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2012 World Junior Championship

Czechs face tough road to regaining WJC prominence

Monday, 12.26.2011 / 7:26 PM / 2012 World Junior Championship

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

EDMONTON -- There was a time when the Czech Republic was considered a powerhouse 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 Klesa and forward Pavel Brendl) even earned the tournament's best player awards in 2001 when the event was staged on rival territory in Russia.

But the Czech Republic has since fallen on hard times, producing just a single bronze medal in 2005. The Czechs haven't finished higher than fifth the last six tournaments -- placing a disappointing seventh the last three years.
This year's 22-player roster, which includes three goalies, does boast a higher skill level and more experience than last year's version. But until the Czechs start winning a few preliminary-round contests and prove competitive, it's hard to consider the nation serious contenders.

Jason Zucker named captain for Team USA at WJC

Friday, 12.23.2011 / 1:20 PM / 2012 World Junior Championship

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Minnesota Wild prospect Jason Zucker on Friday was named captain of the U.S. National Junior Team for the upcoming 2012 World Junior Championship in Edmonton and Calgary, Alta.
Zucker, drafted in the second round (No. 59) by the Wild in 2010, is one of two players on this year's roster who has appeared in the last three WJC events for Team USA. Goalie Jack Campbell is the other.
Defenseman Jarred Tinordi and forward Emerson Etem were named alternate captains. Zucker, Campbell, Tinordi and Etem are four of seven returning players from last year's bronze medal-winning team in Buffalo, N.Y. The U.S. will begin preliminary-round play in Group B of this year's tournament in Edmonton at Rexall Place on Monday against Denmark (8 p.m. ET, NHLN-US).

WJC invasion has Oilers, Flames hitting road

Friday, 12.23.2011 / 10:05 AM / 2012 World Junior Championship

Aaron Vickers - Correspondent

With the World Juniors rolling into Edmonton and Calgary, the Oilers and Flames are flying out.

The tournament, using both Rexall Place in Edmonton and the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary as host sites, has forced  both NHL clubs to take to the road on lengthy road trips.

Flames captain Jarome Iginla has no problem with sharing his home rink with the hundreds of junior hopefuls.

Experience makes Hay right man to coach Canada

Friday, 12.23.2011 / 9:57 AM / 2012 World Junior Championship

Aaron Vickers - Correspondent

A lot has changed in hockey since the World Junior Championship was last held in Alberta in 1995.

One thing that hasn't, though, is Canada's coach, Don Hay.

Hay, who coached Team Canada to a gold medal at the 1995 tournament in Red Deer, will return behind Canada's bench at the 2012 World Juniors in Edmonton and Calgary. He is looking for a golden repeat.

OK, maybe Hay himself has changed -- just a little, he says.

Group A is intriguing mix of contenders, spoilers

Thursday, 12.22.2011 / 1:05 PM / 2012 World Junior Championship

Aaron Vickers - Correspondent

In 2011, it was the hunter. At this year's World Junior Championship, Russia becomes the hunted.
The Russian Hockey Federation would like nothing more than to defend the gold medal it captured last year in Buffalo, proving last year's come-from-behind victory against Canada was no fluke. After garnering its first gold medal in eight years, the Russians will get the opportunity to start their defense on Boxing Day in Calgary when it opens this year's tournament against Switzerland in Group A.

WJC Group B: CAN, USA and FIN possible medalists

Thursday, 12.22.2011 / 10:52 AM / 2012 World Junior Championship

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

After spoiling Canadian hockey fans with five straight gold medal-winning performances at the World Junior Championship, the Canadian National Junior Team hasn't exactly produced memorable finishes for its rabid followers the past two years.
First there was the 6-5 overtime loss to the United States in the 2010 gold medal match Saskatchewan. Then there was the inexplicable meltdown in the third period against the Russians in last year's gold-medal game in Buffalo when Team Canada allowed five unanswered goals on 10 shots in a 5-3 defeat.
Certainly, those disappointments are on the minds of returning players to this year's Canadian team. Instead of dwelling on the negative, however, many of them are using it as a motivational tool to do things a little differently.

WJC veteran Campbell keys U.S. hopes for gold

Thursday, 12.22.2011 / 10:40 AM / 2012 World Junior Championship

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Those familiar with U.S. National Junior Team goalie Jack Campbell will tell you the kid has ice in his veins when it comes to performing on the highest international stage at the World Junior Championship.

He's proven it the last two years and is determined to do so one final time this year in Edmonton and Calgary, Alta., beginning Dec. 26.

"Just to represent my country for the World Juniors, in itself, is a great honor, but to do it for a third straight year is pretty crazy," Campbell told "I still remember a few years ago when I made it for my first time [in 2010]. Ever since, I've never taken it for granted. It's been such an accomplishment, and it's a credit to my coaches and teammates who have helped me along the way."

Campbell, six other returning players highlight Team USA roster at WJC

Thursday, 12.22.2011 / 10:35 AM / 2012 World Junior Championship

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

U.S. National Junior Team coach Dean Blais believes he has found the players who will help lead the team to its second gold medal in three years at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Not long after his club had scored a 7-3 victory against Switzerland on Wednesday in an exhibition match in Camrose, Alta., Blais and his managerial team had the arduous task of trimming their roster by five players to reach the  22-player roster limit.
Mission accomplished. Now the coach can get down to business in preparing for the 11-day tournament that begins Monday and concludes on Jan. 5.

Gallagher knows Hay well, lets grit prove he belongs

Wednesday, 12.21.2011 / 2:30 PM / 2012 World Junior Championship

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

It's fair to say Brendan Gallagher may be the one player on the Canadian National Junior Team capable of providing the most accurate assessment of coach Don Hay.

The reason is quite obvious -- Gallagher has spent the last three seasons playing for Hay on the Vancouver Giants in Western Hockey League. Hay has been coach of the Giants since 2004, winning a Memorial Cup in 2007, the third of his illustrious career.

"The one thing you learn about Don very quickly is he's very intense and very competitive," Gallagher said. "He knows how to win hockey games. If you do what he wants you to do, play hard and compete, you'll have no problems … he'll like you. He loves competitive, smart players, so if you're able to do that you'll be on his good side."

Report: Canes won't release Faulk for WJC

Monday, 12.19.2011 / 12:35 PM / 2012 World Junior Championship

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Citing the importance of having defenseman Justin Faulk in his lineup for the foreseeable future, Carolina Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford on Monday confirmed to the Raleigh News Observer that the rookie defenseman would not be made available to the U.S. National Junior Team for the upcoming 2012 World Junior Championship.

Faulk was one of eight returning players invited to U.S. selection camp that opened Saturday in Camrose, Alta. He helped the U.S. National Team win a bronze medal at the 2011 World Junior Championship in Buffalo, N.Y. Faulk had 1 goal, 4 points and a plus-2 rating at last year's event. This year's tournament will be held in Edmonton and Calgary beginning Dec. 26.

Faulk is second on team in ice time (21:50) through 18 games with Carolina this season. He also has 28 hits and 20 blocked shots, in addition to 4 points and a minus-9 rating.

Team USA coach Dean Blais has said his final 22-man roster would likely be named on Dec. 22. The camp will include exhibition games against Russia on Dec. 20 in Red Deer, Switzerland on Dec. 21 in Camrose, and Slovakia on Dec. 23 in Three Hills.
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