The holidays are coming up, you know that time of year where you struggle to find the perfect gift, complain about the weather constantly, can't wait to have Turkey dinner, and of course watch the World Jr tournament, an event that's become a Canadian tradition. Last year's tourney took place in Alberta, and was highlighted by a Team Sweden victory in the gold medal game in overtime via Sens prospect Mika Zibanejad. It was one of the all time memorable World Jr goals, but this year Team Sweden will have to try and repeat without Zibanejad.
The Senators organization have decided against releasing the 19 year old to play in this years tournament that place in Ufa, Russia over the holidays. That means he will be forced to stay and play in the AHL for Binghamton instead.
Here's what Sens GM Bryan Murray had to say about it:
In theory there's nothing wrong with this. The Senators obligation is to do whatever is best for the development of their player. They're the one's who pay his bills after all, but would they have done the same if it was a Canadian player? According to some of the reaction in Sweden they don't think so. I have to admit it would see weird for the Sens not to release Cody Ceci or Matt Puempel if those were options. (They play in the OHL where the Sens have no say however)
Zibanejad, who was the 6th overall pick a couple of years ago, has been struggling to find his scoring touch in the AHL so far, so perhaps the Sens brass feel this is the right move, since apparently his weakness is playing on the smaller North American ice surface. But usually most people find that playing the World Jr's increases a players confidence and they come back more motivated. Besides, it's only a few weeks commitment, it won't make or break his development either way.
To read the whole NHL.com piece click here and be sure to follow me on twitter @SensTown
Are the Sens doing the right or wrong thing by denying Zibanejad a chance to play at the World Jr's?