Nick Bjugstad and linemate Kyle Rau of the Gophers both were named to the U.S. team which will play in the World Junior Championships.
This will be the second World Juniors for Bjugstad, a 6-5 sophomore center who hasn't played in either of the U.S. team's two exhibition games so far. He is recovering from an undisclosed injury reportedly to a shoulder. Rau played on Wednesday in a 7-3 U.S. victory over Switzerland.
The U.S. team has one more exhibition game, on Friday vs. Slovakia, before it opens WJC play versus Denmark on Monday.
Bjugstad is from Blaine, Rau, a freshman left winger, is from Eden Prairie. Two other Minnesotans are also on the U.S. roster, Josh Archibald of Brainerd and Derek Forbort of Duluth. Archibald is a freshman forward at Nebraska Omaha. Forbort is a sophomore defenseman at North Dakota.
Bjugstad said earler in the week he expects to play against Slovakia and will be ready for Denmark.
Also on the U.S. team are two Wild prospects, sophomore forwards Jason Zucker of Denver and Charlie Coyle of Boston University. Actually Coyle just announced he was leaving BU to play major junior hockey in Canada.
Four colleges have two players on the team, the Gophers, Notre Dame, Michigan and, with an asterisk, Boston University because Coyle won't be returning.
This is the third World Juniors for Zucker, who will probably be named the captain or an assistant captain. Goalie Jack Campbell also play in his third WJC. They were on the U.S. team, coached by Dean Blais, which won the gold medal in Saskatoon, Sascatchewan in 2010.
Blais, of course, is the U.S. team head coach again. UMD coach Scott Sandelin is one of his assistants. Mark Bahr, director of hockey operations for the Gophers, is the visual coordinator for the team.
Six WCHA players in all are on the U.S. roster. The one not mentioned so far is defenseman Kevin Gravel of St. Cloud State. He is from Kingsford, Mich.
As expected, there are 13 forwards, seven defenseman and two goalies on the final roster (which is here), although a third goalie, Andy Iles of BU, is also listed as a backup and would join the team in an emergency.
The players cut, all non-Minnesotans, were Austin Levi, John Gaudreau, Brian Ferlin, Kenny Agostino and Shane Prince.
Russo was at the U.S.-Switzerland exhibition game last night and will give his reaction later on his blog.
USA Hockey will hold a teleconference call with Blais and the U.S. team's general manager, Jim Johannson, this afternoon. They will discuss the roster and the U.S. team's chances in the WJC. The U.S. team took third place last year in Buffalo, N.Y.
Meanwhile, gold medal favorite Canada named Colorado College forward Jaden Schwartz its captain. The Team USA letter wearers will be announced later.