It’s around Christmas every year that the die hard and crazy Blues fans turn some of their attention from beloved Bluenote to the future wearers of blue sweaters. The 2011 IIHF World Junior Championships kick off in Buffalo, New York today. While its teh first time in a few years the Blues haven’t had a prospect on the US squad, they have four others representing their countries.
Here is everything you need to know about who is playing and when you can see them.
Forward / Canada
Drafted 14th Overall at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft
Freshman at Colorado College
Don’t let his size fool you. He may be listed at 5’10 and 184 pounds, but he will go to all areas of the ice to make a play.
The slick offensively talented forward is making his first appearance for Team Canada and according to Bob McKenzie his abilities will be showcased, at least to start the tourney, with Brayden Schenn (Kings) and Louis Leblanc (Canadiens). He will also appear on the primary power play unit with Schenn, Leblanc, Ryan Johansen, Zach Kassian and Ryan Ellis.
To say that Schwartz has earned a golden opportunity to stand out of the shadows of bad news (his sister Mandi’s cancer recurrence) and obscurity (a USHL and US college development path) is an understatement. A deep run in a prominent position will do the 18 year old native of Melfort, Sask. quite a bit of good.
In 17 games for Colorado College Schwartz has 11 goals and 26 points.
Forward / Russia
Drafted 16th Overall at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft
Playing For Novosibirsk Siber of the KHL
We’ve discussed the Russian point producer before here at BlueNoteZone. The kid has all the tools of the trade to be an effective offensive threat in the NHL. All that is left is his trip over the Atlantic and learning the North American game. He has represented his homeland before, so he knows what he is getting in to. Don’t expect him to take the “kids” at the tournament less seriously just because he plays against men in the KHL. He should be going full tilt.
According to McKenzie he will skate on the Russian top line with Maxim Kitsyn (Kings) and Daniil Sobchenko.
In 35 KHL games this season Tarasenko has 8 goals and 16 points.
Forward / Sweden
Drafted 44th Overall (2nd Round) at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft
Playing For Brynas IF Gavle of the Swedish Elite League (SEL)
Most Blues fans don’t know much about Sebastian Wannstrom. The WJC is a great opportunity to see the Center/Right Winger for the first time. Listed at 6’0 and 176 pounds he has room to grow in to a NHL caliber frame. Scotung reports indicate he is a techincally skilled player who can create space to operate in. While he hasn’t produced may points in the SEL, just 2 assists in 44 games, he has been a scorer at the junior level. In 72 games over the least three years with Brynäs J20 in the SuperElit Wannstrom has 46 goals and 84 points.
Defenseman / Finland
Drafted 104th Overall (4th Round) at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft
Playing For Blues U20 of the Jr. A SM-Liiga
Yet another mid round Scandinavian prospect Blues fans may not know. Hakapaa is a native of Kirkkonummi, Finland and is listed at 6’4 and 218 pounds. Not really known for his offensive play, but more for his defensive abilities. Although, he does have 1 goal and 11 points through 21 games this season. He has 12 other appearances for Finland internationally. He competed in the 2010 IIHF WJC Under 18 Tournament.
Christopher Ralph of TheHockeyWriters.com has a three part series posted previewing the teams and players. Schwartz is a topic of conversation in part 1.
Check out a video blog by KG’s District.
Please check out FromtheRink.com and their WJC preview. I lent them my predictions for Gold, Silver, Bronze and the Darkhorse.
NHL Network in the US is carrying the Canadian and US games as well as the elimination and medal rounds. Here is a link to the schedule.
*All times Eastern
Sunday, December 26
4:00 PM 2011 World Junior Championship: Russia vs. Canada
8:00 PM 2011 World Junior Championship: Finland vs. USA
Tuesday, December 28
4:00 PM 2011 World Junior Championship: Canada vs. Czech Republic
8:00 PM 2011 World Junior Championship: USA vs. Slovakia
Wednesday, December 29
4:00 AM Encore Presentation – 2011 WJC USA vs. Slovakia from 12/28/10
9:00 AM Encore Presentation – 2011 WJC USA vs. Slovakia from 12/28/10
7:30 PM 2011 World Junior Championship: Norway vs. Canada
Thursday, December 30
3:00 PM 2011 World Junior Championship: Sweden vs. Czech Republic
7:00 PM 2011 World Junior Championship: Germany vs. USA
Friday, December 31
4:00 AM Encore Presentation – 2011 WJC Germany vs. USA from 12/30/10
9:00 AM Encore Presentation – 2011 WJC Germany vs. USA from 12/30/10
4:00 PM 2011 World Junior Championship: Canada vs. Sweden
8:00 PM 2011 World Junior Championship: USA vs. Switzerland
Saturday, January 1, 2011
4:00 AM Encore Presentation – 2011 WJC USA vs. Switzerland from 12/31/10
7:00 AM Encore Presentation – 2011 WJC USA vs. Switzerland from 12/31/10
Sunday, January 2
3:30 PM 2011 World Junior Championship: Quarterfinal # 1
7:30 PM 2011 World Junior Championship: Quarterfinal # 2
The BlueNoteZone will once again be providing recaps and analysis of the games that are shown on TV that involved Blues prospects. Please check back for more information. You can also follow us on Twitter, @BlueNoteZone | @618_STLBlues and on Facebook on our Fan Page. You can find more St. Louis Blues Blogs on Facebook as well on the St. Louis Blues Blogs Fan Page.