Sunaya Sapurji

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Sunaya Sapurji is the junior hockey columnist for Yahoo! Sports Canada. Sunaya previously worked at the Toronto Star for 10 years as a copy editor and writer covering the Ontario Hockey League.

  • Penn State player David Glen saves life through donation

    David Glen during the game as Penn State men's hockey team opened Pegula Ice Arena in style with a 4-1 victory against Army. Photo: Mark Selders/Penn State Athletic Communications

    On Thursday night, David Glen could hardly sleep. He was excited and he was anxious.

    It was a restless night for the Penn State forward because he was unsure of what would await him on Friday. That day would mark the start of becoming a bone marrow donor. That day would mark the start of helping save someone’s life.

    “I was a little antsy, obviously,” said the sophomore. “I woke up a few times thinking about it, but I’m pretty excited about it. This is Day One and I’m looking forward to continuing with the process.”

    On Friday, Glen went to Geisinger-Bloomsburg Hospital in Bloomsburg, P.A. – roughly an hour and half away from campus – to have blood drawn and take a series of injections to start the five-day process. He’ll have another four days' worth of injections of filgrastim, a drug Glen has trouble pronouncing, but which will increase the number of blood-forming cells in his bloodstream.

    “I’m feeling pretty well right now, actually,” said Glen after his first day of treatment at

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  • Buzzing The Net CHL Chatravaganza, Thursday 12 noon ET/9 a.m. PT!

    The Buzzing The Net CHL Chatravaganza returns on Thursday at 12 noon ET/1 p.m. AT/9 a.m. PT.

    On Wednesday night Team Orr skated away with a 4-3 victory over Team Cherry and there were a few players who no doubt stood out for NHL general managers and casual fans alike. Will Sam Bennett (who missed last night's game due to injury) hang on to the top spot in the NHL draft rankings come June? Or will another Sam - Sam Reinhart - steal his thunder? What about Barrie captain Aaron Ekblad, who turned out to be one of Team Canada's most dependable defencemen at the world junior championship?

    All of these questions are up for debate during our chat, along with the return of star forward Mikhail Grigorenko to the Quebec Remparts - which opens the ongoing discussion of whether exceptions should be made for certain CHLers to join the AHL early.

    Come join Cam Charron, Sunaya Sapurji, Neate Sager, Mike Sanderson and whoever else shows up for our weekly, hour long chat. As always: BYOP — Bring Your

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  • World junior championship: Young Lions are the pride of Finland

    Finland's Rasmus Ristolainen lifts the world junior championship trophy

    MALMO, Sweden —There is a word in Finnish, sisu, that has no direct translation in the English language. It means, on a very generic level, the strength of will and perseverance inherent to the Finnish people.

    On Sunday, Finland's Young Lions showed that most ingrained attitude by stunning host Sweden 3-2 in overtime to win their first world junior championship gold medal in 16 years. It was Finnish defenceman Rasmus Ristolainen who scored the golden goal at 9:42 of the extra frame.

    "That's what we have here," said an elated Ristolainen. "We have a sisu team."

    After the game, many of the Finnish players said they were still in shock over winning the championship - their first since 1998, which they won at home in Helsinki.

    "I'm feeling pretty empty at the moment," said Finnish goalie Juuse Saros, who was named as a tournament all-star. "I don't even (understand) it right now."

    Ristolainen, the eighth-overall pick of the Buffalo Sabres last June, slid the puck past Sweden's Oscar Dansk with

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  • World junior championship: No medal again for Canada - what's the problem?

    MALMO, Sweden — For the second consecutive year, Canada is coming home empty-handed from the world junior championships.

    It’s the first time since 1978-81 that Canada has been left off the podium in two straight tournaments. And, just like last year, it was the Russians that skated away with bronze – beating Canada 2-1 – in a game that didn’t really find its energy until halfway through the third period when defenceman Josh Morrissey scored Canada’s lone goal to cut the deficit.

    Too little, too late.

    "There’s not much mood right now," said Canadian captain Scott Laughton. "It’s tough. You can’t put it into words when you put on this crest and try and represent your country and you can’t even bring a medal back to Canada for the people who have been cheering for you and have 4,000 fans come down here, it’s…"

    Laughton took a pause.

    "It’s heartbreaking."

    Canada's Anthony Mantha and his teammates raise their sticks to the fans after being defeated by Russia in their IIHF World Junior Championship bronze medal ice hockey game in Malmo, Sweden, January 5, 2014. REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk (SWEDEN - Tags: SPORT ICE HOCKEY) It was the first time since 1998 that Canada has lost three games in a tournament. Against Russia they’ve lost four out of their last five

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  • Sweden-Russia semifinal marred by post-game fights

    MALMO, Sweden — World junior championship host Sweden advanced to the gold medal game with a 2-1 victory over Russia, but the game wasn’t without controversy.

    Tempers flared as the seconds counted down and Swedish defenceman Oskar Sundqvist held the puck alongside the boards when he was jumped by Russian defenceman Andrei Mironov.

    “He was trying to kill time,” said Swedish goalie Oscar Dansk after his 26 save performance. “I guess just emotions came over everyone and one thing led to another – it’s a hockey game. It’s going to happen eventually.”

    After the buzzer, Mironov was involved in a fight with Sweden’s Jesper Pettersson. Pettersson had been in the box serving a slashing penalty and skated straight into the fray to join the fight which left Mironov bloodied. Both Mironov and Pettersson received minor penalties for roughing and it’s unclear whether Pettersson will face further discipline from the IIHF who will no doubt review the incident.

    UPDATE: The IIHF has suspended Pettersson for

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  • World junior championship: Canada falls to Finland, can't avoid disappointment for fifth straight year

    Canada's Charles Hudon (10), Frederik Gauthier (22), Josh Morrissey (7) and Nic Petan react after their loss to Finland in their IIHF World Junior Championship ice hockey game in Malmo, Sweden, January 4, 2014. REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk

    MALMO, Sweden — For the third straight year, Canada will be playing for bronze at the world junior championships.

    Forward Jonathan Drouin, who had been on last year’s team that finished fourth, was particularly emotional. Captain Scott Laughton wore a blank stare as he tried to explain Canada’s 5-1 loss to Finland in the semifinal.

    What went wrong?

    “Pretty much everything,” said Laughton. “From penalties to neutral zone play to turnovers – I mean we just got beat. We got beat fair and square and it’s not like we deserved to win tonight.”

    And they didn’t. A bad bounce on the boards in the first period resulted in a goal and after that a steady stream of Canadian players heading to the penalty box put them in a bind they couldn’t escape.

    While Canada was still within striking distance in the second period, centre Nic Petan took a10-minute misconduct for abuse of official. That penalty was shortly followed by one from Drouin, who took his second misconduct of the tournament for checking to the

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  • World junior championship: 'Underdogs' Finland confident ahead of semifinal against Canada

    MALMO, Sweden — Six months ago, in Lake Placid, N.Y., Finnish goaltender Juuse Saros was asked about how he viewed Canada’s recent performances at the world junior championships. Canada hasn’t won gold since 2009 and last year in Ufa, Russia, they finished without a medal for the first time since 1998.

    "You don't have to be God to beat them," said Saros in an early August interview with Yahoo Sports. "It gives hope that guys will beat them."

    On Saturday, Saros will get a chance to test out his theory first hand when he starts for Team Finland against Canada in the semifinals of the world junior championships.

    So how does he feel about facing Canada now?

    His views on needing divine intervention to beat the Canadians have not changed.

    “I think we have a good team,” said Saros on Friday after Finland’s practice. “Of course Canada is very good, but I think we have a good chance to win.”

    “We are confident.”

    As a team, the confidence level might be high, but on a personal level, top Finnish

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  • World junior championship: Canada shaping into form in comfortable win over Switzerland

    MALMO, Sweden — As the top scorer in the Canadian Hockey League, forward Anthony Mantha knows a thing or two about putting the puck in the net.Canada's Anthony Mantha (28) pumps his fist after scoring against Switzerland. (The Canadian Press)

    But during Canada’s 4-1 quarterfinal win over Switzerland there was some question as to whether Mantha was the right man for the job of taking a penalty shot. In the second period the Swiss were caught on a bad line change and the skilled winger was allowed to skate in on a breakaway before being hauled down by Switzerland’s Samuel Kreiss.

    There was a little confusion for Canada as to who would get the shot. Originally, head coach Brent Sutter had sent Jonathan Drouin out.

    “I thought the penalty shot was going to whoever the coach wanted to put on so (Drouin) went and then the ref came and got me so I wasn’t really ready,” said the second round pick of the Detroit Red Wings.

    Of course Mantha scored, beating the outstretched right pad of Swiss goalie Melvin Nyffeler, to notch what would be the game winner. After the game however, Mantha admitted he

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  • World junior championship: Team USA ousted by ‘childish’ Russians

    London Knights defenceman Nikita Zadorov comes through for Russia

    MALMO, Sweden — It wouldn’t be a classic world junior championship game between Russia and Team USA without a little controversy.

    The Russians defeated the Americans 5-3 in the quarter-finals to eliminate the defending world junior champions from the tournament. Late in the third period with Team USA down by a goal, the Americans had pulled goalie Jon Gillies for an extra attacker. While trying to handle the puck, U.S. defenceman Matt Grzelcyk slipped and fell, allowing Russian forward Pavel Buchnevich to steal the puck and skate in to score an easy empty-net marker to seal the victory.

    [World Junior Championship: Box score - Russia vs. USA | Standings]

    Buchnevich went skating in celebration right past the U.S. bench. The Americans took exception.

    “It’s pretty immature on their part,” said American forward Stefan Matteau. “But at the end of the day they won the game and we’re going home. But it wasn’t appreciated that’s for sure; I know if we would have won we would have shown more class

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  • Aaron Ekblad, Team Canada's 'man-child,' a pillar of strength on the blueline

    Canada's Aaron Ekblad, Nic Petan, Sam Reinhart and Curtis Lazar celebrate Petan's s empty net goal. (Reuters)
    MALMO, Sweden Aaron Ekblad stood behind a partition in the media mixed zone and watched intently as teammate Mathew Dumba was being interviewed.

    As it turned out Dumba was talking about Ekblad. The pair are roommates together here with Team Canada, so the blueliners have been able to get to know each other quite well.

    “He has the body of like a 35 or 40-year-old,” said Dumba of the 17-year-old defenceman. “The guy shaves his chest every week. I can’t believe it, he’s a man-child.”

    Standing there, eavesdropping, all Ekblad could do was smile and shake his head. But Dumba wasn’t finished quite yet – there was still more.

    [WJHC Scoreboard | Standings | Stats Leader]

    “I don’t know, he’s just a huge human being,” said the defenceman, who spent the first half of the season with the NHL’s Minnesota Wild.

    “I call him Shrek.”

    The response elicited laughs from reporters.

    It wasn’t long before Ekblad got his turn to speak to the same group of reporters as Dumba moved down the interview line.

    “I’m not

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