After beginning his coaching career in the NHL as an assistant coach of the Hartford Whalers in 1994, Ted Nolan took over the head coaching position for the Buffalo Sabres in the following season. In his second season with the Sabres, he won the Jack Adams Award for coach of the year. His NHL career took a pause after that until he coached the New York Islanders from 2006 to 2008. In August of 2011, Nolan was named head coach of Team Latvia.
The 2012 IIHF U18 Tournament is upon us and, as in recent years, has the international scouting community licking its chops. This year's edition once again features a number of young men representing their country on the international scene who will hear their names called at the 2012 NHL Draft in Pittsburgh. For many of them, this tournament will be the pinnacle of all their work this season and will leave a lasting impression – whether good or bad – in the minds and notebooks of what should be well over 120 NHL scouts in attendance. For all of them, this event will be an opportunity to go out and give it everything they've got for their native country, a motivation that often has no rival in the minds and hearts of 16-18 year olds. But which country will benefit most from that attitude? What teams can least afford to take a night off? Which players should be pushing the hardest for a victory in the tournament's final game? Here's what you can expect from the frontrunners for a gold medal at the 2012 IIHF U18 Tournament.
Nineteen-year-old Andrey Pedan is among those Russians who preferred venturing in the Canadian junior leagues system, rather than going for the usual route for European players; playing junior hockey back home then signing a contract directly with their draft team several years later. "My agent Alexei Dementiev advised me to go and play in the OHL, and this is what I did as I completely trust him. I think it was a good decision, I already adapted to the small ice surface last year and this year I further improved my game", Pedan said in Russian.
Russian forward Mikhail Grigorenko nearly had his first Under-20 WJC appearance cut short by an ankle injury. But Grigorenko, a top prospect for the 2012 NHL Draft, has overcome that injury and is poised to help Russia defend their 2011 WJC title in the 2012 gold medal game against Sweden.
Grigorenko talked about the win over Canada and about playing Sweden in the final.
Russian head coach Valeri Bragin has been handed an almost entirely new team for the 2012 World Junior Championship after winning gold in 2011. He has so far managed to guide this young squad toward another medal but will face his toughest test in the semi-final match against the team Russia beat for gold last year, Canada.
Bragin talked about his team’s overtime win over the Czech Republic and the game against Canada.