As of this writing, the status of American forwards Jeremy Morin, Brock Nelson and Jason Zucker, all injured in previous games, remains unclear. Nelson and Morin skated yesterday during Team USA’s practice, while Zucker did not. Still, we can’t assume any will be playing until otherwise notified.
The U.S. can be excited that there is some progress with Nelson and Morin, however Zucker’s situation remains in flux, but one report gives reason for optimism. The Denver Post’s Mike Chambers wrote that Zucker’s injury is not thought to be serious and got a comment from Team USA PR man Alex Clark:
Word out of Buffalo, host of the World Junior Championship, is that DU fabulous freshman and Team USA forward Jason Zucker was not seriously injured in Tuesday’s 6-1 victory over Slovakia…
…USA Hockey media guy Alex Clark wrote in an email to me today that Zucks is “day to day, no word if he will play” Thursday against Germany.
I’m not sure where that “word out of Buffalo” is coming from, but Chambers is a pretty reliable reporter. Team USA has been mostly mum on anything to do with injuries, so it’s hard to know what’s really going on. I’ve asked around to some journalists and bloggers in Buffalo and I’ve tried myself to independently confirm this, but have been unable to. Doesn’t mean its not true, just means I’m taking everything with a grain of salt, particularly when it comes to injuries.
As far as Clark’s comment, day-to-day can mean just about anything. I’m just going to assume Zucker is at least going to be out against Germany. I don’t know that it would make sense to put him in the game if he even has the slightest of ill effects from last night’s hit. With all due respect to the Germans, Team USA should be alright if Zucker is unable to go.
If there’s an update, I’ll have it on Twitter.
The 2011 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge is officially underway in Winnipeg. Just in case you’re wondering what the heck I’m talking about, here’s a link to a brief explanation of the event as well as my preview for Team USA at the tournament.
The U.S. National Under-17 Team got its title defense off on the right foot with a 5-2 win over Team Finland. The U.S. youngsters got a pair of goals from Henrik Samuelsson (son of NHL’s Ulf), while Connor Carrick, Matthew Lane and Nicolas Kerdiles rounded out the scoring. Thomas DiPauli was named Team USA’s player of the game and Jared Rutledge made 15 saves between the pipes.
Most impressive was the fact that Team USA poured 51 shots on net against a team from Finland. Finnish netminder Oskari Setanen might have given up five goals, but he made 46 saves and was named his squad’s player of the game.
The U.S. U-17s oddly enough will take on Germany today at 3 p.m. CST. If you want a little appetizer for the big kids’ game in Buffalo, you can watch the U-17s play on FASTHockey.com (pay-per-view).
Should be interesting to see how this U.S. squad stacks up. It’s certainly a tournament worth keeping tabs on for all of you hockey prospect fans. If they’re worth knowing about in North America, they’re most likely playing this week in Winnipeg.
I’ll help keep you updated throughout the tournament right here on United States of Hockey.
Check back later today for the USA-Germany WJC preview.