Team USA has announced a final roster (not a preliminary one). They don't have a camp right before the tournament to pick the team, so they dive right in. Zach Bogosian, John Albert and Vinny Saponari attended the August camp. But now Bogosian is both hurt and in the NHL, so he wasn't named to the team. Neither Albert nor Saponari made the cut. This is Albert's last year of eligibility, but Saponari can try again next year. The biggest surprise on that team was Blake Kessel, Phil's little brother. I saw him play in the USHL in his draft year and was not impressed whatsoever. He went on to be drafted in the 6th round by the Islanders. He's improved some and is at UNH now. His NCAA location had to have had a lot to do with his selection, because you can't tell me there aren't several Americans in the CHL who aren't better than him.
Nicklas Lasu has been named to the Sweden team, and Niclas Lucenius has been named to the preliminary Finland roster. He should make the roster with little problem, given the rest of the roster.
For Team Canada, Angelo Esposito was named to the 38-man camp roster. He's been cut from the team three times already. That's hard to do, because it means you were really really good really young, but didn't improve enough to later make the team. New Team Canada coach Pat Quinn has said he wants a hard-working gritty team. That does not describe Esposito, so he'll headed for the distinction of being cut four times. That's a record that may never be broken. You can chime in with a vote on whether or not he'll make the team in a poll at the upper right.
On a side note, it's trade deadline time in the QMJHL, and Esposito's name is back in the trade rumors this year. His Montreal Junior aren't doing that well, so they may deal Esposito. They are ninth in the Q, with a record of 16-14-1.
From the Telegraph-Journal:
"A lot will depend on whether Saint John and/or Montreal are buyers or sellers at the deadline," said Moncton Flyers midget AAA coach John DeCourcey. "(Saint John's) Alex Grant and Chris DiDomenico and (Montreal's) Angelo Esposito are all guys that could shift the balance of power."
And briefly on the 2009 entry draft, more on Evander Kane. I put our WHL writer up to asking Kane how he'd feel about being a role model for African-Americans if he was picked by Atlanta (who I noted earlier had interviewed him). When the piece came back, I realized that I had made two Canadians talk to each other about a place that neither had been to. The outcome was amusing. I added the clarification to the article that Atlanta is heavily African-American so that Canadians, even the ones asking and answering the questions, would understand.
I suppose Canadians see American movies set in big cities that have a lot of blacks and don't realize what regional variation there is to it. But of course there are parts of America that are whiter than Britney Spears' teeth. My school had one black girl in it -- and she was adopted. And my dad had a guy on his softball team who was black. It was quite exotic. Those were all the black people I knew until I went to college.
Anyway, here's the quote:
On being interviewed by the Atlanta Thrashers, where he would potentially become an important role model in the heavily African-American city…
“I did speak with Atlanta. And I suppose going to the United States, of course there are a lot of African Americans. But I would be happy to play anywhere in the NHL. If it were Atlanta, well yes, you’re correct on that note and I guess that’s all part of the job and I would be very happy doing it.”