NJEC: A Brief Weekend Recap
Posted on August 8, 2011 by Chris Peters
This weekend marked the opening of the 2011 U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp. Saturday and Sunday, the 44 Americans vying for the attention of Dean Blais split into two squads for a pair of intersquad games. The weekend was split, with each team winning a game, though White won the series tie-breaking shootout.
Quickly, a recap of the two games
On Day 1, Blue defeated White 4-3, with Austin Watson scoring twice for Blue and Chase Balisy potting a pair for White. Blues other two goals were scored by Nick Shore and T.J. Tynan, while Whites other goal was tallied by Jason Zucker.
White earned a 4-2 win on Day 2, with J.T. Miller scoring a pair for the winning side. Whites other goals were scored by Rocco Grimaldi and Kenny Agostino (eng), while Kevin Hayes and T.J. Tynan scored for Team Blue.
Coming up after the jump, analysis of Sundays Blue-White game, including some players that stood out, and updates on the U.S. Under-18 and Under-17 Select Teams, which open tournament play this week.
I was only able to catch the second game of the weekend, watching the archive on FASTHockey.com. For a bunch of guys wrapping up their summers, the pace and intensity of the game was right where youd like it to be.
Theres always going to be the sloppy moments and lack of chemistry in this type of environment, but its important to watch how players deal with that form of adversity. The good ones tend to deal with it pretty well.
In the game I was able to watch there were a few standouts. Watching the games on video makes it tough to get a really good feel for how players are doing throughout the game as sometimes youre at the mercy of whoever is doing play-by-play. Still, based on what Ive seen, here are a few of the guys that stood out to me:
J.T. Miller IIf youre a North Dakota fan, you may want to briefly look away
Both of Millers goals were net-front tip-ins. The first was on the rush thanks to a nice feed from Rocco Grimaldi and the second came off of a nice point shot from Seth Jones. Miller also looked like he was skating really well and played with some grit. The fact that both goals were thanks to his going to the net hard is encouraging. The U.S. needs a player thats going to provide traffic and a presence in front of the net and play in the difficult areas of the ice. Miller showed he has the ability to be that guy. Consistency has always been a bugaboo for Miller, so it will be important to keep bringing the game he brought today for the rest of the camp.
Jared Knight I was interested to see how Knights offensive game would translate, but I didnt at all expect to see a fearless shot blocker. Over the two days, Knight got in the way of several shots and was tremendous for Team White on the penalty kill in Sundays action. He made things really difficult for opposing defensemen in his own zone and showed the ability to transition to offense really easily.
T.J. Tynan With goals each night, Tynan has shown he can produce in just about any environment. Hes always having to prove people wrong. While the goals were great, Tynans biggest asset is his speed. He showed a whole bunch of it. Because of his small stature, Tynan has to bring something else to the table, and he brings some speed and some finish. For his goal Sunday, Tynan drove hard to the net, took a great pass from Stefan Noesen and beat the goaltender with a quick deke. He needs to play fearless and fast. Thats his ticket onto the team. So far, so good.
Charlie Coyle Coyle was arguably Team USAs best player not named Jack Campbell at the last World Juniors. He had a fantastic first period, showing off some improved skating and playmaking ability. He looked like he was seeing the ice well and getting around in a hurry. He faded away towards the end, but showed flashes of that brilliance from last winter.
Adam Clendening I tweeted last night that every once in a while Clendening will do something at the offensive blue line that will make your eyes bulge. Whether its sidestepping a forward, finding a passing lane that shouldnt have been there or wiring a shot top shelf, hes got some great offensive instincts. He made one such play in the second period of Sundays contest in which he made a subtle move around an oncoming forward, found some space and threaded a pass to a teammate for a scoring chance. Team Blue was under assault defensively from White for most of the game, but that one play from Clendening was pretty slick.
Rocco Grimaldi Grimaldi had a pretty solid game Sunday, scoring Whites first goal and setting up Millers first tally. If theres one thing Dean Blais loved about his team in 2010, it was its speed. Grimaldi can wheel as well as anyone in camp and had a solid day of production. It seemed like his line was constantly in the offensive zone in the first two periods and Grimaldi didnt shy away from the big mean defensemen for Team Blue.
Justin Holl It had been a while since Id seen Holl play, and I actually liked what I saw. I still dont know if its good enough for him to be on the team, but he has an easiness to his game that I find somewhat comforting. He had a few miscues Sunday, but overall looked confident and skates pretty well.
Brian Cooper The only first-year Draft-eligible in camp has some really solid offensive tools, but his size is going to limit him in the defensive zone, particularly against big, physical teams (of which there are many in the WJC). That said, I think hes going to turn some heads this year in the draft, whether he makes this team or not. He skates very well and wasnt afraid to jump into the play. He had a rough go a few times in the corners, but thats going to come with the territory of being a small defenseman.
Seth Jones The youngest player in camp continues to impress. He assisted Millers second goal and looked pretty solid in Sundays contest. The more I see Jones play, the more I believe hes going to be really hard to cut from this team. He didnt get pushed around out there and looked every bit as good as some of the WJC veteran defensemen. He skates extremely well for a big kid and is continuing to tack on some much-needed muscle. Another half season at the NTDP could be all he needs to jump into the lineup and contribute. Scary talent for someone so young.
One sour note
Of the six shooters who went in the tie-breaking shootout, only one scored. Shane McColgan, who made a nifty little move to beat Andy Iles, was the only one who found the net.
The reason this is a sour note? The U.S. usually struggles with shootouts. There was the shootout loss in 2007 to Canada in the semis, henceforth known as the Toews Game (::shudder::). Then there was the preliminary round shootout loss to Canada in 2010. Good thing that wasnt the game that counted most that year.
So when one of six shooters score in a shootout in a situation with little pressure, its probably not the best thing. The odds of getting into a shootout situation at the WJC arent that great, but its still an important element of the tournament. Its one the U.S. cant afford to be sub-par in either.
The U.S. split squads will open play Monday against the European teams tomorrow. Team Blue will take on Sweden at 1 p.m. EDT, while Team White will meet Finland at 4:30 p.m. Both games will be carried live on FASTHockey.com, with live statistics here. USA Hockey has its World Juniors Blog up and running for the camp as well.
2011 USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp Final Roster
Pos. Name Ht Wt Birthdate S/C Hometown 2010-11 Team
G Jack Campbell 6-2 182 1/9/92 L Port Huron, Mich. Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
G John Gibson 6-3 200 7/14/93 L Pittsburgh, Pa. U.S. Nat'l U18 Team (USHL)
G Andy Iles 5-9 180 1/30/92 L Ithaca, N.Y. Cornell Univ. (ECACH)
D Adam Clendening 5-11 190 10/26/92 R Niagara Falls, N.Y. Boston Univ. (HEA)
D Justin Faulk 5-11 200 3/20/92 R South St. Paul, Minn. Univ. of Minn. Duluth (WCHA)
D Derek Forbort 6-5 200 3/4/92 L Duluth, Minn. Univ. of North Dakota (WCHA)
D Stephen Johns 6-4 221 4/18/92 R Wampum, Pa. Univ. of Notre Dame (CCHA)
D Seth Jones 6-3 195 10/3/94 R Plano, Texas U.S. Nat'l U18 Team (USHL)
D Austin Levi 6-4 190 2/16/92 L Aurora, Colo. Plymouth Whalers (OHL)
D Jon Merrill 6-3 209 2/3/92 L Brighton, Mich. Univ. of Michigan (CCHA)
D Connor Murphy 6-3 192 3/26/93 R Dublin, Ohio U.S. Nat'l U18 Team (USHL)
D Jarred Tinordi 6-7 215 2/20/92 L Millersville, Md. London Knights (OHL)
F Kenny Agostino 5-11 195 4/30/92 L Flanders, N.J. Yale Univ. (ECACH)
F Bill Arnold 6-0 215 5/13/92 R Needham, Mass. Boston College (HEA)
F Nick Bjugstad 6-4 204 7/17/92 R Blaine, Minn. Univ. of Minnesota (WCHA)
F Connor Brickley 6-1 195 2/25/92 L Everett, Mass. Univ. of Vermont (HEA)
F Charlie Coyle 6-2 207 3/2/92 R East Weymouth, Mass. Boston Univ. (HEA)
F Emerson Etem 6-1 197 6/16/92 L Long Beach, Calif. Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL)
F Brian Ferlin 6-1 200 6/3/92 R Jacksonville, Fla. Indiana Ice (USHL)
F Rocco Grimaldi 5-6 170 2/8/93 R Rossmoor, Calif. U.S. Nat'l U18 Team (USHL)
F Jared Knight 5-11 202 1/16/92 R Battle Creek, Mich. London Knights (OHL)
F J.T. Miller 6-1 195 3/14/93 L East Palestine, Ohio U.S. Nat'l U18 Team (USHL)
F Stefan Noesen 6-1 195 2/12/93 R Plano, Texas Plymouth Whalers (OHL)
F Shane Prince 5-11 185 11/16/92 L Spencerport, N.Y. Ottawa 67's (OHL)
F Nick Shore 6-0 200 9/26/92 R Denver, Colo. Univ. of Denver
F Vince Trochek 5-11 185 7/11/93 R Pittsburgh, Pa. Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
F T.J. Tynan 5-8 170 2/25/92 R Orland Park, Ill. Univ. of Notre Dame (CCHA)
F Austin Watson 6-3 195 1/13/92 R Ann Arbor, Mich. Peterborough Petes (OHL)
F Jason Zucker 5-11 180 1/16/92 L Las Vegas, Nev. Univ. of Denver (WCHA)
General Manager: Jim Johannson, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Director of Player Personnel: Tim Taylor, Guilford, Conn.
Head Coach: Dean Blais, International Falls, Minn.
Assistant Coaches: Scott Sandelin, Hermantown, Minn.; Tom Ward, Prior Lake, Minn.; Joe Exter, Saline, Mich.
Camp Coaches: Dan Bylsma, North Hills, Pa.; Mike Sullivan, Marshfield, Mass.
Equipment Manager: Brock Bradley, Ypsilanti, Mich.; Mark Pane, Omaha, Neb.
Athletic Trainers: Stan Wong, Boca Raton, Fla.; Jason Hodges, Chelsea, Mich.
Video Coordinator: Nick Fohr, Omaha, Neb.
National Program Advisor: Ben Smith, Gloucester, Mass.
Manager of Communications: Alex Clark, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Camp Communications: Alex DiFilippo, Colorado Springs, Colo.
USA HOCKEY, INC.
President: Ron DeGregorio, Salem, N.H.
Executive Director: Dave Ogrean, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Vice President and International Council Chair: Tony Rossi, Chicago, Ill.
Chairman of the Board: Walter L. Bush, Jr., Naples, Fla.
Senior Director of Communications: Dave Fischer, Colorado Springs, Colo.