This year's competition will be held in Ufa, Russia starting on December 26th 2012 and runs until January 5th 2013. Team USA will be looking to rebound after last year's embarrassing trip to the relegation round.
New York Ranger 2012 first round Brady Skeji will be looking to move up from the Under-18 squad that won a gold medal for the 4th straight year last April. The 6'3 200 lb defender from Lakeville, Minnesota will be giving Ranger fans a glimpse at what they might see down the road.
What I am hoping for is that Skeji is separated from his usual defensive partner Seth Jones so he can play a more offensive role while at the camp. If you want things to look for then watch for Skeji's vision on the ice as well as his decision making.
I know the Rangers say that Skeji will develop into a solid 2 way defender but right now his defense is what is more developed. Skeji is able to play a finesse defense equally as well as a physical one which is impressive given his young age.
It won't break my heart if Skeji winds up as a mainly defensive defender as I have heard people compare his game to Scott Stevens and nobody liked facing Stevens. Since I already mentioned him I have to talk about Seth Jones next.
Skeji's defensive partner at the World Under-18 Championship, Jones was Team USA's best player (and captain) with a 3-5-8 performance in winning his 2nd gold medal. Jones has the total package of skating, skill, physical play and a lethal slapshot.
Jones is going to be one of the reasons why the 2013 Team USA will not wind up back in the relegation round. Portland Winterhawk fans had best get their look at him while they can because I don't expect him to spend more than 1 season in the WHL.
Miller who had 4 points on the 2012 team (2-2-4) is going to want to use a strong performance in order to impress more than the Team USA staff as the Ranger staff will be there watching. If Miller has a strong performance it might go a long way in convincing the Rangers to let him play in the AHL instead of the OHL.
With the uncertainty of the NHL labor situation, Miller won't get what would have been his chance during the Traverse City Tournament. It might be a double edged sword for Team USA who could lose Miller to the AHL if he plays too well.
It is not as if Fogarty doesn't have any offense but what Team USA needs the most from Fogarty is his defensive zone play as well as his skills on faceoffs. Fogarty who is headed to Notre Dame this year was the player Penticton turned to when they needed a face off won or a defensive stop.
It doesn't hurt that Fogarty has a knack for scoring clutch goals (10 of his 33 regular season goals were game winners) either but it will be interesting to see how Fogarty handles the step up in competition. Fogarty gives the Rangers a legit chance to have 3 players on Team USA.
Russo is going to have his work cut out as Team USA is going to have a very loaded defensive corp and if he doesn't make the team don't view it as a slight of Russo. Russo could make the team as a power play specialist quarterbacking the USA power play.
Russo is no stranger to big games as a member of the 2011 Under-18 Team USA gold medal team as well as his experience playing for Notre Dame last season. Russo opened a lot of eyes last season with his play and if he survives the cuts here I won't be at all surprised.
Russo is very good under pressure and has excellent passing skills so that might be his edge.
|(Edmonton Oil Kings)|
If you want to talk about a player who is like his father, Henrik goes one step better as when he is not pissing off the other team; Henrik does have size and skill to play the game. I can't see Samuelsson not making Team USA because whether it is as a pest or as a player, Samuelsson is a game changer with his presence on the ice.
As for the camp itself you can find information about it right here as the only issue I have with USA Hockey is charging people to watch the games during the camp. Unless you are seriously desperate for hockey 7.99 for exhibition games is way too much to watch on a computer.
Not a great way to increase interest in USA Hockey but if you have twitter there will be plenty of people tweeting about the game action.