Barons center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored a goal in Canada’s 2-1 win over the United States Sunday at the world junior championships in Russia.
Nugent-Hopkins and Ryan Strome scored first-period goals which stood up when Canada goaltender Malcolm Subban stopped 36 of 37 USA’s shots. Team USA outshot Canada 37-34.
The No. 1 overall draft pick in the 2011 NHL draft, Nugent-Hopkins, who scored 20 points in 19 games with the Barons before leaving for the world juniors that continues through the first week of January, leads the tournament with eight points.
Nugent-Hopkins scored five points in Canada’s opener against Germany and two points in a win over Slovakia.
Canada plays Russia on Monday at 8 a.m. CDT. The game will be televised on the NHL Network.
Owners have offered a new proposal in an attempt to end the NHL lockout and salvage the 2012-13 season. There is some optimism.
If the lockout ended Jordan Eberle, an NHL All-Star last season who is playing with the Oklahoma City Barons, would immediately join the Edmonton Oilers.
“When you hear they’re talking you get a little excited but I try to focus on our next game here,” Eberle said. “If it does come it’s going to be weird to leave here and get going back there.”
Weird for Eberle to leave the American Hockey League along with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall and Justin Schultz, who have spent the past three months living in downtown Oklahoma City?
“Absolutely,” Eberle said. “It’s going to be really weird. But I’m an NHL player. That’s where I want to be. Hopefully they get started soon and Hallsy, Schultz, Nuge and I and some other guys on this team would go up there.”
Speculation is a new collective bargaining agreement needs to be signed by Jan. 15 to salvage the season and end the 105-day lockout.
The two sides were close to hammering out a deal in early December, according to NHL Players Association boss Donald Fehr. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman adamantly announced they were still far apart.
Now there are reports some owners feel it’s essential to salvage the season. Some owners believe the league can’t afford to cancel another season similar to eight years ago.
“I have no idea (what will happen),” Eberle said. “It’s the same as always. It’s nice to hear that they’re talking. But at the end of the day I try not to pay attention to it. My focus is here.”
The Edmonton Oilers re-assigned forwards Philippe Cornet and Ryan Martindale to the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL, Barons general manager Bill Scott announced on Saturday.
A fifth-round pick in the 2008 NHL draft, Cornet played in eight games with the Barons. At Stockton he scored 19 points and was plus-8.
Cornet has played in two previous seasons with the Barons, scoring 60 points in 135 games. Last season he led the Barons with 24 goals and played in the American Hockey League All-Star Game.
Martindale registered three assists in seven games with the Barons. A third round pick in 2010, Martindale has scored 20 points in 57 games as a pro between Oklahoma City and Stockton.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, playing with the Barons during the NHL lockout, scored two points in Canada’s 6-3 win over Slovakia Friday at the world junior international tournament in Russia.
Nugent-Hopkins, who scored 20 points in 19 games with the Barons has scored seven points in two games for Team Canada, scoring five points in a first-round game against Germany.
Team Canada’s next game is at 3:30 a.m. CST against Team USA. Games are being televised on the NHL network.
The American Hockey League Friday that Barons center Chris VandeVelde has been suspended for three games as a consequence of an illegal check to the head during Thursday’s win over the Texas Stars.
VandeVelde will miss Oklahoma City’s home games Friday night, Monday night and Jan. 1 at Houston.
Barons center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored five points in his debut with the Canadian junior national team in a 9-3 win over Germany Wednesday in Ufa, Russia.
In Canada’s Pool A opener, Nugent-Hopkins compiled four assists and a goal. Nugent-Hopkins, a finalist for NHL Rookie of the Year last season with the Edmonton Oilers, is playing with the Barons during the NHL lockout.
In a wide open game, Nugent-Hopkins scored a point on Canada’s first four goals.
Canada coach Steve Spott named Nugent-Hopkins the Player of the Game, awarding him a cape for post-game interviews. The cape has nothing to do with Superman. The cape is Team Canada’s version of a hard hat or lunch pail that will be awarded after every game.
Canada fired 46 shots on goal against an overmatched Germany squad.
The tournament continues through the first week of January. If the NHL lockout continues past the tournament Nugent-Hopkins will return to Oklahoma City to play with the Barons. Nugent-Hopkins scored 21 points in 20 games with OKC before leaving for the world junior tournament.
Some Oklahoma City Barons teammates have shaved their heads in support of Brandon Davidson, who is undergoing treatment for testicular cancer.
“Some of the guys got the shears out and started shaving their heads,” said coach Todd Nelson. “It’s unfortunate what happend with Brandon but he’s on the road to recovery. They just wanted to be part of it.”
Taylor Fedun, Davidson’s roomate, goaltenders Yann Danis and Olivier Roy and Dane Byers were among some of the players who shaved their heads.
Davidson will begin undergoing chemotherapy treatment for 21 days starting next week.
“When he starts his chemo next week he’s going to start to lose his hair so we decided to get rid of all our hair now ahead of time,” Fedun said. “We wanted to show him our support.
“He’s not only my teammate he’s my roommate. We spend a lot of time together so I wanted to let him know he has my support.”
The past two weeks Davidson has been skating with the team but it probably will be at least a month before he can return to game action depending on how he responds to treatements.
Davidson, 21, made the Barons roster in his first professional season after serving as captain of the Western Hockey League Regina Pats last season.
He was the Edmonton Oilers’ eighth pick in the 2010 draft, the 162nd overall pick. He’s quickly moved up the organization’s depth chart. In six games with the Barons he’s recorded one assist.
Having lost five consecutive games, the Oklahoma City Barons have an opportunity to move up the standings this weekend.
Oklahoma City hosts San Antonio Friday and Saturday night. The Barons play at Houston on Sunday.
“It is early in the season but they’re important points,” said teammate Josh Green. “They’re just as important now as they are at the end of the season. We’re battling to get in a playoff spot.
“We need to start putting some points together, putting together a little bit of streak together. Obviously it’s important against divisional rivals. We want to move ahead of them and keep pushing them further down the standings.
Oklahoma City wouldn’t be in the playoffs if they started today. The Barons have dropped to fourth in the South Division.
“It’s a big weekend,” said winger Taylor Hall. “If we can get six points we’re right back in the thick of things and can make up for our mistakes in the last week.”
Oklahoma City collected 13 of 14 possible standings points at the end of the November, going 6-0-1 but hasn’t posted a win in December.
“Every game is important but we feel this weekend is even more important because of the slump we’re in right now,” said forward Philippe Cornet.
Frustrated most of the scoring this season has come from the No. 1 line Barons coach Todd Nelson has switched up his lines heading into a three-game weekend.
“We had to do something so we changed up all four lines,” Nelson said. “We also swapped some partners out on defense. It happens every year over the course of a season when your scoring goes stale if you’re not winning.”
The Barons have lost five consecutive games, all essentially one-goal losses. Lines for Friday’s game against San Antonio will be:
Mark Arcobello, Curtis Hamilton, Jordan Eberle.
Taylor Hall, Anton Lander, Magnus Paajarvi.
Teemu Hartikainen, Josh Green, Phillipe Cornet.
Tyler Pitlick, Dane Byers, Chris VandeVelde.
“The way the lines are set up now we have at least one or two guys responsible for being a bit more creative,” Nelson said. “Sometimes it’s a breath of fresh air for guys to get away from guys they’ve been playing with. And it doesn’t mean they can’t be reunited sometime in the future.
“It’s a fresh start. Sometimes you need to shuffle the deck a bit.”
The Barons host San Antonio Friday and Saturday night at the Cox Convention Center, then travel to Houston on Sunday.
Barons forward Jordan Eberle is returning to Canada this week where he will have his jersey retired by the Regina. The Pats were the junior team where he developed into a player that would later become the Edmonton Oilers’ first-round pick in 2008, the 22nd overall pick.
“It’s quite the honor,” Eberle said. “It was totally unexpected when they announced it this summer. I was pretty shocked. Usually it’s something you never worry about while you’re still playing hockey. It will be a great night. All my family is coming down. I know they’ll enjoy it.”
Starting his career at age 15 in Regina, his hometown in Saskatchewan, Eberle played in 254 games in four seasons with the Pats.
Eberle scored 310 points with the Pats, including 155 goals. His top season was his final season ago when at age 18 Eberle scored 106 points in 57 games — 50 goals and 56 assists.
“I wrote a speech,” Eberle said. “I’ve gotten better at public speaking. I’ve spoken at a couple of banquets and obviously my charity but nothing to this magnitude. It should be fun.”