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World Juniors

World Junior Summer Showcase Day 7 notebook

Lundell not following in father's footsteps for Finland; Robertson showing versatility for U.S.

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

PLYMOUTH, Mich. -- Anton Lundell wants to have a long career as a professional hockey player, just like his father. But he isn't following exactly in his dad's footsteps.

Lundell, a 17-year-old top prospect for the 2020 NHL Draft, is a playmaking center (6-foot-1, 185 pounds) who had 19 points (nine goals, 10 assists) in 38 games with HIFK in Liiga, Finland's top professional league last season, and four points (one goal, three assists) in seven games to help Finland win the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Lundell doesn't have a point in two games at the World Junior Summer Showcase at USA Hockey Arena, but is tied for fourth on Finland with five shots on goal. He didn't play in an 8-3 win against Canada on Wednesday but likely will return to the lineup against the United States on Friday (4 p.m. ET; NHLN).

Anton's father, Jan Lundell, was a goaltender for 17 seasons in Europe, and has been the goaltending coach for HIFK since 2013-14.

"Of course me and my brother, we tried to be goalies," Anton said. "But I knew early it wasn't my thing. I like to be with the puck and score, things like that."

He appears to have made the right choice. 

"Lundell is an intelligent playmaker and an outstanding passer with excellent vision and understanding of the game," NHL Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb said. "Well-balanced skater, hard to knock off his skates. Protects the puck extremely well and outstanding finding a teammate in traffic. Excellent competitor, very focused."

Teammates have been impressed by what they've seen during the WJSS.

"I think the biggest thing is he's so smart," defenseman Ville Heinola (Winnipeg Jets) said. "Such a smart player. Sees the game really well, finds teammates all the time. He's getting better all the time."

 

Robertson taking brother's advice

U.S. forward Nicholas Robertson (Toronto Maple Leafs) made sure to speak to his older brother, Jason Robertson (Dallas Stars), who played at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship after attending the WJSS twice.

"He just said to enjoy it and just take a different perspective," Nicholas said Wednesday. "His first year he had a different perspective, it was a pretty stacked group and he maybe shied away a little bit. But his second year he really showcased himself. He said just showcase yourself now."

He's done just that, with two goals in four games, including a highlight-reel score that saw him strip Sweden forward Jonatan Berggren (Detroit Red Wings) of the puck in the offensive zone and make a great move to beat goalie Jesper Eliasson (Red Wings).

Tweet from @StarsStripesHKY: Great play from Nick Robertson to make it a 5-0 Team USA lead. He strips Red Wing prospect Jonatan Berggren and then shows some soft hands on the finish. #WJSS #LeafsForever #LGRW pic.twitter.com/sptrLRpECO

"End of a shift, tried to forecheck, put my stick out there and luckily it went off my shin pad and I just buried it there," he said.
Robertson has played left wing and center, a position he said he hadn't played in about two seasons. But if it means making the WJC team, he'll do whatever it takes.

"It takes some time to get comfortable in the center spot but in the future if they put me there I wouldn't mind it," he said. "I don't care where I play, I'm just hopefully on the team."

Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas watched Robertson's first two games and was impressed.

"He's come here, it's a challenging environment, he's one of (the) younger players here (turns 18 on Sept. 11)," Dubas said Sunday. "Thought he had a very good game at wing, they've got him playing center, which he hasn't done in a while, and he just continues to make an impact on the game. Been very encouraging to see."

 

LaBarbera gets punk'd

The Canada coaching staff had some fun at the expense of goaltending coach Jason LaBarbera.

Before practice, LaBarbera, wearing a Hockey Canada-supplied baseball cap that comes in red, black or gray, works with the goalies. But each day coach Dale Hunter and assistants Andre Tourigny and Mitch Love purposely wear a different color hat than the one LaBarbera chooses.

"Every time he wears the red we wear the black hat, and if he wore the black we'd wear the gray hats," Hunter said. "He couldn't win there."

After a few frustrating, mismatched on-ice sessions, LaBarbera went without a hat Wednesday to get the final laugh on his coaching colleagues.

LaBarbera enjoyed being the victim of the prank.

"It's part of the coaching bond, the bond in general," he said. "It makes it fun. I give them credit the other day when they showed up with the gray hats because the gray hats are more for the hotel. They obviously all got on the same page and brought the gray hats into the rink which I wasn't expecting. But it was funny."

 

Sweden takes it easy

After a 6-0 loss to the United States on Wednesday, Sweden coach Tomas Monten gave the players the choice of how they wanted to spend their practice time Thursday.

They chose a short on-ice session that ended with the coaches leaving and the players taking part in a 10-on-10 scrimmage.

Tweet from @NHLAdamK: Sweden having fun with a 10 on 10, everyone on the ice at once scrimmage. pic.twitter.com/ojpQBOGJWG

"They wanted to go on the ice and have a short skate," Monten said. "We play early tomorrow (against Canada, 1 p.m. ET, NHLN), so they wanted to try to get the game (Thursday) out of their bodies and have some competition and some fun. We felt that it was a good time to do that. We hope to get some new energy and some good focus for tomorrow."

Sweden has been here since July 23 and has been frustrated with their offense, scoring four goals in three games, so a little fun was appreciated by the players.

"We get a short practice in and found the fun in practice again," forward Jacob Olofsson (Montreal Canadiens) said. "Now we can enjoy the game tomorrow."

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