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Talented U.S. junior hockey team looks for missing ingredient and gold
Canadian Press
Dec 6, 2006, 8:34 PM EST


(CP) - The U.S. has the personnel to contend for gold at the 2007 world junior hockey championships and it's a matter of finding the team chemistry to win it.

The Americans were favoured to win the 2006 tournament in Vancouver with a load of talent, but underachieved and finished fourth.

"(After) last year obviously I think we have a lot to prove as a team," veteran forward Jack Skille said Wednesday on a conference call. "We didn't do as well as we thought we would."

"Personally I feel I have a lot to prove and my teammates should have a lot to prove too."

The U.S. opens the world junior championships Dec. 26 against Germany, Sweden, Slovakia and defending champion Canada are also in their pool.

Skille, out of the University of Wisconsin, is one of the eight veterans returning from the U.S. team in Vancouver.

What stands out on this American squad is their top four defencemen.

University of Minnesota's Erik Johnson was the No. 1 pick in this year's NHL draft by the Blues, Michigan's Jack Johnson was the No. 2 draft pick in 2005 by the Ducks, North Dakota's Taylor Chorney is a second-round pick of the Oilers and teammate Brian Lee will play in his third straight world junior tournament.

Defencemen Sean Zimmerman of the Western Hockey League's Spokane Chiefs was also named to the team.

Everett Silvertips forward Peter Mueller, University of Wisconsin's Skille and Boston College's Nate Gerbe are the returning forwards.

Boston Bruins forward Phil Kessel is 19 and eligible to play in the tournament a third straight year, but the Bruins aren't giving him up.

"They were going to give Phil every opportunity to have a successful rookie season," head coach Ron Rolston said. "In the end, it came down to he wasn't going to be available."

Mueller, a first-round pick of the Phoenix Coyotes, is among the leading scorers in the WHL.

Other Canadian Hockey League players on the U.S. team are Patrick Kane of the London Knights, currently tied for the lead in Ontario Hockey League scoring, and Trevor Lewis of the Owen Sound Attack.

"You look at our forwards and the one thing we really wanted to bring to the table is a competitive nature and there's a lot of character there," Rolston said. "We wanted to make sure we have a lot of multi-dimensional players."

The Americans also have Jeff Frazee of the University of Minnesota returning in goal.

Fifteen of the Americans have played together in USA Hockey's National Team Development Program and five of them are teammates at Minnesota.

Rolston hopes that experience fosters team unity that was missing in Vancouver.

"We're going to be together three weeks so hopefully we can stand each other," he said. "They have to be willing and able to adjust to the adversity through a tournament like this that's very demanding. There's a lot of ups and downs and a lot of crazy things happen.

FULL STORY
 

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panoo said:
Talented U.S. junior hockey team looks for missing ingredient and gold
Canadian Press
Dec 6, 2006, 8:34 PM EST


(CP) - The U.S. has the personnel to contend for gold at the 2007 world junior hockey championships and it's a matter of finding the team chemistry to win it.

The Americans were favoured to win the 2006 tournament in Vancouver with a load of talent, but underachieved and finished fourth.

"(After) last year obviously I think we have a lot to prove as a team," veteran forward Jack Skille said Wednesday on a conference call. "We didn't do as well as we thought we would."

"Personally I feel I have a lot to prove and my teammates should have a lot to prove too."

The U.S. opens the world junior championships Dec. 26 against Germany, Sweden, Slovakia and defending champion Canada are also in their pool.

Skille, out of the University of Wisconsin, is one of the eight veterans returning from the U.S. team in Vancouver.

What stands out on this American squad is their top four defencemen.

University of Minnesota's Erik Johnson was the No. 1 pick in this year's NHL draft by the Blues, Michigan's Jack Johnson was the No. 2 draft pick in 2005 by the Ducks, North Dakota's Taylor Chorney is a second-round pick of the Oilers and teammate Brian Lee will play in his third straight world junior tournament.

Defencemen Sean Zimmerman of the Western Hockey League's Spokane Chiefs was also named to the team.

Everett Silvertips forward Peter Mueller, University of Wisconsin's Skille and Boston College's Nate Gerbe are the returning forwards.

Boston Bruins forward Phil Kessel is 19 and eligible to play in the tournament a third straight year, but the Bruins aren't giving him up.

"They were going to give Phil every opportunity to have a successful rookie season," head coach Ron Rolston said. "In the end, it came down to he wasn't going to be available."

Mueller, a first-round pick of the Phoenix Coyotes, is among the leading scorers in the WHL.

Other Canadian Hockey League players on the U.S. team are Patrick Kane of the London Knights, currently tied for the lead in Ontario Hockey League scoring, and Trevor Lewis of the Owen Sound Attack.

"You look at our forwards and the one thing we really wanted to bring to the table is a competitive nature and there's a lot of character there," Rolston said. "We wanted to make sure we have a lot of multi-dimensional players."

The Americans also have Jeff Frazee of the University of Minnesota returning in goal.

Fifteen of the Americans have played together in USA Hockey's National Team Development Program and five of them are teammates at Minnesota.

Rolston hopes that experience fosters team unity that was missing in Vancouver.

"We're going to be together three weeks so hopefully we can stand each other," he said. "They have to be willing and able to adjust to the adversity through a tournament like this that's very demanding. There's a lot of ups and downs and a lot of crazy things happen.

FULL STORY
Jack Johnson was taken third overall in 2005 who wrote this artical wow they will let anyone do reports these days.
 
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