Tampa Bay’s Koekkoek named to Canada’s World Junior camp roster


Slater Koekkoek has been named as an injury replacement for Team Canada’s entry at August’s U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp, Hockey Canada announced on Monday.

Koekkoek (pronounced “Koo Koo,”) will replace New York Islanders prospect Adam Pelech, who is injured.

The development is a big one for the 19-year-old Koekkoek, one of the eight defensemen selected within the first 10 picks of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

Koekkoek went No. 10 overall to Tampa Bay in a class that featured fellow Team Canada invitees Griffin Reinhart (New York Islanders, No. 4 overall), Morgan Rielly (Toronto, No. 5 overall), Mathew Dumba (Minnesota, No. 7 overall) and Derrick Pouliot (Pittsburgh, No. 8 overall).

The U.S. NJEC takes place in Lake Placid from Aug. 3-10 and will feature four team — the Americans, Canadians, Finns and Swedes — in what amounts to the biggest showcase of junior-age talent prior to the 2014 World Juniors, which get started on Dec. 26 from Malmo, Sweden.

In March, the Bolts signed Koekkoek to a three-year entry-level contract. He faces an uphill battle in making the Tampa Bay roster this season as the club already has six solid defensemen under contract — Matt Carle, Victor Hedman, Eric Brewer, Sami Salo, Radko Gudas and Keith Aulie — with a seventh, former University of Omaha-Nebraska standout Andrej Sustr, in the mix as well.

Personal reasons: No Ovechkin for Caps tonight

Alex Ovechkin
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Alex Ovechkin won’t play for the Washington Capitals on Tuesday because of personal reasons, the team confirmed.

He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.

Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).

That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out

This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:

No, the Capitals have not shared details regarding what his “personal reasons” might be, by the way.

Bruins put Morrow on IR, bring up Cross

Brady Skjei, Joe Morrow
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Lower-level defense is not the biggest of many worries for the Boston Bruins, yet it might be another in a series of headaches.’s Joe Haggerty points out that Joe Morrow has been placed on IR while AHL stalwart Tommy Cross was called up.

With a -3 rating and negligible offensive impact so far, few will really be missing Morrow (pictured). From the way Haggerty describes Cross, it’s a pretty cool story if he gets into the lineup:

Cross was named captain of the Providence Bruins this season, and actually had a strong training camp as the hard-hitting, tough stay-at-home defenseman he’s developed into during his five years in the B’s minor league system. The 2007 second round pick was a highly regarded potential puck-moving defenseman when he was drafted prior to his Boston College career, but a series of knee injuries negated some of his speed and puck-moving capabilities.

Granted, the Bruins would prefer a sure-thing improvement over a feel-good story right now, as this 0-3-0 start marks their worst beginning in some time.

Injuries have been an issue in general, too, with Zdeno Chara‘s slow start mixed with Dennis Seidenberg on the mend and Brad Marchand in limbo.

The Bruins’ next game comes against the Avalanche in Colorado. Maybe they’ll start to mend things on the ice?