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FEATURE: Severson emerges from Worlds experience ready to tackle 2019-20

"There's just a lot to be excited about looking ahead. Let's keep it rolling" -- Damon Severson

by Julie Robenhymer / Special to newjerseydevils.com

BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA - At the end of last year, Damon Severson had just competed the first year of a six-year contract and, as he said with a shrug, "It was just ok."

That's when he realized that he had a lot more to give and needed to double down on his commitment to play at his very best in order to take another step forward in his career because just ok wasn't good enough.

"It's real easy to doubt yourself at this level and it's hard to play well when you're not confident," he said. "So, when I looked back on that year and felt that I could've been better, I said to myself, 'These guys committed to me with a long term for a reason and I believe in myself, I know what I can do and I know what I can bring to the team to help us win.' Then it just became a matter of putting in the work to make sure I was playing up to my potential.

"I wanted to prepare myself to be locked in all season and be a guy that's really counted on and create that internal competition within myself and show my teammates that I'm there every night and they know what they can get out of me," he continued.

He hoped it would end in a playoff run with the Devils. Instead, it ended with an invitation from Hockey Canada to represent his country at the 2019 IIHF World Championship in Slovakia.

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WORLDS: Kakko completes an unbelievable 13-month stretch with world title

"He will be one of the best players in the world" -- Finnish head coach Jukko Jalonen

by Julie Robenhymer / Special to newjerseydevils.com

In the last 13 months, Kaapo Kakko has won the U-18 world championship, world junior championship and completed the trifecta Sunday night in Bratislava, Slovakia when Team Finland defeated Team Canada 3-1 to win the 2019 IIHF Men's World Championship. It's a gold medal hat trick that only six players have done before. 

The 18-year-old, who is the top-ranked European prospect for the upcoming NHL Draft in Vancouver next month, finished the tournament with six goals and an assist for seven points in ten games and, in the process, made the debate revolving around him and Jack Hughes, the top-ranked North American prospect, and which one the New Jersey Devils should pick first overall a lot more interesting. 

According to Finland's head coach Jukko Jalonen, there is no debate. 

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WORLDS: Finland tops Canada for Gold

The Finns bookended the tournament with 3-1 win over Canada -- the only team to defeat Canada at the Worlds

by Amanda Stein / newjerseydevils.com

Take a look back at our coverage over the past three weeks of Devils players plus Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko at the 2019 IIHF World Championship at newjerseydevils.com/worlds.

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WORLDS: Canada, Finland to meet in Gold Medal Game

Finland tops Russia 1-0 and Canada defeats Czech Republic 5-1 as both advance to Sunday's Gold Medal Game

by Amanda Stein / newjerseydevils.com

For full coverage of the Devils competing in this month's World Championship and their individual and country's performances, visit our international page at newjerseydevils.com/worlds.

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WORLDS: Hughes breaks out in final game of tournament

"He was a superstar tonight" -- USA head coach Jeff Blashill

by Julie Robenhymer / Special to newjerseydevils.com

BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA -- Amidst questions about whether he was strong enough to play against men and if he could have the same kind of offensive impact at this level as he's had against his peers, Jack Hughes came to the 2019 IIHF World Championship with two goals in mind: learning everything he could about what it takes to play against pros and winning a gold medal for USA Hockey. 

After USA's 4-3 loss to Russia in the quarterfinal, the gold medal is off the table, but after being a healthy scratch against Canada to close out the preliminary round, the projected first overall selection of the upcoming NHL Draft put together his best game of the tournament, earned two assists and was named Team USA's player of the game.

Hughes showed that when it comes to his potential, he's just scratching the surface. 

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WORLDS: Q & A with Canada's quarter final hero Damon Severson

Amanda Stein caught up with the Devils defenseman after his miraculous game-tying goal helped lift Canada into the semi finals

by Amanda Stein / newjerseydevils.com

New Jersey Devils defenseman Damon Severson is currently in Slovakia with Team Canada at the IIHF World Championship. It is the first time Severson is representing his country on the men's national team and on Thursday, he scored the game-tying goal against Switzerland with just 0.4 seconds left on the clock before Canada went on to win the game in overtime. NewJerseyDevils.com's Amanda Stein had a chance to speak with Damon from Slovakia following the game:

Amanda Stein: First off, congratulations on the quarterfinal win! That was a really exciting finish! With 0.4 seconds left, you tie the game up for Canada. What was that like to score your first goal of the tournament and in that fashion?

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WORLDS DAY 14: Severson's buzzer beater leads Canada to semi finals

Hughes named USA's player of the game with two assists; Severson scores with 0.4 seconds left to get Canada to OT where they would ultimately defeat Switzerland

by Amanda Stein / newjerseydevils.com

For full coverage of the Devils competing in this month's World Championship and their individual and country's performances, visit our international page at newjerseydevils.com/worlds.

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WORLDS DAY 12: Final day of the round robin

Finland falls to Germany, Canada defeats USA, Sweden falls to Russia as tournament heads into quarterfinals

by Amanda Stein / newjerseydevils.com

For full coverage of the Devils competing in this month's World Championship and their individual and country's performances, visit our international page at newjerseydevils.com/worlds.

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WORLDS DAY 11: Severson assists; Mackenzie sees first action in tourney

Pulling their goaltender in need of a regulation win, Latvia dropped a 5-4 decision to Sweden due to an empty-net goal allowed

by Amanda Stein / newjerseydevils.com

For full coverage of the Devils competing in this month's World Championship and their individual and country's performances, visit our international page at newjerseydevils.com/worlds.

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WORLDS DAY 10: Schneider shuts the door as USA edges Germany

Cory Schneider turned away 24 shots to help USA to victory while Switzerland and Finland also win

by Amanda Stein / newjerseydevils.com

For full coverage of the Devils competing in this month's World Championship and their individual and country's performances, visit our international page at newjerseydevils.com/worlds.

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