Dec 20, 2012, 9:50 AM EDT
HAWTHORNE, NY – When we took a look at the Team USA World Junior Championship defense the other day, it was easy to get caught up in their star power. The part of the team that might go under the radar is their offense up front, and part of that might be due to the stature of a pair of its biggest scorers.
Wingers Rocco Grimaldi (2011 second-round pick of the Panthers) and Johnny Gaudreau (2011 fourth-round pick of the Flames) don’t have an imposing presence on the ice, but their ability around the net is what gets them noticed.
Grimaldi, who plays at the University of North Dakota and listed at 5’6” 165 by USA Hockey, says his size is something he likes to turn into a problem for opponents quickly.
“I’m a lot lower to the ground so it’s a little harder to push me around. I just try to use my speed and do what I can against the bigger guys… I just try to outsmart them.”
Gaudreau has been lighting up college hockey this year with Boston College checks in at just 5’9” 150, but he says finding a nose for the net is the way to attack the defense.
“I like playing behind the net,” Gaudreau says. “When I’m playing down low the D has to make sure to block out the front of the net and make sure they know where the puck’s at. With their eyes off me, I run around down low try and look for an opening for a pass here or there.”
Gaudreau doesn’t just set up opponents, he can score goals too. Of his 44 points last year during his freshman season at BC, 21 were goals. Of his 23 points so far this year with the Eagles, he’s netted 11 more.
Team USA defenders like Seth Jones and Jacob Trouba talked about how matching up against those guys in practice was tough because of their speed and how “shifty” they are.
It’s that kind of action coach Phil Housley is hoping to see against the rest of the world. He’s seen solid results already in camp with big centerman and Rangers prospect J.T. Miller lining up with them.
“It seems they found a bit of chemistry,” Housley says. “They’re looking for each other and J.T. provides that strength down the middle. I just love the enthusiasm and they’re just trying to get better every day and that’s what we want.”
Getting better is just what USA Hockey is hoping for after last year’s disappointing seventh-place finish. If the rest of the world gets caught up in the American’s stardom on the blue line, guys like Grimaldi and Gaudreau will find ways to make them pay.
May 19, 2013, 12:21 PM EDT
He played just 15:37 in Game 2.
May 19, 2013, 11:23 AM EDT
The playoffs haven’t been kind.
May 19, 2013, 10:30 AM EDT
A pivotal Game 3 awaits in Ottawa.
May 19, 2013, 9:54 AM EDT
Last night’s Game 3 saw the Kings get stung for two calls late in the third period of a 1-1 game that led to a 5-on-3 power play for San Jose that saw Logan Couture capitalize on in overtime for the win, you could feel the angst coming. Dustin Penner sounded off about it at…
May 19, 2013, 8:38 AM EDT
“He screws it up.”
May 19, 2013, 12:44 AM EDT
Trevor Lewis doesn’t think it was a penalty.
May 19, 2013, 12:12 AM EDT
Logan Couture goes from injured to game-winner.
May 18, 2013, 11:27 PM EDT
His Halifax Mooseheads topped Seth Jones’ Portland Winterhawks.
May 18, 2013, 10:49 PM EDT
May 18, 2013, 10:40 PM EDT
At least Scott Hannan’s OK?
May 18, 2013, 10:19 PM EDT
These moments hurt in games with small margins of error.
May 18, 2013, 10:00 PM EDT
After falling to it in Game 2.
May 18, 2013, 9:09 PM EDT
Matt Greene isn’t playing in Game 3, either.
May 18, 2013, 8:11 PM EDT
Dennis Seidenberg likely out, Wade Redden’s a game-time decision.
May 18, 2013, 7:22 PM EDT
His club’s down 0-2 to the Kings…
May 18, 2013, 6:33 PM EDT
Their critical press release fund must be dry.
May 18, 2013, 6:01 PM EDT
Is that “grossly unfair,” too?
May 18, 2013, 4:50 PM EDT
The captain cares not for the rough stuff.
May 18, 2013, 4:22 PM EDT
Flying through the air going five-hole? Yes.
May 18, 2013, 4:00 PM EDT
It’s their first finals appearance since 1935.
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- NHL fines Sharks $100K for Torres suspension critique 43
- Toews has beef with officiating after Game 2 loss 55
- Discuss: Red Wings even up series, take down Chicago 4-1 27
- No surgery needed for Eric Staal following injury at Worlds 3
- Playoffs tonight: Detroit and San Jose look to change things up 3
- Bruins’ Hamilton: ‘I don’t feel like a rookie anymore’ 26
- Penguins’ Murray: ‘We need to be better’ 8
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- Question for commenters: What’s the hardest team to support? (93)
- Video: Crosby scores hat trick, hits playoff milestone against Senators (91)
- Capitals discuss ‘lopsided’ penalty calls (82)
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