We still have just over a month before the Dallas Stars begin their training camp, but two of the team's top prospects are already hitting the ice. Both Jack Campbell and Scott Glennie will be participating in national evaluation camps, as they work to make their respective country's team for the 2011 World Junior Championships.
Campbell, as some of you may recall, was the goaltender for the USA team during this past year's championships. His incredible performance, helping lead the U.S. past Canada for the gold medal, is part of the reason he started to shoot up the draft boards during the spring.
It's nearly certain he'll be the starting goaltender once more for the United States and if he isn't -- well, then the Stars made a mistake when they drafted him. He's the best junior goaltender in the country, by far, and he'll get a chance to lead his team to a hopeful repeat in 2011.
The USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp started today in Lake Placid, New York (where else), and the US players will be taking part in several exhibition games against Finland and Sweden starting on Monday. The great news, if you are so inclined, is that these games are available for viewing online -- if you're willing to shell out a bit of cash for the priviledge. You can catch the games at USAHockey.FastHockey.com. Here's the schedule:
|Aug. 3||USA vs. Sweden||3 p.m.|
|Aug. 4||USA vs. Finland||3 p.m.|
|Aug. 5||Finland vs. Sweden||3 p.m.|
|Aug. 6||USA vs. Sweden||3 p.m.|
|Aug. 7||USA vs. Finland||3 p.m.|
Also of note was the formal announcement of Jack Campbell as the new goaltender for the Windsor Spitfires, winners of the past two Memorial Cups. What's interesting is that when Campbell was drafted by the Stars, he made it clear to me that heading off to Windsor wasn't a 100% guarantee and that he was hopeful for a chance to make a difference for the Stars sooner than later.
Of course, considering how goaltenders develop, there was almost zero chance of that happening. Heading to Windsor, where he'll face plenty of great offensive firepower, will be a good test for the top prospect in the Stars organization (yes, I'm putting him ahead of Glennie -- and Larsen I don't count as a junior prospect any more).
As for Glennie, his place on the Canadian team is far less certain. He didn't get to take part in the World Juniors this past spring after suffering a fairly severe concussion in the middle of the season. He was very likely to have made the team last time and if he's as good as everyone hopes he is then he should make it this time around. Hockey Canada's National Junior Team development camp kicks off next week with the hopefuls split between a Team Red and a Team White, with Glennie slated to play for Team White.
If you remember, it was during the World Juniors in 2009 that we really started to notice that Jamie Benn had taken that big next step to being great. After the championships, Benn went on one hell of a tear that ended with him leading Kelowna to the Memorial Cup final. We all know how he's done since then.
Glennie has a chance to be considered for the NHL team next season, and this season in Brandon is going to be key for the right winger. He's always been a big-time scorer, but he needs to prove that he can step it up and score the goals when his team needs him most -- in the World Juniors and in the playoffs for Brandon. I know that some weren't too thrilled with Glennie being picked by the Stars last summer, but this season he has the chance to prove that he truly is the special prospect we all think he is.
Like the USA team, you can catch the Canadian games on pay-per-view online while you'll get to see all the practices FOR FREE. You can catch all the action at hockeycanada.fasthockey.com. Here's the schedule:
|Wed. Aug. 4||Team White Practice||4:45 p.m.|
|Wed. Aug. 4||Team Red Practice||5:45 p.m.|
|Thu. Aug. 5||Team Red and White Practice||7:15 a.m.|
|Fri. Aug. 6||Team White Practice||7:00 a.m.|
|Fri. Aug. 6||Team Red Practice||8:15 a.m.|
|Fri. Aug. 6||Red vs. White scrimmage||4:30 p.m.|
|Sat. Aug. 7||Red vs. White scrimmage||4:30 p.m.|
Hat tip to Mark Stepneski over at ESPN Dallas for the info. Without him, we'd all be lost.