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U-18 defense starts with, well, defense

Updated: February 25, 2010, 12:59 PM ET
By Gare Joyce

The red, white and blue in Belarus

By a quirk of scheduling, the two top under-18 tournaments this season ended up in Minsk: an invitational Six Nations tournament completed a few days back and the IIHF worlds in April. The U.S. ended up with a silver at the Six Nations, losing 2-1 to the Russian team in the round robin. Still, from the reviews of NHL scouts returning from that tournament, the U.S. team should go back to Minsk as the favorite to successfully defend the world title it won in Fargo, N.D. last year. I say "should," because USA Hockey will have to be proactive in assembling the best possible roster. And they might need a break or two when it comes to player availability.

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