Short Shifts: World Juniors Eve... Eve

By Aubrey Nelson on December 24, 2013 at 3:45p
15 Comments
The Buckeyes return to the ice this weekend vs. Mercyhurst

The hockey Bucks get back to work this weekend, hosting Mercyhurst on Saturday and Sunday. These will be the last two games of the calendar year. The team will then have a bye week before diving into the Big Ten portion of their schedule.

I thought we’d take advantage of that bye week to have a look back at the year's biggest hockey stories. If you have any nominees for, let’s say the top ten Buckeye hockey headlines of 2013, share them in the comments or via Twitter.

Short Shifts

Buckeye Men

  • Peter Morrow took a look at the Ottawa Senators’ standout junior/college prospects. Ryan Dzingel and Max McCormick both earned a mention. Morrow also floats the possibility that they’ll be skating in the pros next season.
  • You’re probably done with your Christmas shopping by now, but check out Ohio State’s promo for tickets-as-gifts anyway. (Al McLean-in-the-box not included.)

Big Ten

  • Paula Weston touches on the notable stories from the B1G schools through the first half of the season. She also revisits each coach’s preseason comments in light of their team’s first half performance.
  • Mike Morreale gives a shout out to the five freshmen from Michigan and Michigan State who made Central Scouting’s preliminary players-to-watch list.
  • Jeremy Dewar has a look at the former Michigan State Spartans in the NHL here.

World Juniors

The World Juniors begin on Thursday in Malmo, Sweden. (At least it’s Thursday to us. I have no idea which day of the week it is in Sweden.) Next to the Olympics this is the premier international tournament for hockey fans. It features some of the best under-20 players in the world. It’s a huge deal in Canada and is becoming a must-see event for US hockey fans as well now that NHL Network provides extensive coverage. Former Buckeyes players such as RJ Umberger and Ryan Kesler have skated in the WJC. Ohio State has also had a presence behind the benches in former coach Mark Osiecki and current assistant coach Joe Exter. Buckeye recruit Janik Moeser will be the program’s lone representative at the tournament this year. The defenseman will suit up for Team Germany, who open against Canada on Thursday morning. NHL Network’s programming schedule states the game will be shown live at 7:30 a.m. with a replay at 2:30 p.m.

Big Ten schools have five players currently with Team USA (there's one cut still to be made); Hudson Fasching and Brady Skjei of Minnesota, Andrew Copp and Tyler Motte from Michigan, and Nic Kerdiles of Wisconsin. They’re also repped on the coaching staff by Gophers’ head coach Don Lucia. The only B1G player cut from the team’s preliminary roster was Michigan’s JT Compher, who was left off due to injury rather than his performance in camp. The scuttlebutt is that he broke his foot blocking a shot in practice and will be out a while, which is crappy news for both US and Wolverine fans. The remaining Big Ten contingent and Team USA get underway on Thursday against the Czech Republic. That game will air live at 11:30 a.m. with a replay at 7pm.

And good will to all Big Ten fansHappy Holidays! 

More World Juniors links…

  • The delegation from Minnesota has been a popular pre-tournament topic. Dan Myers wrote about how Skjei and Fasching won’t get any preferential treatment from Lucia. In fact, he says, it may be harder for them to make the team being Lucia’s “family.”
  • Nathan Wells focused on Skjei and Kerdiles using last year’s missed opportunities and extra motivation to make Team USA this time around.
  • A few of Andy Baggot’s Five Good Minutes with Kerdiles are devoted to the WJC. Bucky’s Fifth Quarter also has a stream devoted to Kerdiles’ WJC experience here.
  • Check out Chris Peters of United States of Hockey and the good fellows of SBN College Hockey for more highlights and analysis of Team USA’s camp/cuts as well as continuing coverage of the tournament.
  • NHL.com has an overview of each group with schedules, outlooks, and players to watch for each team. Mike Morreale gives the rundown of Group A and Adam Kimelman has the skinny on Group B.
  • And because it's always fun to fuel the US-Canada rivalry... Don't forget to play along with The Sleeping Giant's Canadian Excuse Jingo for a chance to win one of their awesome t-shirts!

Nuts Abroad

  • The Buckeyes will have at least one representative at the Sochi Olympics. Congrats to Natalie Spooner who made Team Canada’s final roster!
  • Bill Althaus reports that Kyle Hood, most recently of the CHL’s Missouri Mavericks, has decided to call it a career.
  • Winnipeg has returned John Albert to the St. John’s IceCaps. Albert skated in eight games during this stint with the Jets and recorded his first NHL goal against the New York Rangers.
  • Do you have time for a great read? Check out Pierre LeBrun’s piece on Ryan Kesler for ESPN. To summarize: Kesler’s currently healthy, dominant at both ends of the ice, and coming for you, Canada. Also, check out Kesler putting an end to the Canucks' eight round shootout vs. Chicago here.
  • Rob Parent talked with RJ Umberger about facing former teammate Steve Mason and how things went wrong for Mason in Columbus. Things went wrong for the Flyers all together in Columbus on Saturday as Umberger scored twice in a 6-3 Blue Jackets win:
15 Comments

Comments

Baroclinicity's picture

Great update, not to mention a great picture of Script Ohio on ice!
 

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Aubrey Nelson's picture

Thank you. The kind words are much appreciated. Ohio State's photographer got a great shot of the Script Ohio this season. 

CarolinaBuck's picture

We ( I ) need more hockey stories

Aubrey Nelson's picture

Glad to know I haven't worn out my welcome quite yet. 

William's picture

Sweden is going to run away with the WJC this year. They'll have Lindholm (CAR), Forsberg (NSH), Wennberg (CBJ), Johnson (TOR), Collberg (MTL), and Burakowsky (WSH) as their Top 6.  That's 4 1st round picks, a 2nd, and a 7th (Johnson was a steal) in their Top 6. And they'll have Dansk (CBJ) as their starter in net, who only happens to be the best goalie in the OHL this year..

Aubrey Nelson's picture

They're definitely going to be tough to beat, especially playing at home. Who else do you see emerging as medal contenders this year?

William's picture

Canada merely because of the some of the elite talent they have like Connor McDavid, Jonathan Drouin, and Sam Reinhart, but Sweden made them look slow in their pre-comp game earlier this week. The WJC is going to give a team like Sweden an advantage because the Swedes have a roster loaded with elite skaters such as Wennberg, Lindholm, Burakowsky and Forsberg, whereas the Canadian and American squads cannot skate nearly as well top to bottom. The US will have extremely strong goaltending, but they don't have much elite offensive talent outside of Jack Eichel  and Adam Erne (Montreal didn't release Alex Galchenyuk). So barring any major upsets, I see Sweden taking the WJC fairly easily this year, and it also helps that it's being held in Malmo.
 I think that Sweden will beat Canada in the gold medal match, and the US will beat someone like Russia or Slovakia in the bronze medal match. Russia could be a bit of a dark horse, because they'll have the goaltending (Vasilevsky is great), and the skating to compete on the bigger ice, but they're almost too small, guys like Tolchinsky, and Buchnevich are wizards with the puck, but they're tiny. Also the Russians leaving out Nikolai Goldobin didn't make much sense, as he's been very good for Sarnia this year. 

Seattle Linga's picture

 Hey Aubrey - I realize the major focus is on Football and Basketball but do you ever anticipate  us ever competing for the frozen four? I know getting into the tourney is tough but do you  ever think we'll see the day  when we make it to the final weekend?

William's picture

Ohio State certainly has the money to make ice hockey relevant. It just depends on if they're willing to spend it (they need their own rink). Bowling Green has a national title, and is almost always a decent squad, and Miami is always amongst the nation's elite. Hockey is much bigger in Ohio than it used to be, and if OSU manages to keep kids in Ohio from going to Miami (tough job), as well as stealing a few from Minnesota/Wisconsin/Massachusetts, they could be well on their way to being a force in college hockey. Of course that is all easier said than done. 

Seattle Linga's picture

Thanks William - do you really think that if we had our own rink - a much more interment setting, that would be enough? Maybe so or maybe not but I think it would be a great starting point.

Aubrey Nelson's picture

If you’d asked me back in March, I’d have said yes, definitely. The course Osiecki was on seemed to be one that would eventually lead to the Frozen Four. I’ve been impressed with Rohlik so far this season but it’s a little too soon to pass judgment one way or the other on his ability build the program into a perennial conference (and serious national title) contender. In order for that to happen he’s going to have to prove that he can develop players for pro careers and oversee a winning team. That will be key for recruiting elite level players, which will in turn be crucial for the Buckeyes to become a regular tournament team. (All this is provided he gets the support he needs from the powers-that-be at OSU and they don’t pull the plug on him llike they did Osiecki.)  Like William said, a hockey-specific arena definitely wouldn’t hurt recruiting. I’m not sure when we could realistically expect the ball to begin rolling on that process, though, and even a state-of-the-art arena isn’t going to be enough to woo the really talented guys away from teams like Minnesota or Michigan. We (or at least I) probably won’t be able to judge whether Rohlik is really the right man for this job until the end of next season. I'm hopeful that he is and the days aren't too far away when Buckeye fans make Frozen Four travel plans.

NC_Buckeye's picture

Recruiting-wise, getting on BTN on a regular basis will be just as important as building a hockey only arena. And even that is going to be a tough task. Ratings are going to favor teams like Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Michigan State. BTN is going to favor those guys in order to make broadcasts of B1G hockey a successful venture.
Of course, winning conference games will have an impact too.

Aubrey Nelson's picture

Also a good point. 

MN Buckeye's picture

It would be great if we could begin competing with Minnesota for great players. I am hoping that everyone will benefit from a unified B1G for hockey.

45has2's picture

Hockey Bros, thanks for playing the game you love for The Ohio State University. Now get out there and score those dirty goals. The Buckeye Faithful are with you, Merry Christmas to you and yours.

"I don't like nice people. I like tough, honest people." -W.W. Hayes