Dec 18, 2012, 8:00 AM EDT
HAWTHORNE, NY — One of the strengths Team USA will have when they head into the World Junior Championships is on their blue line. With a future star in 2013 draft prospect Seth Jones as well as three first-round picks in Jacob Trouba, Connor Murphy, and Brady Skjei the American defense will be huge.
One thing is for sure, the guys on the ice believe in the crew they’ve got on the back line as well.
“I think we have a great blue line,” says 2012 Winnipeg Jets first-rounder Jacob Trouba. “We have some diversity with big guys and we have some smaller guys who are shifty. Whoever ends up coming to the tournament, we’ll be good on the blue line.”
Rangers 2012 first-rounder Brady Skjei agrees with him.
“I think we all have a feel for each other. With Jones and Trouba and all them the last couple years, we’re pretty confident we’re a solid D corps.”
The big guys we’ve mentioned already. The small, shifty ones are guys like 2012 third-round picks Matt Grzelcyk (Boston) and Shayne Gostisbehere (Philadelphia). They may not deliver the body, but their quickness and playmaking ability could be useful on the international-sized ice. That’s something coach, and one-time shifty defenseman himself, Phil Housley noticed right away.
“I look at our back end as a whole; I think there’s a lot of guys that can fit that mold,” Housley said. “Certainly Grzelcyk, Gostisbehere and [Mike] Reilly, they have that uncanny ability to jump up in the play.”
While playing on a bigger ice surface doesn’t bother any of the players, the star power they’ll face in Russia is another story. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will lead the way for Canada while the hosts will have guys like Mikhail Grigorenko and Nail Yakupov.
Could the Americans get psyched out by the star power they’ll see from their opponents?
“Not really. We’ve got plenty talent on our team too,” Trouba said. “One player is nothing huge. We’ve played against a lot of them in the past. They’re good but they’re still hockey players too.”
Apr 25, 2014, 2:44 AM EDT
That game is on Saturday.
Apr 25, 2014, 2:19 AM EDT
Apr 25, 2014, 1:55 AM EDT
Yet this game was close on the score board.
Apr 25, 2014, 1:32 AM EDT
San Jose can’t complete the sweep.
Apr 25, 2014, 12:48 AM EDT
They’ll rest him for Game 5 – unless San Jose comes back.
Apr 25, 2014, 12:16 AM EDT
All Minny in this one, as we said earlier.
Apr 25, 2014, 12:05 AM EDT
Insert “Did he miss Iginla’s head?” jokes.
Apr 24, 2014, 11:45 PM EDT
Timing of the goal couldn’t have been better for San Jose.
Apr 24, 2014, 11:19 PM EDT
Boston wins it on an odd goal.
Apr 24, 2014, 11:19 PM EDT
All Minny through two – except on the score board.
Apr 24, 2014, 10:51 PM EDT
His haters rejoice on Thursday (at least so far).
Apr 24, 2014, 10:36 PM EDT
Out of his control, however.
Apr 24, 2014, 10:28 PM EDT
L.A. looking to stave off elimination.
Apr 24, 2014, 10:01 PM EDT
“No hard feelings.”
Apr 24, 2014, 9:18 PM EDT
More playoff hockey.
Apr 24, 2014, 8:05 PM EDT
It’s due to flu-like symptoms for Detroit’s normal starter.
Apr 24, 2014, 7:44 PM EDT
This post will be updated if there’s a late swerve.
Apr 24, 2014, 7:31 PM EDT
Whether Henrik Zetterberg can go or not.
Apr 24, 2014, 6:25 PM EDT
He’s glad the former got some playoff reps, though.
Apr 24, 2014, 5:13 PM EDT
He sure looked yippy last night night in Columbus.
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