Christmas time is coming somewhat sooner for me than the rest of you lot because I’m spending two weeks in Mexico between now and then. Christmas time means it’s time to get ready for one thing; respect for a beautiful and age old tradition dating back to the year zero. Speaking of which isn’t it a weird coincidence that Jesus was born in the year zero? Someone made a really brave call selling "Year Zero!" calendars and must have been sweating bullets when He didn’t show up until December 25th.
Back on topic obviously the important annual tradition we all get time off of work for is the World Junior Championship. Though their cupboard is far from stacked the Leafs will be sending a player to the US team and have another player with a good shot at making the Canadian squad.
Currently with the Toronto Marlies of the AHL Jerry D’Amigo played 7 games with the US in last year’s WJC scoring 6 goals and 6 assists to finish with 12 points on the Gold Medal winning side. Since then he’s ditched RPI to jump straight to the AHL. With 3 goals and 6 assists in 26 games it’s obvious that playing in the AHL is a little harder than the World Juniors or the NCAA which is bad news for Team Canada. The US team will have an entire line of returning players who are now in the AHL; D’Amigo, Kyle Palmieri and Jeremy Morin who played five games with the Blackhawks this year.
Brad Ross, shown above terrifying some poor defenseman, was chosen in the second round of the 2010 draft. He’s apparently quite the agitator and has some decent hands as well with 13 goals and 26 points in 29GP in Portland of the WHL this year. Playing on a line with Nino Neiderreiter last year Portland had arguably the best first line in the WHL.
A late camp invite was Owen Sound’s Jesse Blacker. Blacker played a few games with the Marlies last year and is now at a point per game pace in the OHL (27GP 7G 20A 27Pts). As a defenseman. Sold as a power play quarterback and a puck mover he may be a long shot to make the team given his late invite but certainly looks like a promising player.
Not a ton of prospects to cheer for in the WJC if you’re a Leafs fan, and certianly nothing as interesting as Nazem Kadri showing Nino where a necktie is commonly worn, but two decent prospects working their way through a pretty elite tournament. I for one look forward to laying on my couch with a two four all week.