Colorado Avalanche prospect Chris Bigras was one of five players sent home from Team Canada’s World Junior selection camp Sunday.
Bigras was a member of the 2014 Canadian squad, which lost to Russia in the bronze medal game in January.
Defenseman Travis Sanheim, a Philadelphia Flyers’ prospect, was returned to the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League.
Forwards Remi Elie (Dallas Stars), Morgan Klimchuk (Calgary Flames) and Nick Baptiste (Buffalo Sabres) were also returned to their respective junior clubs.
Ottawa’s Curtis Lazar and Vancouver’s Bo Horvat are among those currently on NHL rosters who could possibly be added to the team, but a decision on their future must be made prior to the NHL’s roster freeze Dec. 19.
“It’s day-by-day. I haven’t heard anything, actually,” Horvat told ProHockeyTalk’s Cam Tucker. “Just trying to get better here and focus on trying to win here. If I keep doing that, eventually I’m sure they’re going to tell me what’s going on but for right now I’m just trying to focus on the Canucks.”
Team Canada’s roster currently consists of eight defencemen and 15 forwards and two goaltenders. The final roster, which needs to be finalized by Dec. 25, must be down to 22 players.
Top prospect Connor McDavid is expected to miss 5-6 weeks with a fracture of the 5th Metacarpal bone on his right hand according to the Erie Otters.
He will not require surgery.
The injury occured Tuesday night during a fight against Mississauga Steelheads center Bryson Cianfrone. McDavid failed to hit Cianfrone with a punch, instead connecting with the glass. The Otters’ captain received a major for fighting and a game misconduct for taking off Cianfrone’s helmet.
It was McDavid’s second career fight and second of this season.
McDavid has 16 goals and 51 points in 18 Ontario Hockey League games this season.
He was a lock to star on Canada’s entry at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship, which begin in just over six weeks. Team Canada begins its’ pre-tournament training camp Dec. 11 in Toronto. Given the 5-6 week time frame McDavid could theoretically be ready for the tournament barring a setback.
McDavid is projected to be one of the first two selections at next June’s NHL Draft.
Outspoken hockey analyst Don Cherry was at it again over the weekend, this time voicing his displeasures at Hockey Canada.
Cherry believes Florida Panthers first overall pick, Aaron Ekblad, should not have been participating in exhibition scrimmages at Canada’s development camp.
Ekblad was concussed during Canada’s 6-2 win over the Czech Repulic on Aug. 5 and sent home early from the camp after consultation with the Panthers.
On Saturday, Cherry, 80, took to Twitter to voice his opinion:
It’s often hard to agree with much of what Cherry says these days; however, this time he’s hit the nail on the head. Ekblad, who should make the Panthers roster out of training camp, doesn’t even need to be at such a camp as he likely won’t be released by Florida for the December tournament.
Related: Get to know a draft pick – Aaron Ekblad
Defenseman Aaron Ekblad suffered a concussion Tuesday night during a 6-2 win over the Czech Republic in a scrimmage.
Ekblad, the Florida Panthers’ first overall pick at June’s NHL draft, left in the third period after an open-ice collision with defenseman Lukas Klok.
The 18-year-old was not on the ice Wednesday morning and following practice Hockey Canada updated his status:
The good news is Florida fully expects Ekblad to be ready for its mini camp next month.
“As announced earlier today by Team Canada, D Aaron Ekblad suffered a concussion during an exhibition game last night,” said Panthers general manager Dale Tallon in a statement. “We have been in communication with Team Canada and have mutually agreed to hold Aaron out for the remainder of the summer development camp, as a precautionary measure. We will closely monitor Aaron’s health for the remainder of the off-season and expect him to be ready for our rookie camp in mid-September.”
Given that Ekblad is likely to make the Panthers out of camp, it’s doubtful he’ll even be made available for Team Canada by Florida for the 2015 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship, which takes place in Montreal and Toronto.
Related: Get to know a draft pick – Aaron Ekblad
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Patrik Berglund’s Swedish eyes are smiling after scoring six goals in the past eight games, including two against Nashville on Saturday. (The Post-Dispatch)
Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $1,200 Fantasy Hockey league for Monday’s late NHL games. It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $275. Starts Monday at 7:30pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.
With all the injuries the Detroit Red Wings have, they need Jimmy Howard to be their savior. (Detroit Free Press)
That Nail Yakupov is such a bad teammate, you guys. He’s so bad that coach Dallas Eakins loved seeing him come to help out Matt Hendricks when dealing with some Hurricanes in a scuffle. This sarcasm doing anything for you? (Edmonton Journal)
The Tampa Bay Lightning will be erecting a statue for former captain Dave Andreychuk. Winning a Stanley Cup gets you some pretty great perks. (Tampa Tribune)
Give it up to Team Canada women’s team goalie Shannon Szabados who made her ECHL debut. Awesome stuff. (NHL.com)
Big time kudos to the United States Paralympic hockey team that took gold at the Paralympics in Sochi. (USA Hockey)
Finally, check out the video tribute the Buffalo Sabres played for Thomas Vanek who played in his first game in Buffalo since being traded back in late October. Vanek said after the game: “My previous experience when someone else came back, they didn’t do much so I didn’t know what to expect, but I thought it was very nice and very classy of them.” Take that, Darcy Regier.