Connor McDavid has a target return date as Canada’s world junior camp opens

Jared Clinton
Connor McDavid (Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

That sound you hear is an entire nation exhaling, as it appears Connor McDavid could be back in time to start the World Junior Championship.

The potential return date for McDavid is Dec. 21, when Canada faces off against Sweden in a pre-tournament game in Ottawa. Scott Salmond, Hockey Canada’s vice-president of hockey operations, told the Toronto Sun that the 17-year-old phenom is actually ahead of schedule.

McDavid had his cast removed this week and, for the first time since breaking his hand on Nov. 11, has been cleared to take part in non-contact practices. Arguably the brightest star in junior hockey, McDavid’s return gives the Canadian squad one of the most legitimate scoring threats in the tournament. Read more

Finland, Sweden, Russia, Switzerland and the Czechs release WJC camp rosters

Pittsburgh's Kasperi Kapanen (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

We are mere weeks away from the World Junior Championship, where Toronto and Montreal will play host to some of the best teenaged players on the planet. Canada and the U.S. announced their final camp rosters last week and now it’s Europe’s turn to shine. Camp rosters are trickling out and there are some big names – and big snubs to consider. Here’s the latest:

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Oilers already have perfect man to oversee rebuild: Bob Nicholson

Nicholson

So Edmonton Oilers GM Craig MacTavish was scheduled to meet with the media on Friday morning to “address the Oilers performance through 26 games and take questions.” That promises to be a pleasant exchange of ideas.

By all accounts, MacTavish will not announce either of the two things for which many Oiler fans are clamoring – that he’s firing the coach or he’s making a blockbuster trade to upgrade the roster. In reality, with an 11-game losing streak and the stench of defeat permeating the organization, neither of those would provide much relief. The best thing the Oilers could do now is stay the course and finish in the standings exactly where they are now. That would guarantee them at worst the second overall pick and the best chance at the first, meaning they’d have the opportunity to draft a potential generational superstar in either Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel. Not even the Oilers could screw that up. Read more

Jack Eichel headlines USA world junior selection camp roster

Jack Eichel (No. 9) makes Team USA an instant contender at the 2015 world juniors.(Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

It was no surprise when Connor McDavid cracked Canada’s World Junior Championship selection camp roster, announced yesterday. It was even less surprising when Jack Eichel made the U.S. camp roster. Both are viewed as neck-and-neck to go first overall in the 2015 NHL draft, and if McDavid could make his nation’s squad with a broken hand, a healthy Eichel was a lock. Especially with the way he’s torn up the NCAA ranks as a freshman with Boston University.

Fuelled by the U.S. National Team Development Program’s perpetual harvest of great prospects, the Yankees are borderline co-favorites in this year’s tournament. Their 30-man camp roster includes 24 players drafted to NHL teams. The complete list:

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Team Canada hopes to get it ‘right’ in 2015 with some NHL help

Ken Campbell
Anthony Duclair (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)

Unless Canada’s team for the World Junior Championship gets a couple of big assists from the NHL it is going to be very short on two things – Quebec-born players and right wingers. Both of those could get a boost if Anthony Duclair is released to play by the New York Rangers, but it likely means players will be moving around.

One player who is invited and is expected to play is Ho-Sang’s midget hockey linemate, Connor McDavid, who has been out with a broken hand. McDavid has his next evaluation on Dec. 9 and the Canadian team will know better then about his availability. He’s expected to be ready to play when Canada opens the tournament Dec. 26, but even if he’s not, the team can carry one extra player and put him on the roster anytime before the semifinal, which it intends to do.

It also means that those who evaluate players for Team Canada, for whatever reason, don’t want anything to do with Josh Ho-Sang of the Niagara IceDogs, a first-round pick of the New York Islanders last June. Despite the fact that Ho-Sang has 26 points in 18 games in the Ontario League this season and that only two natural right wingers – Jake Virtanen and Nick Baptiste – were invited to the final camp, Ho-Sang was not invited.

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Detroit Red Wings prospect Dylan Larkin heads up The Hot List

Dylan Larkin (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

The big stories in the prospect world lately have been college related. Specifically, players changing their minds about where they want to go. Brock Boeser was headed to Wisconsin, but the 2015 prospect has re-opened matters. And Notre Dame has been bit twice in the past couple days, first by Matthew Tkachuk (2016) and now by Brent Gates (2015). Will these talented players end up in major junior, or just elsewhere on the college scene? We’ll keep you posted, but for now let’s look at some of the other kids making noise in the hockey world right now.

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Pat Quinn and me: Remembering a legend

Pat Quinn (Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

When I think of Pat Quinn, I harken back to the dark days of February, 1999. Quinn was just months into his tenure as coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs and I was equally green as the Maple Leafs beat reporter with The Toronto Star covering him.

I had found out not long before that my father was dying of cancer. Word somehow got to Quinn and one day during a post-practice scrum when I think he could see I was smiling on the outside and dying on the inside and was being cajoled by my colleagues, he pulled me into him with his big right arm and held me close for just a second. He never mentioned a word of it ever again, and neither did I. Read more