BUFFALO NY - DECEMBER 26: Goalie Jack Campbell #1 of USA covers up after making a save during the 2011 IIHF World U20 Championship game between USA and Finland on December 26 2010 at HSBC Arena in Buffalo New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
It's that time of year again.
The 2010 IIHF World Junior Championships kick off on December 26, with the Gold Medal game to be held on January 5th in Calgary and Edmonton. For those unfamiliar with the tournament, this IIHF event features the best players from around the world who are 20 years old and younger. The tournament is gaining increasing world-wide popularity and is no longer an all-Canada show, evidenced last year with Russia taking the gold.
Team USA has also become a contender each and every tournament, with perhaps the most exciting international game since 1980 being played between the U.S. and Canada two years ago.
The Dallas Stars will have a number of prospects featured in the tournament, with John Klingberg and Patrik Nemeth already named to Team Sweden's roster. The Czech Republic team has not been named just yet, although you wonder if Matej Stransky will get a shot to represent his team.
Jamie Oleksiak (Canada) and Jack Campbell (USA) have also been named to their respective selection camps. Campbell is a lock to be Team USA's top goaltender once more, while Jamie Oleksiak is very likely to make his first World Juniors roster for Canada.
The Red-White games will be held for Team Canada from December 11-12, with game being played against a Canadian college team. The roster will then be cut down from 41 players to 22 players and will likely be announced just a few days before the tournament.
More after the jump...
Team USA's training camp will be from December 17-23, with games against Russia, Switzerland and Slovakia. The 22-player roster will be announced on December 23. While we'll be paying attention to Oleksiak with the Canadian team, most of us will be rooting hard for Team USA.
The U.S. will be in Group B with Denmark, Finland, Canada and the Czech Republic. Here is the schedule of games for the tournament:
Dec. 26 - U.S. vs. Denmark
Dec. 28 - U.S. vs. Finland
Dec. 30 - U.S. vs. Czech Republic
Dec. 31 - U.S. vs. Canada
Jan. 2 - Quarterfinals
Jan. 3 - Semifinals
Jan. 5 - Gold medal/bronze medal games
Most if not all games will be carried on the NHL Network. The USA has eight returning players from last year, along with some talented newcomers including Austin Czarnik from Miami University and Brandon Saad from Saginaw in the OHL (if he's not with the NHL).
We'll be doing our best to cover the World Juniors, as always, and will be having game threads as often as we can. Unfortunately, it looks like the USA vs. Canada game will be on at the same time as the Stars game on New Year's Eve -- but we'll figure something out.