The Montreal Canadiens will be sending five of its prospects to represent their respective countries in
the World Junior Championship. The tournaments have already gotten underway, and the championship
tournament containing the top ten countries will begin December 26th.
Out of the current group of Canadiens prospects, four of the five are headed to the championship
tournament, with the other player headed to Division One, Group B which is about to finish up on their
series December 19th. Andrei Kastsitsyn will play for Team Belarus, Konstantin Korneev for
Team Russia, Oskari Korpikari for Team Finland, Tomas Linhart for the Czech team, and Jaroslav
Halak for Team Slovakia
Andrei Kastsitsyn, F – 1st round, 10th overall 2003. Kastsitsyn plays for Team Belarus, who are
currently playing in Division One, Group B, as they look to make a return to the championship
tournament next year with a Group B title win. They have unofficially won the tournament, as they
defeated Norway yesterday to take sole possession of first in their group. Kastsitsyn is currently
second in the tournament scoring with ten points in four games. His five goals and +5 show he’s been
able to produce on offense while not forgetting to cover his own end.
<P>Konstantin Korneev, D – 9th round, 275th overall 2002. Korneev will attend his third world junior
championship for Team Russia, who have won the gold in both of his appearances, as he looks to make
it three in a row. Korneev will be looked upon to use his previous experience to help anchor an
inexperienced blueline, as he was solid in last years tournament with a +10, which was good enough to
put him close to the plus/minus leader.
Oskari Korpikari, D – 7th round, 217th overall 2003. Korpikari will play for Team Finland, who will
be the host country for the championship tournament. Expect Korpikari to help his country with some
solid defensive play in his own end, as the defense will have to step it up due to the loss of top
defenseman Joni Pitkanen. Team Finland opens the tournament with a big game against Team Canada
on the 26th, a great after-Christmas treat for hockey fans everywhere.
Tomas Linhart, D – 2nd round, 45th overall 2002. Linhart will play for the Czech team in the
championship tournament, where he looks to help his team with some solid defensive play and physical
hockey. This tournament will give Hab fans a chance to look past the fact that Linhart was returned to
his homeland country instead of playing in the OHL for a second year.
Jaroslav Halak, G – 9th round, 271st overall 2003. Halak will play for Team Slovakia, as he has had
an impressive season so far this season, as he leads the junior league in save percentage, and has done
well in each level he’s played in this year. After a great showing for Team Slovakia at last years U-18
tournament, where he helped his team win the Silver and was named goalie of the tournament for his