"6:50 a.m. in Helsinki, Finland and I'm about to take my Gov30 final #sickjoke," tweets a 19-year-old Harvard kid as I'm eating my dinner out here in Pacific time, and I feel legitimately bad for the guy. Despite all appearances, the post didn't originate from some trustafarian cruising through a "semester abroad" and e-taking an easy-A final from an Internet cafe. It was written by Jimmy Vesey, a freshman who leads the Harvard hockey team in scoring and is in the midst of trying to (d)eke his way onto the U.S. national junior squad.
On Saturday, he'll find out whether he'll be playing in next week's World Junior Hockey Championships, the international Under-20 men's hockey tournament more commonly known as the WJC. If Vesey is one of USA Hockey's three final cuts, he'll fly back to the States from Helsinki just in time for Christmas as the trimmed team heads eastward to Ufa, Russia, for the tournament. It will be an honor just to have been considered. He's scored 8 points in nine games with Harvard this fall, earning ECAC Rookie of the Month honors — which is great, but compare that with the line on Alex Galchenyuk, a shoo-in first-liner for Team USA: 33 games played this fall in the Ontario Hockey League since being drafted no. 3 overall by the Montreal Canadiens; 27 goals, 34 assists.
Vesey is what They (scouts, coaches, guys whose titles involve the words "development" or "personnel," people who post on message boards and are the chipper types and not the miserly know-it-alls) call a realgoodyoungplayer. He was taken in the third round of the NHL draft this summer by the Nashville Predators. But right now, he's just a kid on the bubble. The Americans are set to play Sweden in an exhibition game later today, and They will be watching him with an extra close eye. Unless, of course, They've already made up their minds.