Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Hockey Canada has a surprise or 2

Griffin Reinhart (Edmonton Oil Kings)
Hockey Canada had a few surprises for the hockey world when they announced the names of those invited to their World Under-20 selection camp. The camp which begins Dec. 12 at the MasterCard Center for Hockey Excellence in Etobicoke, Ontario will only have 25 players to tryout for 22 spots. While the New York Rangers won't have anyone at the camp, the New York Islanders will have 2 players.

The first is Griffin Reinhart (2012 1st) was a lock from a talent standpoint but from a manpower that was a different story. Reinhart still has 3 games of a 4 game suspension to serve from last year's tournament. Reinhart was handed a 4 game suspension as the result of a high stick he was called for in last year's semifinal.

Reinhart because of the suspension would have to miss Canada's first 3 games and there was some question if Canada would take him or not. It is a gamble for Canada to take a player who leaves them shorthanded if another defender gets injured.

The other invite was Adam Pelech (2012 3rd) of the Erie Otters and while I am happy for Pelech because he has worked very hard for this, the selection remains a bit of a surprise considering who Canada did not invite.

One of those was Ryan Pulock (2013 1st) who was a surprise that he did not earn the invite. Pulock has more offense than Pelech and perhaps a little more on the defensive end as well. How any national team thinks remains a mystery as every year someone gets snub.

One other surprise that I happen to like is the smaller numbers invited as there won't be this daily parade of players who got cut at 6:30 in the morning and then have to walk the media scrum trying to explain why they were cut. I like this because too often my peers in the media forget that we are dealing with teenagers who for the most part have almost no experience in dealing with the number of media folks at these camps.

Monday hockey

Why yes there was a game played on Monday evening as Cristoval Nieves (NYR 2013 1st)and his 3rd ranked Michigan Wolverines were on the road to play Ohio State. Michigan would need overtime but they defeated Ohio State 5-4 to earn their 4th straight win.

Nieves got the primary assist on Michigan's first goal and if the video works here then you will see why I get down on Nieves. The play starts at the 28 second mark and looks innocent enough as one Michigan player chases down the puck while Nieves skates behind the goal line. The puck comes to Nieves who is already starting to pass it to his other teammate who is coming off the sideboards.

Puck is right on the stick, puck winds up right behind the goalie for a 1-0 Michigan lead. Nieves 7th assist and 8th point of the season. But it was a "bang bang" play that Nieves made look easy and that is why I want to see him do more.

Team USA Wednesday

Team USA will announce who will be invited to their selection camp on Wednesday. I only expect Brady Skeji to earn an invite as Steven Fogarty has been hurt and Adam Tambellini has not really done much at North Dakota.

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