I'm on and off the grid lately, and between normal responsibilities and my new SB Nation responsibilities and everything that surrounds Christmas prep. I know you all understand, and I'm certainly appreciative of the continued support.
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UMD is off until late next week, when they'll resume practice in preparation for a Jan. 6-7 series at Western Michigan. Head coach Scott Sandelin is in Canada, working as an assistant coach for Team USA at the World Junior Championships, which start Monday.
All of the USA and Canada games will be on NHL Network, with the US games being original productions (they'll take a TSN feed of the Canadian games).
The American group is a bit depleted defensively, with former UMD defenseman Justin Faulk up with the Carolina Hurricanes and not available for the tournament, and 17-year-old Seth Jones now injured and out for the event.
The roster is due out later Thursday morning.
Faulk had another assist for the Hurricanes in a 4-3 loss to Phoenix Wednesday. He led the team with nearly 25 minutes of ice time, an obvious sign that the team likes what they're seeing out of him. He seems more comfortable every time I watch him play.
It's sure a loss for Team USA, but hard to argue from Carolina's standpoint. It's not like general manager Jim Rutherford is supposed to do USA Hockey a favor. They shouldn't be in a position where they feel obligated to loan the guy who's on the ice for them more often than anyone to play in a junior tournament. It's loaded with risks for the organization, and it's not necessarily beneficial to Faulk's development.
I'll post the roster once it's available.