Radko Gudas vs Jordan Nolan (via JimKorn20)
Out of 40 invitations, Hockey Canada and the Canadian Hockey League selected 18 Western Hockey League players to participate in Canada’s National Junior Team selection camp [...]. Among them, Medicine Hat’s Linden Vey (Los Angeles Kings) leads the WHL in scoring with 49 points [...]. Despite the evident talent from the WHL selections, Hockey Canada head scout Kevin Prendergast doesn’t believe his roster has any "superstars." "It’s going to be a blue-collar team," Prendergast said. "Knowing the way [head coach] Dave [Cameron] coaches it’s a team that’s going to win on working hard and out-working teams. [...] Last week, the Kings released 19-year-old center Brayden Schenn back to his old Junior team, the Brandon Wheat Kings, making him eligible to play in the World Juniors. [...] Prendergast called adding Schenn to the roster "an early Christmas present."
UND defenseman Derek Forbort, forward Brock Nelson and forward recruit Rocco Grimaldi have been named to the preliminary roster and will attend a pre-tournament camp in upstate New York beginning Dec. 17. [...] Forbort, a 6-foot-4 first-round pick of the Los Angeles Kings, has made a smooth transition to the college game. He is the second-leading scoring defenseman for the Sioux and has seen extended time on specialty teams units. "He’s got a pretty good range of abilities that he can bring," UND coach Dave Hakstol said. "He can bring a real good baseline of two-way play on a consistent basis. [...] I like his versatility in what he can bring to a roster."
"I think it's just great team chemistry," said third year forward Tyler Toffoli, who has a league-high 24 goals [...]. "My line's playing great and it feels like all four of our lines are really doing well. We've just been playing hard and getting a lot of bounces and getting lots of wins." The 67's top line of Toffoli with Shane Prince and Ryan Martindale has combined for 51 goals this season. They are the top three scorers in the Eastern Conference this season and are all among the top six scorers in the league. [...][D]espite having a conference-leading 111 goals through 27 games, the 67's say that they are more focused on team defence. "That's the first thing we go over in practice is our defence," Lindsay said. "We spend a lot more time on that than on offensive stuff." Toffoli said that the entire team has bought into the "our zone first" mentality. "That's where the play usually starts is in our own zone," said Toffoli, a second round pick Los Angeles Kings in June. "All we want to do is get pucks out and forecheck hard. Once we're down low, we're cycling the puck. We're getting a lot of opportunities and scoring."
Manchester (16-9-2) has seven healthy defensemen and only six can play each game. David Kolomatis has most often been the odd man out, sitting as a healthy scratch in five of the last 10 games [...]. "We have a lot of healthy bodies now whereas last year we were looking at 41 different personalities that played for us," said Monarchs head coach Mark Morris. [...] Unfortunately for Kolomatis, his skill set is similar to others on the blue line like Patrick Mullen (who has been part of the rotation with Kolomatis). "With Teubert getting healthy and playing well, he gives us a big body that plays the physical aspect of the game," Morris said. "We've got a lot of similar style defensemen that are noted for their offense so we've had to platoon some players.[...]" Kolomatis is also a victim of prioritization from the Kings organization. Higher draft picks such as Thomas Hickey (first round 2007) and Teubert (first round 2008), represent an investment. The Kings might mandate that certain players see a certain amount of ice time to further their development. "I'm mindful of what the organization is trying to do to bring players along. Occasionally I get calls with certain expectations," Morris said. "It's a challenge some days to try and keep everybody happy."
Monarchs rookie goalie Martin Jones is doing his best to push second-year man Jeff Zatkoff. The 20-year-old Jones is 6-1-0 with a shutout and sparkling goals against (AHL-best 1.52) and save percentage (.947) numbers. "Looking at the stats, it's been pretty impressive what we've seen from Jones. He ranks right up among the top goalies for the limited time he's played," Morris said. "He's really had a nice impact on our goaltending situation."