Since then, they've faced each other dozens of times during the NHL regular season, as well as in the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs and the 2010 and '14 Olympics. But they haven't met with a championship on the line. That will change Sunday when Crosby and Canada try to dethrone Ovechkin and defending champion Russia by winning in the gold-medal game at the IIHF World Championship in Prague, Czech Republic (2:45 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN). It follows the bronze-medal game between the United States and the Czech Republic (10:15 a.m. ET).

Each player is in Prague because his team was eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the New York Rangers. Crosby was named Canada's captain shortly after the Pittsburgh Penguins lost in five games in the first round; Ovechkin flew to Prague in time to score a goal and add an assist in Russia's 4-0 semifinal victory against the United States on Saturday after he and the Washington Capitals lost Game 7 of their second-round series in New York on Wednesday.

Crosby had an assist in undefeated Canada's 2-0 victory against the Czech Republic in the first semifinal. Though Crosby hasn't been among the team’s top scorers, Canada has scored a tournament-high 60 goals in winning each of its nine games.

Spezza's scoring prowess has Canada in Worlds final

Saturday, 05.16.2015 / 4:26 PM / 2015 IIHF World Championship

Michael Langr - NHL.com Correspondent

PRAGUE -- When you have center Jason Spezza on the roster, expect your team to score a lot of goals.

The Dallas Stars did it in the regular season, scoring 261 goals, second-highest in the NHL. And Canada has done it at the 2015 IIHF World Championship in Prague, scoring 60 goals in its first nine games.

But unlike the Stars, who didn't make it to the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season, Canada has been successful at the World Championship, defeating host Czech Republic on Saturday 2-0 and advancing to the gold-medal game Sunday against Russia (2:45 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN). Spezza scored Canada's second goal 9:02 into the second period.

"That was a big goal, because a two-goal lead gives you a little bit of cushion in case something goes wrong or you get a penalty," Spezza said. "For us we've talked all tournament about kind of playing with the lead, how it's important to play with the lead on the big ice. So I thought once again we got the lead and we found a way to win the game."

Ovechkin to help Russia challenge U.S. in semifinals

Friday, 05.15.2015 / 3:30 PM / 2015 IIHF World Championship

Michael Langr - NHL.com Correspondent

PRAGUE -- An evening before the semifinals of the 2015 IIHF World Championship, Prague's O2 Arena turned into a skating session for two NHL standouts who had come to help their countries in the medal round.

Before Montreal Canadiens center Tomas Plekanec took the ice after joining the host Czech Republic ahead of their semifinal against Canada, left wing Alex Ovechkin of Russia skated for about 20 minutes concluding a day when he landed in Prague, Czech Republic after an overseas flight.

The Russians cancelled their practice Friday, but Ovechkin wanted to adjust and shake off jetlag.

"The ice here is different. You have to prepare yourself for bigger ice, so it's normal for me," the Washington Capitals captain told a big crowd of reporters Friday in Prague. "I'm sleepy, but I know this situation. I'm gonna stay up until 10 or 11 and deal with the time difference."

Crosby hoping to help Canada end drought at Worlds

Thursday, 05.14.2015 / 4:34 PM / 2015 IIHF World Championship

Michael Langr - NHL.com Correspondent

PRAGUE -- Canada has won gold at consecutive Olympics, but hasn't been successful at the IIHF World Championship in recent years. Since 2009, when they brought home silver medals from Bern, Switzerland, the Canadians had been eliminated in the quarterfinals five times in a row.

On Thursday in the Czech Republic, a group of Canadian stars led by captain Sidney Crosby managed to break the quarterfinal spell in a spectacular way, defeating Belarus 9-0 to advance to the semifinals.

"It's nice," Crosby said after the quarterfinal win. "We put ourselves in a position to get to the finals. The important thing is to get better every game, and at this point it's win or go home. So we did a good job today doing that."

Invigorated Jagr powering Czech Republic at Worlds

Monday, 05.04.2015 / 4:40 PM / 2015 IIHF World Championship

Michael Langr - NHL.com Correspondent

PRAGUE -- Nine weeks ago, Jaromir Jagr looked like a second-rate forward of an average NHL team. He played on the third line of the New Jersey Devils, went scoreless for eight games in a row and seemed to lose his motivation on the ice.

Nowadays, the Florida Panthers veteran is proving he's still one of the biggest stars on the world stage. The star wing scored a goal in each of his first two appearances for the Czech Republic at the 2015 IIHF World Championship in Prague, looking in top form.

In the first two games against Sweden and Latvia, Jagr was one of the best players on the ice. There were moments when he skated past defensemen who were 20 years younger. He created a lot of chances for himself and his teammates, including a highlight-reel run where he split three Swedish players only to be stopped by goaltender Jhonas Enroth.

Seguin back in Prague hoping to lead Canada to gold

Friday, 05.01.2015 / 1:30 PM / 2015 IIHF World Championship

Michael Langr - NHL.com Correspondent

PRAGUE -- It's almost impossible for Dallas Stars forward Tyler Seguin to remember all of the 130 goals and 282 points he scored in his five NHL seasons. But he certainly remembers the first one. It happened far away from home, in Prague, Czech Republic. In the same arena where Seguin has come back to play at the 2015 IIHF World Championship as one of the stars for Canada.

"I remember I scored my first NHL goal here in Prague, in this arena, which is kind of cool," Seguin said after he and his teammates first showed up at O2 Arena on Thursday. "That was kind of a cool feeling to walk in this morning. I've been here to Prague before, it's a great city and I'm looking forward to walk around and see it again. But although it's a beautiful city, I didn't come here just because of some scenery. I came here to win gold and do the best for my country."

Crosby seeks Triple Gold as Canada captain at Worlds

Thursday, 04.30.2015 / 5:28 PM / 2015 IIHF World Championship

Michael Langr - NHL.com Correspondent

PRAGUE -- As an alternate captain and later as captain, Sidney Crosby helped Canada win two consecutive Olympic gold medals, at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Now, after being named captain again, he is on a mission to help Canada win its first IIHF World Championship since 2007.

The Pittsburgh Penguins forward took part in his first practice Thursday at O2 Arena in Prague; Canada begins the 16-nation tournament Friday against Latvia (10:15 a.m. ET).

"I'm excited," Crosby said. "Obviously, it's always a great honor to represent your country and this is a great event. The competition will be very good and I'm excited to be with this group of guys."

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