By Ben Raby
TORONTO One of hockeys best rivalries will be renewed this week when 56 junior aged prospects from Canada and Russia celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 1972 Summit Series with a four-game series of their own.
The 2012 Canada-Russia Challenge will see the teams meet in Yaroslavl, Russia on Thursday and Friday before resuming the series in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next Monday and Tuesday.
Washington Capitals prospect Tom Wilson (first-round pick, 16th overall, 2012 NHL Entry Draft) will be among the teenagers representing Team Canada.
Its really valuable anytime I get a chance to go anywhere with Hockey Canada and so far its been a great experience, Wilson told TSN in Canada. I went to the Czech Republic last summer for the World Under-18 Championships so Im really just trying to take it all in while Im here because its an experience of a lifetime.
Wilson is the only 2012 first-round pick among Team Canadas forwards and he enters the international competition fresh off an impressive showing at last months Capitals development camp.
He is what we were looking for when we drafted him. Hes a big, strong kid that really competes, general manager George McPhee said July 14.
Boy, the first three or four shifts of the opening scrimmage at development camp I was worried that if he hit that way all week wed only have two or three players left on the ice. But we got him to settle down a little bit We like him a lot, great kid, character. Hes going to be a pretty effective player.
As the 2012 Olympics continue this week from London, the Canada-Russia Challenge will garner plenty of attention north of the border. All four games will be broadcast live to a national TV audience on TSN and select games will be carried live by radio stations in Montreal, Toronto and Winnipeg.
Growing up as a Canadian, the Paul Henderson game-winning goal from the 1972 Summit Series, youve probably seen the clip hundreds of times, Wilson said.
Learning about the Cold War and the value of that 1972 hockey series in Canadian History class growing up was really cool and now to be associated with it and to play just a small part of it is just a really cool experience for me.
Other top prospects in the 2012 Canada-Russia Challenge include 1st overall pick Nail Yakupov (Edmonton Oilers) and 2011 3rd overall pick Jonathan Huberdeau (Florida Panthers).
POSTCARD FROM CAMP:
As Canada and Russia prepare for their four-game series, World Junior hopefuls from the United States, Sweden and Finland continue their weeklong camp in Lake Placid, NY.
In round-robin play Wednesday the U.S. beat Finland 5-2. Caps prospects Garrett Haar (seventh-round, 207th overall, 2011) and Thomas DiPauli (fourth-round, 100th overall, 2012) both played for the Americans although neither factored on the scoresheet.
Fellow Caps prospect Travis Boyd (sixth-round, 177th overall, 2011) was a healthy scratch Wednesday, but hes expected to play in at least one of the Americans two remaining round-robin games.
Check back on CSNWashington.com in the days to come for additional updates on USA Hockeys World Junior camp. The schedule of the camp (and scores of completed games) is included below.
USA White 5 USA Blue 2
USA Blue 4 USA White 3
USA Blue 5 Finland 4
Sweden 5 USA White 1
Sweden 8 Finland 2
USA 5 Finland 2
USA vs. Sweden, 4 p.m.
Finland vs. Sweden, 4 p.m.
USA vs. Finland, 1 p.m.