Right when you reach the dog days of the NHL schedule, the hockey calendar provides a great distraction for those who need it in the form of the World Juniors Tournament. The world's brightest prospects and draft hopefuls gather together to represent their counties in a compelling tournament that provides hockey bragging rights throughout the year. Two Capitals prospects participated with Connor McMichael playing for Canada and Martin Hugo Has playing for the host nation, the Czech Republic.
Canada is off to the semifinals after McMichael scored the game-winning goal Wednesday in a 6-1 rout over Slovakia. It was his third goal of the tournament.
McMichael also scored Canada's first goal in their opener against USA.
Canada will play Finland in the semifinals on Saturday.
The tournament is over for Has. He helped the Czech Republic to a fourth-place finish in Group B through the preliminary games. The Czech Republic then fell in the quarterfinals to Sweden 5-0. He scored one goal and two assists in five games.
Other prospect notes
- Aliaksei Protas' time representing Belarus cost him his points lead in the WHL. With 49, he now sits nine points shy of Adam Beckman. Protas seemed to pick up where he left off, however, as he went a career-high 12 games with a point.
- Joe Clutch: Joe Snively has scored three game-winning goals this season, the most among all AHL rookies. He has nine goals and five assists in 31 games and has come on very strong in recent weeks.
- Vitek Vanecek had an incredible December with a 6-1-0 record, 1.70 GAA and .937 save percentage. Hershey has had to lean on Vanecek lately with Pheonix Copley dealing with an injury.
- Kody Clark scored his first professional goal on Dec. 27. Check it out here:
- Defenseman Bobby Nardella has played in only 12 games this season, but he has made the most of that time with one goal and nine assists. He ranks fourth among AHL defensemen who have played in at least 10 games in points per game. That's pretty impressive for a rookie.
- Defenseman Lucas Johansen finally returned to Hershey's lineup on Saturday after a 22-game absence due to a lower-body injury.
- Mike Sgarbossa had a four-point game against Utica on Dec. 27, tying a career-high. He currently leads Hershey and is tied for fourth in the league with 32 points. He scored three goals and 11 assists in 11 games in December.
- Goalie Mitchell Gibson's first college season has gotten off to a heck of a start. In eight games, he has a 2.28 GAA with a .931 save percentage.
Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.
MORE CAPITALS NEWS:
- Mailbag: How can Caps fix a cold power play?
- Ovi to 700?: Biggest storylines to watch
- Oh Baby: Nic Dowd and wife welcome first child