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Skjei a natural go-between for USA teammates, Lucia

by Adam Kimelman

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Brady Skjei has been a valuable player for the United States during this week's junior evaluation camp. Not only for his skill with the puck, but for his role in translating coach Don Lucia's instructions to his teammates.

Skjei is the only player on the United States roster to play for Lucia, the coach at the University of Minnesota. As a freshman at Minnesota last season, the defenseman and New York Rangers first-round draft pick (No. 28, 2012) had three points and a plus-11 rating in 36 games.

With that built-in knowledge of how Lucia wants to play the game, Skjei served as a solid buffer over the first few days of the camp as the players adjusted.

"In the first practices, for sure," Skjei said of his extra role. "There was a drill that guys were like, 'What's going on?' I went first and showed them how to do it."

Skjei said it's been a growing process for his teammates as they spend more time around Lucia and the rest of the coaching staff.

"Guys are easy [to teach] and they've all played enough hockey that they understand what's going on," he said.


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