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2011 World Junior Championship

Schenn's huge game leads Canada over Czechs

Tuesday, 12.28.2010 / 7:03 PM / 2011 World Junior Championship

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

BUFFALO -- Brayden Schenn displayed Tuesday why he was such a monumental addition to the Canadian National Junior Team lineup at the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Schenn, who was added to Team Canada's roster on Dec. 4 after being returned to his junior team by the Los Angeles Kings, struck for a goal and 4 assists to lead his country to a 7-2 victory over the Czech Republic to remain unbeaten in Group B preliminary-round completion on Tuesday at HSBC Arena.

Schenn, who notched 2 assists in eight games for the Kings, played for Canada at the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship in Saskatchewan, winning a silver medal. Canada also received a fine effort from captain Ryan Ellis, who had a goal and 2 assists. Jaden Schwartz, Louis Leblanc, Cody Eakin, Tyson Barrie and Jared Cowen also scored to the delight of the thousands of Canadian fans in attendance.
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No more questioning Cizikas' roster spot

Tuesday, 12.28.2010 / 10:22 AM / 2011 World Junior Championship

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

"It was a huge PK. The shift got the emotion and fans into it and in the end got the team to play with emotion. I thought we were nervous to start and nervous early. When you play in an elite tournament like this, you have to be patient." -- Dave Cameron

BUFFALO -- Here's a question Canada National Junior Team coach Dave Cameron would prefer you keep to yourself.
 
"What did the coaching staff see in Casey Cizikas that earned him a spot on this hockey team?"
 
"What? Who said that?" a stern-faced Cameron asked. You almost got the feeling Cameron was ready to hop over the railing that separates the players and coaches from the media to "discuss" the issue one-on-one with the daring questioner.
 
Of course, that never happened.
 
"Casey is the captain of No. 1 team in Canada," said Cameron. "He's smart, knows how to get the job done and will do whatever it takes."
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Campbell has instilled confidence in U.S. team

Monday, 12.27.2010 / 5:24 PM / 2011 World Junior Championship

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

BUFFALO -- A wide grin adorns the face of Nick Bjugstad when asked to describe his U.S. National Junior Team roommate in Buffalo for the duration of the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Meet goalie Jack Campbell -- Mr. Meticulous.

"Jack is always on time, he's always early, he's always leaving 20 minutes early for the bus," Bjugstad told NHL.com. "I don't usually go with him, but he's the nicest kid around and it's an honor to be able to room with him."

Campbell doesn't deny the fact he's a tad over the top, but he doesn't really care. It works.
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Ellis combines veteran presence with elite play

Monday, 12.27.2010 / 4:07 PM / 2011 World Junior Championship

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

"I remember being on the ice and not wanting to be there. I was so nervous. I can understand what the young players are going through in this tournament; it's nerve-racking." -- Ryan Ellis on playing in the 2009 WJC

BUFFALO -- Defenseman Ryan Ellis remembers his first World Junior Championship experience as if it were yesterday.
 
Or does he?
 
"I remember being on the ice and not wanting to be there," Ellis said. "I was so nervous. I can understand what the young players are going through in this tournament; it's nerve-racking."
 
Ellis was certainly thrown right into the fire for Team Canada during the 2009 WJC, but he'd set a Canadian record for most points by a 17-year-old defenseman with seven, helping lead his country to a gold medal.
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Fischer part of Czech strategy of adapting to changes

Monday, 12.27.2010 / 12:34 PM / 2011 World Junior Championship

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

BUFFALO -- There was a time when the Czech Republic was considered a perennial contender at the World Junior Championship.

The program boasted back-to-back gold medals in 2000 and 2001 behind players such as Martin Havlat, Radim Vrbata, Martin Erat and Tomas Plekanec, and three Czechs (goalie Tomas Duba, defenseman Rostislav Klesla and forward Pavel Brendl) earned the tournament's best player awards at their positions in 2001.

Since then, however, the Czech Republic has fallen on hard times, winning just one medal -- a bronze in 2005 -- since then. And that was due in large part to goaltender Marek Schwarz, a 2004 first-round draft pick of the St. Louis Blues. The Czech Republic hasn't finished higher than fifth the last five tournaments.

So what's the problem with Czech hockey?
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Bjugstad nets overtime winner for U.S.

Monday, 12.27.2010 / 12:24 AM / 2011 World Junior Championship

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

BUFFALO -- The U.S. National Junior Team began the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship the same way it ended last year's tournament -- with a dramatic victory in overtime.

Only, instead of celebrating a win against Canada in the gold-medal game, as it did 11 months ago, the U.S. survived a scare from Finland in the first game of the Group A preliminary round.

Nick Bjugstad was the hero, scoring an unassisted goal off a shot from the left circle that beat screened Finland goalie Joni Ortio through the five-hole before and trickled over the line with just 1:52 remaining in the extra session to give the U.S. a 3-2 win Sunday here at HSBC Arena.
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Johansen propels Canada to win in WJC opener

Sunday, 12.26.2010 / 8:23 PM / 2011 World Junior Championship

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

BUFFALO --  In a fitting tribute to Boxing Day in Canada, two goliaths of the 2011 World Junior Championship went toe-to-toe Sunday before a capacity crowd at HSBC Arena.

In the end, Team Canada delivered the knockout blow with three goals in the third period en route to a 6-3 victory against Russia in the first preliminary-round match of Group B for both teams.

"Both teams played whistle-to-whistle and I thought it took us some time to absorb the game and tighten up in some areas, but in the third period, we came out strong," Team Canada coach Dave Cameron said.
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Baertschi is drawing comparisons to Niederreiter

Friday, 12.24.2010 / 9:00 AM / 2011 World Junior Championship

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

While comparisons between fellow countrymen Nino Niederreiter and Sven Baertschi are intriguing; truth of the matter is one is literally banging on the NHL door while the other is, well, close.
 
But all that won't mean much from Dec. 26 through Jan. 5 when Niederreiter and Baertschi team up for one goal at the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo, N.Y. There are few, if any, similarities between the two Swiss-born stars, teammates for the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League.
 
"Niederreiter stays more on the boards and bangs more to get the puck," NHL Central Scouting's Blair MacDonald told NHL.com. "Baertschi is a finesse player. He has very quick hands and is a deft puckhandler. His radar vision probably makes him the best in the WHL at distributing the puck."

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U.S. looks like favorite to defend, but it won't be easy

Thursday, 12.23.2010 / 4:32 PM / 2011 World Junior Championship

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Is it ridiculous to think the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship will top last year's dramatic overtime finish in the gold-medal game between the U.S. and Canada?
 
Not necessarily, according to veteran broadcaster Dave Starman, who will serve as color analyst for NHL Network's coverage of Team U.S.'s games for the third straight year.
 
"If the U.S. can reach the gold-medal game once again, and win it against Canada once again, then you would probably end up with the same type of drama," Starman told NHL.com. "But last year is going to be pretty hard to beat."

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Sabres ready to welcome world to Buffalo for WJC

Thursday, 12.23.2010 / 1:45 PM / 2011 World Junior Championship

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Tom Ahearn, the Buffalo Sabres' Director of Arena Services, knows exactly what's facing him in hosting the 2011 World Junior Championship in the middle of the Sabres' season.

"If you think about it, it's 21 games in 10 days," Ahearn told NHL.com. "That's half the Sabres' season."

While that might make some palms sweaty, the staffers tasked with bringing off this international tournament are just rolling up their sleeves and going to work.

The WJC runs Dec. 26 to Jan. 5, 2011; but for the Sabres, the tournament is the culmination of nearly two years of build-up.

"This is a significant event," Sabres Director of Public Relations Michael Gilbert told NHL.com. "Avid hockey fans in Buffalo know it; the casual hockey fan or person in Buffalo has no idea the size and scope of this event. Other than the Olympics, this is the next prestigious ice hockey tournament in the world. And we have the fortune to be hosting it here in Buffalo."

"This is a significant event. Avid hockey fans in Buffalo know it; the casual hockey fan or person in Buffalo has no idea the size and scope of this event. Other than the Olympics, this is the next prestigious ice hockey tournament in the world. And we have the fortune to be hosting it here in Buffalo." -- Michael Gilbert, Sabres Director of Public Relations

Count Sabres Managing Partner Larry Quinn among those who know exactly how important the World Juniors is. Quinn had watched the 2003 World Juniors in Halifax and was approached by members of USA Hockey to gauge the interest in potentially bringing the event to Buffalo.

On Oct. 27, 2008, it was announced Buffalo would host the 2011 event.

"Buffalo is a wonderful city and we could not be more pleased to be bringing the World Juniors to western New York," Ron DeGregorio, president of USA Hockey, said at the time of the announcement. "The Sabres are a first-class organization and the participants and fans from around the world will have the chance to experience that first hand."

In order to pull that off, Ahearn has enlisted every member of the Sabres' organization and HSBC Center staff, as well as a number of a legion of others.
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