*(Not affiliated with the Boston Bruins or the New England Hockey Journal)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Team USA final roster to be named Wednesday

Well, we're a little more than 24 hours out before we determine the final 22-player U.S. National Junior roster that will defend the gold medal that John Carlson's overtime goal secured a year ago. (Carlson is a stud-- being around him in Washington gives some neat insights into the rookie and what he brings to the table offensively and defensively. If only the Bruins had a crystal ball with them in 2008, but Washington got themselves a real good one.)

The returning guys are a lock, including Jeremy Morin, who was released by Chicago to play.

From a 2011 draft perspective, really hoping that Brandon Saad, Adam Clendening and Rocco Grimaldi make the final cut. All three bring a little something different to the table-- Saad the big, skilled power forward, Clendening the smooth, heady puck mover and Grimaldi, the dynamic, brilliant little waterbug. My guess is that they'll be in Buffalo. All three have gold medals for USA in the Under-18 tourney and have the kind of upside that will give Team USA a real good chance to take home the gold in consecutive years for the first time in USA Hockey history. Of the three, I think Clendening is the one who is on the bubble the most because of the size factor (5-11, 190), but the good news for him is that only one returning D (John Ramage) is a lock, meaning that he's in open competition with the other eight for those final six slots.

Norway-USA exhibition game postponed due to lost luggage/equipment for the Norway team. Yeesh. Good one, airline. You have a high-profile team traveling to the U.S. and you bungle that...not so hot.

For more on the WJC and Team USA, check out Chris Peters' "United States of Hockey" blog and Alex Clark's USA Hockey WJC blog among many others (Chris has kindly provided some links on his USoH blog, so surf away).

I'll be leaving next Sunday morning, day after Christmas, for Buffalo, so this blog will be very active through New Year's. Wish I could stay for the medal round, but not in the cards this time. Still, you'll get comprehensive scouting reports on *every* 2011 draft-eligible there, so keep spreading the word.

If you haven't done so already, sign up to follow this blog (my 2010 Draft Watch had 59 followers when I shifted over to 2011 but only 26 here right now...let's pick up some momentum here!) and my Twitter account: @kluedeke29

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