Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

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Wild's Zucker, 5 Minnesotans make USA World Junior team

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild news Updated: December 22, 2010 - 8:49 AM

Heavily decorated Wild prospect Jason Zucker was named to USA Hockey's world junior team this morning for the second year in a row.

Zucker, one of three Wild second-round picks at June's draft taken 59th overall, won a gold medal at the world junior championships last year in Saskatchewan. The 2010-11 tournament begins Sunday in Buffalo.

Zucker and Dallas Stars first-round pick Jack Campbell were the only two U.S. players to win three gold medals in one calendar year – 2009 and 2010 Under-18 Championships, and 2010 world junior championships.
 
Zucker, 17 at the time, was the youngest player on that world junior team and came up clutch throughout the tournament.
 
“I was lucky to be part of that team,” he said in June. “I’ll talk to my [U.S.] teammates the rest of my life. Every one of those guys is a brother to me, and it’ll stay like that the rest of my life.”

Zucker, a freshman at Denver University, leads all NCAA freshmen with 14 goals. That's tied for second overall in the WCHA.

Zucker, 18, who left home in California at age 10 to play hockey, grew up in Las Vegas and is the first Nevada-trained player to ever be drafted.

Johan Larsson and Johan Gustafsson have made Sweden's team.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think Finland's named its final roster yet, but Wild prospect and University of Minnesota forward Erik Haula is expected to make the team. 2010 first-rounder Mikael Granlund is not expected to play in the tournament due to a concussion, but he has been cleared to return for IFK-Helsinki and will play in the world championships if healthy.

Other Minnesotans on the US junior team: UMD's Justin Faulk (South St. Paul), UND's Derek Forbort (Duluth), Rockford's Nick Leddy (Eden Prairie), UM's Nick Bjugstad (Blaine), UND's Brock Nelson (Warroad).

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