Brock Nelson leads Team USA with nine points (six goals, three assists) through six games at the IIHF World Championships in the Czech Republic. He is two behind Sweden’s Filip Forsberg for the tournament lead in goals and is tied for third in overall points. The Isles forward has hit the scoresheet in every game so far and is riding a five-game goal-scoring streak.
With Nelson leading the way on the scoresheet, Team USA is off to a 5-0-0-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L) start and is looking for its first gold medal at the Worlds since 1960.
NewYorkIslanders.com caught up with Nelson to talk about scoring goals, Team USA and his draft-eligible linemate Jack Eichel.
NewYorkIslanders: You’re tied for the tournament lead in goals. What’s going right for you over there?
Brock Nelson: “I’m trying to shoot more, trying to find open areas. Playing with Jack [Eichel] and Trevor [Lewis], they’ve made a couple of nice plays to set me up. A couple easy goals, but it’s a credit to the making the plays.
NYI: Last year you scored seven points (five goals, two assists) in your first World Championships. How has last year’s experience helped you get off to such a fast start this year?
BN: Last year was fun. It was the first time for me, so it was cool to come over, play and experience it. It’s disappointing to lose in the playoffs, but getting the chance to come here and play for Team USA is something you look forward to when you get that opportunity. Being in my second year, I’m more comfortable, I know what to expect. It’s a quick tournament, but a long one at the same time. You play seven games [in 12 days] and then hopefully three more after that. It’s a good time. Guys are coming over here to win.
NYI: And you guys are winning. What’s made this team more successful?
BN: It’s a quick tournament here, so you have to try and mesh right away. This year we have a good group of young guys – a couple of guys who are emerging as players that are going to break into the NHL here in the next couple of years – and a couple older veteran guys that are our leaders. We have a lot of different pieces of the puzzle and it’s clicked from day one, even Anders and I coming in late, the group was very welcoming. It was fun to get over here and be a part of the team.
NYI: You’re getting a first-hand look at one of the league’s top prospects in Eichel. What have you seen from him?
BN: He’s definitely a one-of-a-kind player. He’s unique. He has a lot of creativity, a lot of skills, sees the ice very well and has made a couple of nice plays already to set up Trevor and me. He’s a strong skater, strong on the puck. He demands the puck and likes to have it on his stick. He’s definitely going to be an elite player.
NYI: You’re over there with Anders, who is at his first Worlds. How’s he enjoying the experience?
BN: He’s doing good. We’re roommates, so I spend a lot of time with him. He's a great guy to have around back in New York and to come over here together was pretty fun, it’s a unique experience. To have someone you’re familiar with makes it easier.