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WORLDS MEDAL ROUND: Sweden repeats, four from Jackets earn medals

Kukan earns silver with Switzerland; Zito, Atkinson and Milano win bronze with U.S.

by Julie Robenhymer / BlueJackets.com

COPENHAGEN, Denmark - After three weeks, 64 games and 384 goals, the 2018 IIHF Men's World Championship is over and Sweden is the repeat champion, defeating Switzerland and Blue Jackets defenseman Dean Kukan 3-2 in a shootout Sunday at Royal Arena.

Kukan earned a silver medal and is one of four from the Blue Jackets to earn medals in the tournament, joining forwards Cam Atkinson and Sonny Milano plus assistant general manager Bill Zito of the United States - which downed Canada 4-1 in the bronze-medal game.

"I thought we deserved a little better fate [in the semifinals against Sweden], but it is what it is and today we had a chance to play for a medal," said Atkinson, who finished with seven goals, four assists and 11 points in 10 games for the U.S. "Now, we're taking something home with us and it's huge for USA Hockey. "It's been a great experience for me, learning about a new culture and a new country, meeting new teammates and new coaches. It's been great. It's not the color [of medal] we wanted, but we found a way to get it done and bring home a medal."

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Bronze victory caps memorable U.S. run at world championship

Assembled by Blue Jackets assistant GM Bill Zito, Team USA earns medal with another win vs. Canada.

by Brian Hedger @JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

This past winter, Jim Johannson had fun informing players they'd been chosen to represent the United States for the men's hockey team at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.

Johannson, USA Hockey's executive director prior to his unexpected death Jan. 21, called every player on the team, which was comprised of non-NHL players per the league's decision to not participate. Each call Johansson made was emotional, which he loved.

The emotions were on the other end of the phone when Blue Jackets assistant general manager Bill Zito made those calls this spring, while putting together a U.S. roster for the 2018 IIHF Men's World Championship in Denmark.

"It was the other way around for me," joked Zito, who was chosen to be GM for the U.S. team, which won the bronze medal Sunday with a 4-1 victory against Canada in Copenhagen. "It was me calling the guys back a few times or the guy wouldn't even take my call."

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WORLDS SEMIFINALS: And then there was one ...

Switzerland's Kukan the lone Blue Jackets player with chance to win gold Sunday; Atkinson, Milano, Dubois and Murray to play for bronze.

by Julie Robenhymer / BlueJackets.com

COPENHAGEN, Denmark - The Blue Jackets had 11 players at the 2018 IIHF World Championship this month, but only one has a chance to win a gold medal.

It might not be your first guess, either.

Defenseman Dean Kukan, who helped Switzerland defeat Canada 3-2 on Saturday at Royal Arena, will now go for the gold against Sweden on Sunday in the championship game (2 p.m., NHL Network) - looking to help the Swiss pull off a third straight upset.

Kukan, playing in his fourth world championship, said it will be the biggest game of his career.

"There've been a couple big ones - Calder Cup finals and world junior quarterfinal games - but I would say this is the biggest one," said Kukan, who has a goal, two assists and three points in nine games. "It's huge for us to be in the finals as a smaller country. It wasn't a pretty win tonight, but we'll take it."

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WORLDS: Dubois still going strong for Canada, in pursuit of a medal

Rookie doing what he did this season, earning center role and more ice time.

by Julie Robenhymer BlueJacketsNHL / BlueJackets.com

When the Blue Jackets were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Pierre-Luc Dubois had already played 88 games.

That was the most the 19-year old rookie had ever played in a season by a wide margin, after he'd already set a franchise rookie record by playing in all 82 regular-season games. Dubois was ready for the offseason, even talking about taking a few weeks off, but he had one exception.

That exception came to fruition when officials from Hockey Canada offered an invitation to represent his country at the 2018 IIHF Men's World Championship in Denmark.

"I already had it in my mind that if they asked, I was going to come," said Dubois, who's from Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Quebec. "I'm really honored and happy to be here. There are so many good players and even just being around to practice with and against them, it makes you better. It's a really big challenge to play with them, but it's a lot of fun too."

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Blue Jackets to Participate In Kraft Hockeyville USA 2018 Preseason Game

Columbus, Buffalo Sabres to face off in Clinton, New York on Tuesday, September 25

by BlueJackets.com Staff BlueJacketsNHL / BlueJackets.com

The Columbus Blue Jackets and Buffalo Sabres will face off in a preseason game in Clinton, New York, the Kraft Hockeyville™ USA 2018 winning community, on Tuesday, September 25, the clubs, National Hockey League and National Hockey League Players' Association announced tonight. 

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One tough 'cookie': OSU student aiming for gaming world title

Matt Gutkoski, aka 'Top Shelf Cookie' headed to Connecticut for regional round of new tournament.

by Brian Hedger @JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

Easter dinner was in full swing and the Gutkoskis, of Lewis Center, were enjoying the day.

Matt Gutkoski, however, had a slight issue. Time was ticking, there was an important hockey game he needed to play and the 20-year old Ohio State marketing student excused himself with an awkward explanation that included a video game in the basement.

Top Shelf Cookie full bio

"I was at Easter dinner and I was like, 'Hey guys, I'm really sorry, but I've got to leave right now,'" said Gutkoski, who became one of eight online competitors who qualified for the American regional in the 2018 NHL Gaming World Championships on Sunday at NBC Sports studio in Stamford, Conn. "It's hard to explain, because I was like, 'Hey, I'm going to play a video game.' It was like, 'Uh … OK.'"

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'WORLDS' RESET: Atkinson, Dubois help U.S. and Canada advance

Each scored a goal in quarterfinal victories; Nutivaara scores in Finland loss

by Brian Hedger @JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

Five Blue Jackets players are moving onto the semifinal stage of the 2018 IIHF Men's World Championship and the offseason has officially begun for four others.

After an exciting day of hockey Thursday in Denmark, which was filled with one-goal games, the Blue Jackets had more to be happy about, including performances by Cam Atkinson of the U.S. and Canada's Pierre-Luc Dubois - who each scored goals to help their teams advance to the semifinals Saturday at Royal Arena in Copenhagen.

Atkinson's goal was his seventh of the tournament, scored in a 3-2 victory against the Czech Republic, while Dubois scored his third goal in eight games for Canada, which edged Russia 5-4 in overtime.

"It's huge," Atkinson said of U.S. win, which guaranteed the Americans will at least play for a medal. "Like I said before this game, we're a confident bunch. We were up 2-0 [in the first period]. They're obviously a good team, so they were resilient and came back. We just found a way to get it done and we're ready for the next challenge ahead of us."

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Catching up with Cam: jersey numbers, staying hot and going for gold

Jackets forward happy with his play, new number and the chance to earn a medal.

by Brian Hedger @JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

Like his Blue Jackets teammates, Cam Atkinson wasn't ready for the season to end.

After missing more than a month's worth of games because of two injury issues, not to mention a frustrating start to the season statistically, Atkinson was ready for more after Columbus was eliminated by the Washington Capitals in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

He was invited to join the U.S. contingent in Denmark for the 2018 IIHF Men's World Championship and didn't need much prodding from Bill Zito, the Blue Jackets' assistant general manager who constructed Team USA's roster as its general manager for the tournament.

It turned out to be a great decision by Atkinson, who's had a new jersey number in Denmark (89), but similar results to the final two-plus months of the season. After racking up 33 points (18 goals, 15 assists) in the final 33 games of the regular season, and adding four more in the playoffs (two goals, two assists), Atkinson hasn't missed a beat.

Heading into a quarterfinal matchup against the Czech Republic on Thursday in Herning, he's tied for sixth in overall scoring with 10 points (six goals, four assists) and is playing on the top line with Chicago Blackhawks star right wing Patrick Kane, the U.S. captain.

Following Team USA's loss to Finland on Tuesday, BlueJackets.com caught up with Atkinson by phone for an interview. Here's how it went:

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WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: U.S. not shy about goal in Denmark: win for 'J.J.'

Zito, Atkinson and Milano gearing up for quarterfinals with Jim Johannson in mind.

by Brian Hedger @JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

The elephant residing in Team USA's locker room at the 2018 IIHF Men's World Championship is the center of attention.

They're playing to honor the memory of Jim Johannson, the beloved former USA Hockey executive director, whose sudden death Jan. 21 at age 53 shocked the hockey world.

"It's out there now," said Bill Zito, Blue Jackets' assistant general manager and GM of the U.S. team. "It's no longer the ever-present elephant in the room. We took our team picture [Monday], and 'J.J.' had a spot in the middle of the front row. We talk about him all the time. We celebrate him. It went from being that unspoken thing to, 'Don't forget that we're going to try to win for 'J.J.'"

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#CBJ Social Roundup: May 4

Celebrating mothers, traveling the world and more in this week's #CBJ social roundup

by BlueJackets.com Staff @BlueJacketsNHL / BlueJackets.com

Sunday was a special day for mothers everywhere, and the guys took the opportunity to celebrate their moms. Throughout the week, players have traveled the world to get some rest and relaxation and to visit teammates competing at the 2018 IIHF World Championships in Denmark.

This week's #CBJ social roundup:

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