A Sabre Fan's Guide To The 2012 IIHF World Junior Championships

The 2012 IIHF U-20 World Junior Championships kick off today in Edmonton, and we've got everything you need to know about the Buffalo Sabres prospects participating, as well as Team USA, because America and all that.

Buffalo Sabres Prospects:

Mark Pysyk - Pysyk just missed the cut last season, but is locked in to Team Canada's roster this year as one of their seven defensemen. According to Kris Baker of SabresProspects.com, it's unclear as to the role Pysyk will play for Team Canada, but as a smart, stable defensemen he should be able to find ample playing time.

Joel Armia - Buffalo's controversial first-round pick this year has found his way onto Team Finland for the second time. He's been heating up lately after a slow start, and has the ability to both snipe from the wing and tip pucks in front of the net. His effort can be inconsistent, as with all young players, but it should be interesting to see if Armia can carry his hot streak into the tournament.

Bonus Prospect: Adam Clendening - While not a Sabres prospect, Clendening will be of interest to Western New Yorkers because he hails from Niagara Falls. A Blackhawks draft pick, Clendening will play defense for Team USA.

Tournament Schedule/Where To Watch:

The entire tournament schedule can be found at the IIHF website here, but for you lazy Americans out there (typical) here's the Team USA schedule:

12/26 - USA vs Denmark - 8:00pm

12/28 - USA vs Finland - 3:30pm

12/30 - USA vs Czech Republic - 3:30pm

12/31 - USA vs Canada - 8:00pm
1/2 - Quarterfinal Round - TBD

1/3 - Semifainl Round - TBD

1/5 - Bronze Medal Game - 3:30pm
1/5 - Gold Medal Game - 8:00pm

You can watch all of these games on NHL Network, or if you don't get that channel then you can stream the Team USA games on NHL.com. Here's the link to the complete US television schedule, which features five additional non-Team USA games.

More tourney info and links after the break.

Best Crazy European Names:

From Finland: Simo-Pekka Riikola and Roope Hamalainen

From Switzerland: Luca Boltshauser

From Latvia: Vitalijs Hvorostinnis and Zemgus Girgensons

And my personal favorite, Patrick and Oliver Bjorkstrand of Team Denmark, whom I like to imagine are brothers. Beware the Brothers Bjorkstrand.

Special thanks to the folks at Jasper's Rink, from whom some of the links were stolen borrowed. Enjoy the tournament!