Team USA is down to 26 players at their pre-World Junior training camp as forward Stefan Noesen was sent home on Monday morning.
Noesen was declared ineligible to play in the tournament due to a suspension by the Ontario Hockey League, where Noesen plays for the Plymouth Whalers. The Plano, Texas, native was suspended for 10 games by the OHL for a hit in a game on Dec. 8. The IIHF has chosen to recognize the suspension, and the first-round draft choice of the Ottawa Senators is heading home as a result.
"While we respect the IIHF's decision, we don't feel the process is equitable," said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey. "Moving forward, we'll work with the IIHF and other federations to address the situation."
With the loss of Noesen, Team USA is down to 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goaltenders. These 26 players will head overseas to take part in pre-tournament games against Sweden and Finland Dec. 20 and Dec. 22, after which one forward and two defensemen will be cut from the team before Team USA takes the ice to start the tourney on Dec. 27 against Germany.
Some other notes from camp on Monday:
- Goaltender John Gibson sat out the morning practice, which lasted about an hour and 10 minutes, but the team plans to have him practice in the session later in the afternoon. Gibson, who has been fighting a hip flexor he suffered on Nov. 27, is thought by many to be Team USA's likely starting goalie. USA Hockey told us it was merely to give Gibson -- an Anaheim Ducks draft pick -- some rest, as he played in the OHL shortly before arriving in New York this weekend.
- Coach Phil Housley practiced his team, as previously mentioned, for a little more than hour, breaking into a scrimmage at one point, with some drills where the team worked on board work out of the corners.
- New York Rangers legend Mark Messier was among those in attendance for practice.
- The team shot some footage on the ice in full uniform for NHL Network -- who will broadcast the tournament, and the pre-tourney games, live in the United States -- which features this cool feature on their wrists for the third year in a row: