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PHT Morning Skate: U.S. World Junior roster announced; Pionk on suspension

u.s. world junior

EDMONTON, AB - DECEMBER 25: Matthew Beniers #10 of the United States skates against Russia during the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship at Rogers Place on December 25, 2020 in Edmonton, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)

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Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from the NHL and around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.

• Matty Beniers, Jake Sanderson, and Luke Hughes highlight the final roster for the U.S. World Junior team. [USA Hockey]

• Neal Pionk on his suspension: “Listen, I’m not out there to hurt anybody or have any sort of intent. It made me sick watching [Sandin] go off the ice, and he’s limping off the ice. He’s a great young defenceman, I never want to cut his career short, even by a game. So there’s remorse there, and definitely not the intent on the hit. I understand that what I did wasn’t right, and I’ve accepted that. I’m just looking forward to getting back.” [Sportsnet]

• The recent jump in COVID-19 cases league-wide will likely result in enhanced protocols. [TSN]

• Precautionary reasons saw Oilers head coach Dave Tippett not on the team’s bench during Tuesday’s loss to the Maple Leafs. [Edmonton Journal]

• The U.S. women’s Olympic roster appears to be set at 23 players. Kendall Coyne Schofield, Brianna Decker, Amanda Kessel, and Hilary Knight will be back to win gold again. [The Ice Garden]

• Rick Bowness had some pointed words about his Stars players after their defeat to the Blues: “We had some guys that we’ll have to check the video tomorrow to see if they even played. I couldn’t find them out on the ice. Unless you’re going to want to show up and get your nose dirty and get involved in a game like that, then you’re a complete non-factor.” [Dallas Morning News]

• Whenever Nicklas Backstrom returns to the Capitals’ lineup -- and it could be tonight -- what does that mean for the rest of the roster? [NBC Sports Washington]

• After Tom Wilson helped her learn to play, a young fan is honoring him on a goalie mask for her first season of high school hockey. [RMNB]

• Evan Rodrigues has been a pleasant surprise for the Penguins this season. [Pensburgh]

• A look around junior hockey and which prospects are off to some hot starts. [NBC Sports Edge]


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.