Never too early to start thinking about the 2011 World Junior Championships in HSBC Arena -- which actually begin Dec. 26, 2010. Last year's event was in Ottawa (be sure to check out John Vogl's post from Scotiabank Place on the reeling Senators as they face the Sabres tonight).
This year, the World Juniors are in Regina and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Next year, it's HSBC and Niagara University's Dwyer Arena.
USA Hockey has announced the NHL Network's television schedule for this year's tournament and it's a big one -- all Team USA games, all medal-round games and six other matchups. That's 16 games in all, and they'll be in HD. Click on the link and you get an idea of the kind of games we'll be seeing here next year. USA vs. Canada on New Year's Eve at 8 p.m. Something tells me that might be the case on Dec. 31, 2010 in Buffalo! Other than the 1993 World University Games, this is easily going to be the biggest international sports event ever held in these parts.
This year's Team USA candidates are arriving in Grand Forks, N.D. for a pretournament training camp that opens Thursday. There are 29 players on the roster -- including seven first-round draft picks from either 2008 or 2009 -- and it will be trimmed before the team heads to Saskatchewan. There are no Sabres prospects on Team USA. Here's a link to USA Hockey's World Junior tournament page.
Meanwhile, Canada has completed a roster that includes 10 first-rounders in its quest for a sixth straight gold medal. Last year's team featured John Tavares and Tyler Myers and the headliners this year include defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, the No. 4 overall pick by St. Louis in 2008 who has seen NHL time with the Blues, and London forward Nazem Kadri, who was No. 7 overall this year to Toronto. He was sent back to juniors at the end of training camp even though many people say he was perhaps the Leafs' best forward in the preseason.
Center Luke Adam, the Sabres' second-round pick in 2008 who plays for Cape Breton in the Quebec League, is also on the Team Canada roster. Adam had a four-goal game last week and left for the junior camp leading his league in goals with 25 in 32 games. He was second in points with 52 in a big bounceback year after a ruptured spleen prematurely ended his 2008-09 junior season.
Two of Buffalo's '09 draftees, top choice Zack Kassian and third-rounder Brayden McNabb, were part of Canada's summer evaluation camp but were not in this week's main camp. But that puts them in position to be contenders for a spot on Canada's roster next year when the tournament hits Buffalo.
taggedNHL | NHL Entry Draft | Sabres | World Junior Championships