Forgive Colorado College freshmen Gustav Olofsson (Sweden) and Jaccob Slavin (USA) if they are still a little excited about their time at the 2014 World Junior Championship in Malmo, Sweden, where Olofsson's team fell one win short of a title.
The experience was a great for both.
"Playing at that level and at that speed when you have to make fast decisions was a great experience," Slavin said. "It helps your development playing with those guys."
For Olofsson, the sting of silver instead of gold is being replaced by the benefit of the experience.
"More confidence is the big thing," he said.
Olofsson's return gives Tigers a boost
Olofsson was encouraged to leave CC and head to Portland of the Western Hockey League by the Minnesota Wild organization, which drafted him 46th overall in 2013, after a strong performance for Sweden. His NHL stock rose after he finished with five points (four assists) in seven games and played well defensively.
"Olofsson really impressed me when they lined up to play the Russians," said college TV analyst Dave Starman, who called the games for the NHL Network. "His pairing against (Russian leading scorer Mikhail) Grigorenko spoke volumes about what he was worth to Sweden."
But the rookie decided he wanted to stay at CC citing good coaching and the team.
"That (WHL) will always be there because they have my (major junior) rights," Olofsson said. "This is where I want to be and that is why I am here."
The Tigers are glad he chose to stay.
"Having Jaccob back is a big help and seeing Gustav decide to come back was a boost for team morale," CC assistant Joe Bonnett said.
CC's Slavin is the younger brother of Jordan Slavin, who once held the single-season defenseman points record for the North Dakota women. . The fathers of CC senior Alexander Krushelnyski (Mike) and UND captain Dillon Simpson won a Stanley Cup together in 1988 with Edmonton.Craig Simpson is the lead analyst on CBC's "Hockey Night in Canada."