Blackhawks News

What’s Up at the World Juniors?

By Brian Kasnicka

Jun 27, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Nick Schmaltz puts on a team sweater after being selected as the number twenty overall pick to the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

I enjoyed my Friday by sitting on my couch eating some Christmas leftovers watching the United States steal a win away from the defending Champions, Finland.  It was a close game with great goaltending at both ends.  Although Finland managed a point, the United States collected that second point by winning the shootout thanks to Jack Eichel (2015) and Chase De Leo (WPG).  How about Jack Eichel huh? He showed why he’s going to be one of the first players picked in next year’s draft.  His speed, his vision, and his puck moving ability really stood out for me, but enough about Mr. Eichel.

Four Blackhawks prospects made the Team USA roster this year, including last year’s first round pick Nick Schmaltz.  John Hayden, Anthony Louis, and Tyler Motte also made the team and John Hayden was selected as one of the alternate captains for the team.  Nick Schmaltz, who is having a pretty good year at North Dakota, had a pretty impressive opening game.  Although he was held off the score sheet Schmaltz had some good looks, including dancing around the Finnish defense and almost scoring the game winner with just a few seconds remaining in the third period.  Mark Osiecki, Team USA’s head coach, and assistant coach of the Rockford Icehogs, must think pretty highly of Anthony Louis.  Louis was playing on the top line with Jack Eichel for most of the team’s opening game against the Fins.

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Robin Norell, another Hawks prospect is manning the blue line for the Swedes, who have dominated their first two games of the tournament beating the Czech Republic 5-2 and Denmark 5-1.  Along with Sweden, Team Canada looks like the team to beat as they rolled over Slovakia 8-0 and Germany 4-0.

I’ll be back next week with another update on the World Junior Championships and hopefully some good news about the Hawks prospects who are participating.  Thanks for reading and as a Michigan fan I am rejoicing about these recent Harbaugh rumors.  Sorry just had to through that in there.  Go Hawks!