Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Oilers Update - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Reports to WJC

"Definitely, it doesn't feel good, but getting the opportunity as a 17-year-old was good for me.

"If I looked back and thought had I changed things, I'd have regrets. I think I played overall pretty good."  Ryan Nugent-Hopkins after getting cut in 2010.

That was 2 years ago when Nugent-Hopkins was a late snip for the Canadian side, however since then "The Nuge" did some incredible things leading up to this years camp. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins went on to become: 1) the number draft pick for the Oilers in 2011, 2) Made the squad as an 18 year-old and finished the season with 52 points in 62 games. 3) He became a runner up for the Calder Trophy.  4) Suited up for the world men's championship.

Yesterday, Edmonton Oilers' Ryan Nugent-Hopkins arrived in Calgary to attend the world junior camp in hopes to make the Canadian, scratch that! With a full NHL year under his belt (and not to mention that he is also currently playing with the likes of former World Juniors, Hall and Eberle in Oklahoma during the NHL Lock-Out), there is NO question that the 19 year-old from Burnaby BC will be the top centre for the 2013 World Juniors in Russia.

"I've got to try to take on more of a leadership role this year.  As a 17-year-old, I couldn't come into camp and do that.  he told the Media at the Calgary Airport.  "I'm definitely going to try to take some experience from the worlds and bring it to this camp here."

"I feel like I'm a different person than I was a couple of years ago.  My game has definitely evolved a lot and I see myself more as a two-way player right now, so I'm definitely going to try to take on that role..."

The NHL lock-out is a complete blessing in disguise for the Canadian squad. Nugent-Hopkins, will skate with, Mark Scheifele of the Jets, Jonathan Huberdeau of the Panthers to name a few who, like the Nuge would have been with their NHL teams this season.

Naturally, with the addition of Nugent-Hopkins, Scheifele and Huberdeau, Canada is now considered to be a power-house and here is hoping that the Canadian can bring home the gold.

Another player in the mix, who is connected to Edmonton Oilers is Nail Yakupov of Russia.  Yakupov who like Nugent-Hopkins went first-overall in their NHL draft will get a taste of playing against each other on the world stage.

The tournament begins Dec 26th in Ufa Russia.

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