SPECIAL TEAMS FOCUS
As the snow continues to fall in Buffalo, day two of the U.S. National Junior Team Training Camp continued here at HarborCenter. After a series of drills, the team turned its focus on special team.
"The pace was outstanding and the guys were really getting after it today," said Bob Motzko, head coach of the 2017 U.S. National Junior Team. "We told them back in August that they're the ones who decide this team, not us. Their play will tell us who deserves to wear the Red, White and Blue, and so far everyone is doing a real good job of making a name for themselves."
NO DAYLIGHT BETWEEN US
A recurring theme Coach Motzko has brought to this year's team is the sense of unity and of working together for one common.
"Every player in this tournament has skill," said Coach Motzko. "The bottom line is skill alone won't win this tournament. We need to come together as a unit. No daylight between us. Back in August the biggest thing we liked was its vibe, and so far it looks like it hasn't missed a beat here in Buffalo. These kids enjoy spending time with one another, whether it was last night at the Sabres game or this morning at breakfast or even in between drills. Getting them to want to win for one another, with one another, can take us really far this year."
NHL NETWORK WRAPPING UP SHOTS
NHL Network, the exclusive U.S. TV home of the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship is in town wrapping up content for the tournament. In addition to the numerous footage obtained during USA Hockey's National Junior Evaluation Camp last August, NHL Network went behind-the-scenes while also grabbing some additional interviews with players and staff members for this year's broadcast coverage.
SNOW FALL CONTINUES
Due to a lake-effect snow fall from Lake Erie, parts of Buffalo saw close to a foot of snow fall yesterday and into the night. While the players and staff have the luxury of choosing where to spend dinner, many have commented on the desire to stay inside. The weather, which has had a hand in affecting travel for U.S. players and staff, prevented forward Alex DeBrincat (Farmington Hills, Mich./Erie Otters) and forward Jeremy Bracco (Freeport, N.Y./Kitchener Rangers) from facing off against one another on Wednesday night (Dec. 14).
YOUTH PLAYERS EYE TEAM USA
In addition to the U.S. National Junior Team Training Camp, the HarborCenter is playing host to a youth hockey tournament. As the games are taking place both before and after Team USA's ice times, a large contingent of young, promising hockey players have their eyes on Team USA's practices.
"It's neat to see the kids here watching us," said forward Tage Thompson (Orange, Conn./Univ. of Connecticut). "I looked up to a bunch of players growing up, so it's cool to know there's kids out here looking up to me and the guys on the team. It's been fun talking to some of them -- one of the kids actually said his brother's committed to UConn next year so that was neat to hear."