There are some important questions that need to be answered in the coming days, but Steven Santini will at least get a dressed rehearsal for the IIHF World Junior Championship in Canada.
After the Boston College defenseman suffered a wrist injury during an October 25 game against UMass, his availability for the annual tournament was very much in doubt. He underwent surgery three days later and was expected to be sidelined until the New Year.
Santini has been skating for the last three weeks and reported for training camp with Team USA on Tuesday at Boston University. The 19-year-old has been participating in non-contact drills. He’s coming home to Mahopac for the weekend, and will return to Boston on Monday to have pins removed from the wrist. Santini expects to play in the final exhibition against Sweden on Tuesday in Kingston, Ontario, according to his father, Steve.
The former Kennedy Catholic standout played in last year’s World Junior Championship and was not happy about coming home from Sweden without a medal. Russia ousted the U.S. in a quarterfinal game.
“When I first got hurt I was obviously devastated because this tournament means a lot to me,” Santini told NHL.com earlier this week. “I thought walking off the ice last year against Russia, I felt like I had unfinished business in this tournament. So everything I’ve done since the day I got hurt was to get back and be healthy for this tournament.”
If no issues are reported during or after the exhibition, the odds are pretty good he will be in uniform when Team USA opens next Friday at 3 p.m. against defending champion Finland at the Bell Centre in Montreal. All games will be televised by the NHL Network and streamed on NHL.com.