• Rising Star Kreider Does Nothing But Win
Last January, Rangers prospects Chris Kreider
and Ryan Bourque
experienced one of the great moments in their hockey careers when they won gold medals with Team USA at the 2010 World Junior Championship tournament in Saskatchewan.
|Chris Kreider hopes to be celebrating another moment like this one at Buffalo on Jan. 5, 2011. |
On Monday, childhood friends Kreider and Bourque, who grew up together in Boxford, Mass., took another step toward defending that gold when they got through the first round of cuts at the nine-day USA National Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, N.Y.
Kreider and Bourque are among 28 players who will face Finland and Swede, beginning with Tuesday's game against the Swedes. The roster was cut down from 42 players on Monday morning.
The busy camp features three intrasquad scrimmages, followed by two games against Finland and two against Sweden, where Bourque and Kreider will go head-to-head with 2010 Rangers draft pick Jesper Fasth
Kreider, the Blueshirts' 2009 first-round draft pick who will be a sophomore at Boston College, and Bourque, a 2009 third-rounder who plays for the Quebec Remparts in the QMJHL are veterans of the 2010 team and therefore stand a very good chance of going back to the World Junior tournament, which will be held from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 at the HSBC Arena Buffalo.
Kreider and Bourque were on different teams for the three "Blue vs. White" scrimmages that opened the camp over the weekend. Bourque played for Team White, along with five 2010 NHL first-round draft picks, including goaltender Jack Campbell. Kreider was on Team Blue, which featured four 2010 first-rounders. Also on the Blue team was former Blueshirts defenseman Ulf Samuelsson's son Phil, who made the final 28 and will play in the games against Finland and Sweden.
Bourque certainly made a big impression in the three "Blue vs. White" games, scoring a goal in all three games and picking up a total of five points to help Team White sweep the series. White won by scores of 4-1 in the opener, 4-2 in the second game and 8-3 in the third game. At the end of the scrimmages, Bourque was tied with NHL first-round picks Nick Bjugstad and Kyle Palmieri for the U.S. scoring lead with five points.
Kreider did not play in the second game, since he was not feeling well on Saturday, but he returned for the final scrimmage on Sunday -- a game that saw Bourque get a goal and two assists in the third period.
Team USA has never won a World Junior gold medal on its own soil, but there is little doubt that this year's team is going to be favored, as a remarkable 12 of the 44 players invited to the camp are first-round draft picks.
Rangers prospect Derek Stepan
, who turned pro with the Blueshirts this summer, was the captain of the 2010 gold-medal team but is ineligible for this year's camp since he has aged out of the tournament, which is only for players who have not yet turned 20 years old.
Fasth, picked in the sixth round of this year's NHL Entry Draft, will also be on the radar at next week's camp. Fasth will be playing for the Swedish team in exhibition games against Finland on Aug. 2 and Aug. 5 and vs. Team USA on Aug. 3 and Aug. 6.
Keep an eye on newyorkrangers.com for updates on the progress of Kreider, Bourque and Fasth at the camp. Fans interested in watching some of the U.S. games against Sweden and Finland can visit usahockey.com for information about pay-per-view streaming of the event.