World Juniors: Shaking Off The Rust

It wasn’t a goal that mattered a whole lot; but he did score, and that was the goal for Matt Rust.

Rust, who is looking at the World Junior Championship as a chance to get his offense going, scored at the 19:59 mark of the third period, a goal that ended the U.S. rout of Germany in its opening game in Ottawa, Ont.

Rust started the season at Michigan on an offensive roll, but his goal-scoring cooled off a bit. However, with his speed and passing skills, Rust can change a game quickly. Friday, Rust was a dominant penalty-killer, did well on draws, and his line with Eric Tangradi and Michigan teammate Aaron Palushaj was great down low and creating scoring chances.

“I do what I can with the skills I have. I’m no (James) van Riemsdyk or a Palushaj or a (Colin) Wilson. I don’t have that type of natural scoring ability. However, what I do have is speed. I kill penalties and am tough to play against,” said Rust in a rare moment of crediting himself with what he brings to the table individually.

“My speed allows me to make certain plays and at times they can change a game or be important to turning a game in our favor. I want to bring that consistently to every game; that’s something I struggle with at times, is my consistency. I have worked at it and hope to bring it day after day in Ottawa.”

Friday was a great start.

The chief Chief: Spokane Chief Drayson Bowman was the guy identified before the game by the U.S. coaching staff as being ready for a breakout tourney. His first of two goals showed why. He drove the net, picked up a rebound off a shot from Spokane teammate Mitch Wahl and slammed it home for a 2-1 lead when the U.S. was starting to flatline late in the first period.

Bowman, who is from Colorado and didn’t generate much NCAA interest until he was already committed to playing in Spokane, was looking forward to this tourney if for no other reason than to get away from the close checking of the Western Hockey League.

“Teams keep an eye on me pretty close after my season last year,” said the soft-spoken Bowman. “Hopefully in Ottawa I’ll have some room to create plays and get shots.”

The Big Line: College hockey fans can be proud of Team USA’s big line. The trio of New Hampshire star James van Riemsdyk, Boston University’s Colin Wilson and Minnesota’s Jordan Schroeder had a huge night. They racked up four goals and five assists and 14 shots between them. Schroeder laser-beamed a wrister home to make it 3-1 in the second period and Team USA never looked back.

This is the third international tourney where the trio has played together as a line, and it came together by accident. The original line had Boston College right wing Jimmy Hayes with van Riemsdyk and Wilson, but for the Under-18s last year Schroeder, a year younger and playing on the U-17s, was called up for the tournament. They were put together and it clicked.

Last season at the WJC, the three started on different lines but due to an injury in game one, they were put back together and dominated the event. Judging from Friday’s results, this year should be no different.

Two anniversaries: Three years ago Friday was the night when Phil Kessel had six assists and Chris Bourque five goals in an 11-2 rout of Norway. It was also the 20th anniversary of the trade that sent Colin Wilson’s dad Carey from Hartford to the Rangers. Carey Wilson, who played at Dartmouth, was a member of Canada’s gold medal-winning 1982 World Junior team.

Colin, who was born in the U.S. but grew up mostly in Winnipeg, Man., was invited to Canada’s national team Camp and didn’t make it. Just after that the U.S. National Team Development Program invited Wilson to join and he hasn’t looked back.

Sounds kind of Brett Hull-ish, doesn’t it?

“Funny you should ask,” said Wilson. “My family and the Hulls are great friends, and Brett lived with my family in Winnipeg. My dad and Bobby Hull, Jr., were best men at each other’s weddings.”

Wilson’s granddad played three games for the Jets and later became the team doctor. His dad Carey played parts of 12 seasons in the NHL, including a stint with Paul Fenton. Fenton, now a pro scout with Nashville, was instrumental in having the Preds trade up two spots with the Islanders to select Wilson seventh overall in last year’s draft.

Changing history: Former NHLer Uwe Krupp is a volunteer assistant with Team Germany as well as holding that same position with the Belleville Bulls, where he coaches his son. Krupp scored two famous goals in his career, the biggest being his quadruple-overtime game winner to clinch the Stanley Cup for Colorado in Game 4 of the 1996 Finals.

The other changed the direction of two franchises, both of which haven’t been the same since.

As a member of the Sabres, Krupp’s game winning goal against Pittsburgh on the last day of the 1990 season eliminated Pittsburgh from the playoffs. Because of that, the Islanders, Krupp’s future team, did make it. It also changed the draft position in the pre-lottery era. Pittsburgh moved up to draft fifth, the Isles sixth.

With the fifth pick the Penguins took Jaromir Jagr, while the Isles took Scott Scissons sixth. The Pens won two straight Stanley Cups soon after and Jagr became a Hall of Fame-caliber player. Scissons lasted a while and retired. The Islanders have been shipwrecked since.

However, the Isles own the rights to one of the biggest under-the-radar kids in the tourney in defenseman Blake Kessel. Kessel, who plays at UNH for head coach Dick Umile, is touted as an offensive defenseman but is overlooked for his defensive ability.

“His lateral movement is great — he closes up well and has great instincts,” said assistant coach Scott Borek of UNH. “He is the real deal and definitely an NHL-type player.”

Dave Starman, columnist and analyst for CBS College Sports, is the analyst for NHL Network’s coverage of Team USA’s games at the World Junior Championship. He is working with CBS partner Matt McConnell, with Fred Pletsch hosting and handling rinkside duties.


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