The Bruins won't be releasing Tyler Seguin to play for Team Canada in the World Junior Championships later this month in Buffalo. That may be a good thing for local hockey fans, as now there won't be any divided loyalties and they can root for a Team USA squad that will feature a strong New England flavor with no conflicts of interest.
On Tuesday, Team USA released the list of 29 players invited to the final pre-tournament camp to open on Dec. 17. From there, the final 22-man roster will be selected for the tourney slated to run from Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Buffalo and Lewiston, N.Y.
Of the 29 players still vying for spots, 10 have ties to New England. That includes Ryan Bourque (Boxford, Mass.), the son of Bruins great Ray Bourque. The younger Bourque is currently playing for the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Connor Brickley (Everett, Mass.), a second cousin of former Bruins forward and current NESN analyst Andy Brickley, is also competing for a spot. He currently plays for the University of Vermont.
Another second-generation player is probably a little less popular in these parts, as Boston College defenseman Philip Samuelsson, son of Ulf Samuelsson, will be battling for a spot on the blue line.
The competition on defense will also include the likes of Adam Clendening (Boston University), Brian Dumoulin (Biddeford, Maine/Boston College), Jamie Oleksiak (Boston, Mass./Northeastern University) and Patrick Wey (Boston College).
At forward, Charlie Coyle (Weymouth, Mass./Boston University), Chris Kreider (Boxford, Mass./Boston College) and Matt Nieto (Boston University) will be competing alongside Bourque and Brickley. Kreider and Bourque are among eight returning players from last year's squad, which defeated host Canada 6-5 in overtime in the gold-medal game with current Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson (Natick, Mass.) scoring the game-winner.
While recent squads have been dominated by players from the Midwest, Massachusetts is tied with Minnesota this year with the most players in the final camp with five apiece. In all, 13 different states are represented.
The coaching staff also has plenty of local flavor, with Yale coach Keith Allain (North Branford, Conn.) serving as head coach and former Yale coach Tim Taylor (Guilford, Conn.) the director of player personnel.
One player who won't be competing for a spot is Bruins' prospect Jared Knight, a second-round pick last June. The Battle Creek, Mich., native is averaging a point a game with London in the Ontario Hockey League, with 12-16-28 totals in 28 games. But Knight left the U.S. National Development Program to play in the OHL, hurting his chances to be selected to the U.S. team.