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Sunday: Let the Games Begin

By, 08/04/13, 10:45AM EDT


After a day of practices and an intrasquad game, Teams Blue and White will ratchet up the intensity today when they play Finland and Sweden, respectively. Both games will be streamed live on and live stats will be available on

Tomorrow, the U.S. squads trade opponents in the final opportunity to showcase their skills before roster cuts are made Tuesday.

"It’s always fun to play these international games to get a feel for the different styles of play," said Nic Kerdiles. "Whether it’s here or overseas, it’s great to play against guys from Sweden or Finland or Canada. It prepares you for a big tournament like World Juniors."

The Finnish team boasts 11 NHL draft picks, including first rounders Olli Määttä and Teuvo Teräväinen. The Swedish roster has 15 NHL draft picks, including two first-round picks (Alexander Wennberg and André Burakowsky) and six second rounders.

Short on Sleep, Tall on Results
Rest and preparation are key for all players during the weeklong National Junior Evaluation Camp. For Nic Kerdiles and a few other players that stepped onto the ice Saturday morning having hardly slept due to travel problems, rest wasn't an option. Kerdiles and his future University of Wisconsin teammate Will Butcher spent 18 hours traveling from Madison, Wis., to Lake Placid, N.Y., on Friday. A cancelled flight meant seven hours in the Cleveland airport and a flat tire added three hours onto the drive from Albany to the Olympic Training Center.

"It was a long day," said Kerdiles. "These first days are really important for your legs and getting used to the ice here. Yesterday, our practice was good and so was the scrimmage. We didn't focus too much on systems. It was about getting used to your linemates and developing chemistry. I have played with Dan O'Regan and Riley Barber before - back in 2012 - which helped me."

Additionally, Dom Toninato, Tommy DiPauli and Vince Hinostroza ran into similar air travel problems. Their flight delays out of Chicago got them into Lake Placid a few hours before the first practices on Saturday.

Making a Big First Impression
Measuring in at 6-5, 228 pounds, right wing Michael McCarron is the largest player in camp for Team USA. His visibility was heightened even more in June when the Montreal Canadiens selected him in the first round (25th overall) of the NHL Entry Draft. His focus this week turns to gelling with his linemates and playing well against the international competition.

"I've been playing with (Tommy) DiPauli and (Andrew) Copp," said McCarron. "We spent time together after practice, talking about how we want to play together. With so many great players here it really helps because you just have to do your job and everything else falls into place. I look forward to playing against some good Finland and Sweden teams and getting used to how they play."