The Blue Jackets had four prospects representing four different countries at the World Junior Championships in Ottawa the past two weeks. Nikita Filatov (Russia), Cody Goloubef (Canada), Tomas Kubalik (Czech Republic) and Theo Ruth (United States) were all picked to represent their respective countries at this years tournament.
Filatov had a successful outing, bringing home a bronze medal as a member of Russia, while also being named to the World Junior Championship All-Star Team for his performance throughout the tournament.
Russia's captain appeared in seven games, registering eight goals and three assists for 11 points along with six penalty minutes and a +3 plus/minus. The forward also scored two power play goals.
The bronze medal is Filatov's second in the tournament. In 2008, he also played with Russia in the tournament, where he tallied four goals and five assists for nine points along with a +7 in seven games.
GOLOUBEF BRINGS HOME THE GOLD; OTHER PROSPECTS PERFORM WELL
Goloubef helped the Canadian squad win the gold medal with a 5-1 victory over Sweden on Jan. 5. The defenseman finished with a +1 plus/minus and two penalty minutes in the gold medal game.
Goloubef finished second on the Canadian squad with a +10 plus/minus and also tallied an assist and eight penalty minutes in six games during the tournament.
The two other Blue Jackets prospects also performed well for their respective teams. Ruth finished with a +1 plus/minus and 25 penalty minutes for the United States that took fifth place with a 3-2 overtime win over the Czech Republic. Kubalik appeared in six games for the Czech Republic and notched two assists, four penalty minutes and a -1 plus/minus.
CURRENT BLUE JACKETS COMMENT ON WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
While Blue Jackets prospects were playing in the World Junior Championships, several current Jackets were busy following the action and their home country.
Goaltender Steve Mason had a lot of success at last year's World Junior Championships. He went 5-0-0 with a 1.19 goals against average, a .951 save percentage and one shutout. In addition to winning the gold medal with Canada, he was named the top goaltender and tournament MVP. He comments on what it was like to win a gold medal and earn major recognition.
"It's nice to get that kind of recognition," said Mason. "But the whole purpose of the tournament is to win a gold medal. Obviously, that was the most important thing and all of the other things were just kind of icing on the cake."
Kris Russell won two gold medals at the World Junior Championships with Canada in 2006 and 2007. He talked about why he followed this years tournament closely.
"I think a lot of (NHL) hockey players follow the tournament," said Russell. "Whether they played in it or not. I played with Tyler Ennis and my coach in juniors is an assistant coach on the team, so I've been following closely. It’s a high end tournament with a lot of great players and you can tell with some of the success of the (Patrick) Kane's and (Peter) Mueller's, how good the tournament is."
Jakub Voracek represented the Czech Republic at the World Junior Championships from 2006-2008. He talked about his two appearances in the tournament and what the tournament is like.
"World Juniors is the biggest tournament of the year," said Voracek. "There are always a lot of people watching it, especially here in North America. I played in it twice and it was fun, especially the second year because the first year I didn't play as much. I played against (Nikita) Filatov (last year) and I didn’t play against Russell, but I was there when he was there (two years ago). It’s a lot of (top end talent) guys – Patrick Kane, Peter Mueller – a lot of great players."
STAT OF THE WEEK
15 The number of total medals won by current Blue Jackets and prospects in the World Junior Championships. Combined the group has won a total of eight gold, two silver and five bronze. The following is a list of players that have won medals: Nikita Filatov (two bronze), Cody Goloubef (gold), Stefan Legein (gold), Rostislav Klesla (gold), Pascal Leclaire (silver), Derek MacKenzie (bronze), Manny Malhotra (bronze), Steve Mason (gold), Rick Nash (silver), Kris Russell (two gold), Raffi Torres (one bronze) and Fedor Tyutin (two gold).