In what turned out to be the first marquee game of the World Junior Championships, it would be Team Russia and its defense holding strong and taking out Team USA, 2-1.
With all the stars on the ice for both teams, it would be Russian goalie, and Buffalo Sabres prospect, Andrey Makarov shining brightest stopping 41 shots and frustrating Team USA’s shooters all game.
When it wasn’t Makarov stopping them in goal, it was Russia’s skaters taking time and space away from the Americans and blocking shots. Even in the closing minutes, Nail Yakupov sprawled out head-first to get in front of a shot. (Bet the Oilers loved seeing that.)
Jacob Trouba had Team USA’s lone goal on the power play in the second period. John Gibson stopped 28 shots in the loss.
After the game, Team USA coach Phil Housley told NHL Network’s Rob Simpson he was happy with his team’s effort but thought they may have gotten “too cute” at times. Doing that helped nullify rushes up ice and ended threats before they could begin.
With the regulation loss, Team USA now heads into their game against Team Canada on Sunday needing to get points in one way or another. After Canada disposed of Slovakia earlier today, they moved to the top of Group B with six points. Russia sits in second place with five while Team USA is third with three. With Slovakia in fourth with one point, further American losses put them in danger of being jumped in the standings.
Sweden edged Switzerland 3-2 in a shootout. Habs prospect Sebastian Collberg and Hurricanes prospect Victor Rask each had goals for the Swedes.
Czech Republic upset Finland 3-1. Kings prospect Tomas Hyka scored for the Czechs while Teuvo Teravainen had Finland’s lone tally.
Day 2 of the NHL Draft was somewhat lacking in drama, but what it did have was the Montreal Canadiens doing well enough to wow prospect watchers.
The Habs cleaned up getting the No. 3 overall European skater, forward Sebastian Collberg with their second-round pick, 33rd overall, and following it up by choosing rugged defenseman Dalton Thrower later in the round at 51. We highlighted both of those players in our draft preview and could be considered steals in the second.
In the third round, Montreal selected forward Tim Bozon (No. 42 North American skater), son of former St. Louis Blues forward Philippe Bozon. The Habs then followed that up with forwards Brady Vail (No. 38 North American skater) in the fourth round, Charles Hudon (No. 95 North American skater) in the fifth, and Erik Nystrom (85th European skater) in the sixth.
For GM Marc Bergevin and Montreal’s Director Of Amateur Scouting Trevor Timmins, it could turn out to be a draft that helps turn around an organization that was lacking in prospects. By aiming to take the best player available each time they picked, Montreal has hope once again. Now they’ll just have to hope these kids can live up to their billing.
All week leading up to the 2012 NHL Entry Draft in Pittsburgh, we’ll be profiling top prospects who may hear their names called Friday in the first round. Nothing too in-depth. Just enough so you know who they are and what they’re about.
Sebastian Collberg (C)
Height: 5’11 Weight: 176 Shoots: Right
Team: Frolunda (SEL)
NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 3 among European skaters
What kind of player is he?
Collberg is an intriguing prospect whose value could vary wildly. His lack of size will turn a lot of teams off, but his skill set will attract teams trying to hit a home run.
One thing to note is that Collberg succeeded at his age level, but struggled upon being promoted to Frolunda’s Elite League team. He scored nine points in six games for Sweden at the World Juniors and had 17 points in 21 contests with Frolunda’s junior team…yet failed to register a single point in 41 games with Frolunda’s elite team.
Of course, he joined that squad at 17 — so it’s impressive that he even gained the opportunity in the first place.
“There are genuine concerns about whether Collberg, who’s willing to go into the corners but doesn’t yet seem to have the upper-body strength to win one-on-one battles, can adapt to the NHL. The scouting service HockeyProspect.com, however, has likened his nose for the net to that of Kitchener Rangers grad Jeff Skinner, who made the NHL to stay in 2010 with the Carolina Hurricanes.
“Collberg is certainly on a longer track to The Show, but in a very barren year for Canadian forwards in the draft, NHL teams could do a lot worse than take a calculated risk on a skilled but undersized Swede. It’s not a direct comparison, but there were people who scoffed at the Ottawa Senators in 2008 for drafting Erik Karlsson.” — Neate Sager, Yahoo’s Buzzing the Net.
More draft profiles:
Cristoval ‘Boo’ Nieves