Expectations are very high for Team Canada going into the 2013 World Junior Championship. Their roster is littered with top-tier prospects and others that, if not for the lockout, would probably be busy playing in the NHL.
Still, the United States has a strong squad that should play hard against Canada.
“The Americans? Big. Really big. I couldn’t believe how big they are looking at the roster,” said Team Canada’s head scout Kevin Prendergast, according to the Ottawa Citizen.
“It’s going. From our standpoint, we’re going to have to turn the cheek a few times against them, but overall I think our skill is better than their skill.”
With guys like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jonathan Huberdeau, and Nathan MacKinnon leading the charge, Canada has no shortage of firepower, but America will counter with a superb defense.
“I look at our back end as a whole; I think there’s a lot of guys that can fit that mold,” Team USA coach Phil Housley said. “Certainly Grzelcyk, Gostisbehere and [Mike] Reilly, they have that uncanny ability to jump up in the play.”
America’s defense will also include two former first-round picks in Jacob Trouba and Connor Murphy, as well as Seth Jones, who should go very early in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.
Team USA and Canada will face each other on Dec. 30.
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The Los Angeles Kings lost one of their most veteran defensemen on Tuesday, as the club announced Matt Greene would be out indefinitely following shoulder surgery.
Greene, 32, had only appeared in three games this season, missing extensive time with the ailment. He had recently resumed skating with teammates and looked to be on the way back to a return, but never got to the point where he was participating in drills, or taking contact.
If Greene misses extensive time, L.A. could be in the market for a defenseman come trade deadline day, like they were last year before acquiring Andrej Sekera from Carolina. Greene is one of the most playoff-tested players on the L.A. roster, with 79 games and two Stanley Cups on his resume (and another Stanley Cup Final, with Edmonton in 2006).
Looks like the Canucks will have an interesting lineup tonight
But hold on, that doesn’t necessarily mean Pedan will make his NHL debut tonight. This morning, the Canucks announced they’d called up d-man Alex Biega from AHL Utica. Theoretically, inserting Biega could allow the offensively inclined Yannick Weber to move up to forward. Biega and Weber both shoot right. Pedan shoots left.
But wait, there exists another possibility — that both Pedan and Biega could play. That will depend on Chris Tanev‘s status. He got banged up yesterday as well, though he was able to skate this morning.
Weber likely to skate as a forward tonight. Biega may play instead of Pedan. If Tanev can't go, both will play. #Canucks