Image from TSN.ca

Well, here we are again. I have to admit I’m almost more disappointed that Canada lost in the semis and required us to play at 4 in the morning again than I am that we lost in the semis and denied our chance for gold. I am a selfish person. But while the drive for gold is gone, at least we can take our best shot at winning bronze. You know, the loser’s winner. We’ve beaten Russia before, we can do it again. I hope. Guess I’m awake either way.

 

Pre-Game

*The Russians are starting Andrei Makarov in net with Andrei Vasilevski scratched. I know they’ve been splitting time but it’s an odd decision considering how well Vasilevski played in the semifinals against Sweden. He’s basically the reason that game even made it to a shootout.

*Morgan Reilly and Ryan Murphy are sharing a defensive pairing today. I…don’t get it. I guess when you can pair a scoring defenseman with a defenceman who can’t play defense, you just gotta do it.

*No Griffin Reinhart for Canada today, either, as he was suspended four games for his high stick/head slash/accidental swing thing. Not sure I agree with the suspension. Yes, it was a stick to the head and, yes, it was inches away from being a really horrifying play but I don’t believe it was intentional and the other guy was fine. Both Jenner and Lipon’s hits were far dirtier, I think.

 

First Period

*Steve Spott looks tired. I feel ya, buddy.

*I 100% do not blame Malcolm Subban for the loss to the States nor do I subscribe to any sort of “they should have played Binnington instead” theories. However, I do wonder if Canada should have started Binnington for at least one game in the round robin. Maybe one of the States or Russia games. Just to get a look at him and how he handles himself in a big game situation. Again, I’m not saying that he should have been started over Subban in the semifinals, I just think Canada could have done well for themselves to at least get a look at what else they had on their bench.

*Scheifele gets cut…somehow and heads to the dressing room to get looked at. I do not weep for his absence.

*Really weird goal. A weak shot on Binnington that he stops with the left pad that somehow trickled through behind him and into the net. Totally the start we needed. I already don’t like this.

*Boone Jenner takes a roughing penalty for a pretty obvious elbow to the face. Jenner has been uniformly solid for Canada since his suspension but this is the 3rd or 4th semi-dirty hit I’ve seen him lay on someone. Starting to wonder where his head is at.

*And on that power play, the Russians passing seems to have been found. Nail Yakupov (finally) buries a goal into an empty cage as the three Canadian defenders between Yakupov and Yarullin couldn’t get a stick on the pass. Canada’s defence is once again not super great. Steve Spott calls a timeout and this was absolutely what he should have done against the Americans after they went down 0-2. Live and learn, I suppose.

*Canada gets their first power play of the game 6:30 into the first and I’m starting to think that this is just the first of many power plays to come. For both teams.

*G-G-G-G-G-OALLLLLLLLLL (been waiting to do that for a week). The Nuge! I think he saw Yakupov do something useful and was like, “oh, we’re allowed to do that? Cool.”

*Jesus hell. Right off the draw, Diakov slaps a shot in from the point that beats Binnington and I guess we’re seeing why we didn’t start Binnington in the round robin (Yes, I know, this is not an indictment of what he is capable of). Subban is in. This is fun. A bronze medal game should be wide open and kind of batshit, I think.

*The Russian crowd is screaming every time the Russians bring the puck past center ice and it’s actually kind of great.

*Subban makes two fantastic saves. It’s almost like he feels he has something to prove. Don’t know where he would have gotten that idea. It’s also worth nothing that on both saves, Canada’s defense once again looked totally panicked.

*Khokhlachev (fun to say, fun to spell) knocks Huberdeau to the ice after the play and Canada’s back to the power play because that’s just what kind of game this one is.

*Huberdeau pots (another) power play goal to get the Canadians back within one. Huberdeau has been pretty great so far today and, man, he has some great hands. This tournament hasn’t really showcased his talents as well as many expected but, when he’s able/allowed to, he can do some pretty amazing things with a stick and puck.

*I just decided that Huberdeau’s nickname needs to be Saint-Huber. Also, Canada just took another penalty. I feel like I should just set up a cut and paste for the word “penalty” today.

*Subban continues to be Nyffler-good and everyone who has questioned if he is “the good goalie” should probably shut up now. I know you guys won’t but I can try.

*Horn sounds and it’s a 3-2 game. Somehow the horn didn’t get called for a penalty.

Second Period

*Are IIHF intermissions shorter than NHL? Seems like this game started up again awful fast.

*Took a whopping three minutes to get our first penalty of the period. And Scheifele ties it up off a great feed from Nuge. About time, Scheifele. And he even stayed upright!

*Subban continues to be nothing short of phenomenal and I can’t tell if I think it’s because he’s playing with a chip on his shoulder or because there’s less pressure. Of course, as I was typing that, the Russians scored and now it’s 4-3. Okay.

*I SWEAR I just heard the Russian crowd start chanting “go Leafs go!” I mean, I probably didn’t, but I think I did. This may or may not have anything to do with it being 5 in the morning.

*Not surprising, considering the score, but this game is way more wide open than any other Canada has played in this tournament. Seems to be the first game that the Canadians have either gotten used to, or figured out how to use, the bigger ice surface. It actually looks like an IIHF game and not like a bunch of North Americans being confused by a larger surface area.

*Another powerplay, another goal. Ryan Murphy does something (finally) and launches a shot from the point to tie this game up at 4. I guess we’re just hoping for penalties.

*Subban just robbed Yakupov with the glove on a pretty incredible wrist shot. That entire sequence of events made me unreasonably happy. I don’t dislike Yakupov or anything, I’m just happy to see Subban making nice saves and it’s just a bonus if they’re on Russia’s (supposed) best player.

*Canada is really starting to take over in this game. They seem to be spending far more time in the Russian end than their own and, really, it’s about time. Canada is clearly the more talented team here, it’s nice to see them finally acting like it.

*And we head to Canada’s final period of this World Juniors tournament tied at 4. The third should be fun.

Third Period

*Russia just seems to be a little busier around the net than the Canadians. There’s a lot more traffic in and around the net than the Canadians are showing. This isn’t news for this Canadian team but it’s going to become a problem before long.

*Well, there’s a power I didn’t know I had. Subban gets beat glove side and Russia takes the lead once again as Canada’s defence once againt leaves Subban out to dry. I’m starting to sense a pattern here

*An even strength goal!? What the hell? Brett Ritchie keeps Canada alive and gives Canada their first even strength goal of the game. It’s 5-5 and now this is starting to feel like a Canada/Russia game at the World Juniors.

*That goal seems to have woken Canada up a little bit as they’re finally taking it to the Russians and using their skill to make a difference on the ice. This is the team that we’ve been waiting to see for the entire tournament. Unfortunately, they can’t quite get that lone goal that they need.

*Is everyone else okay? Each post that was hit there was painful. So many chances. The game should have ended right there. You can’t give a team an opening like that in the World Juniors. Bury the puck in the back of the net, take the lead, and go home. Obviously, this kind of thing happens all the time but, in a game that has been as back and forth as this, it really feels like one of those things that’s going to come back to haunt us.

 

Overtime

*Subban continues to impress, doing whatever is asked of him to keep this game going. Canada is throwing quite a lot at Makarov here but with nothing to show for it.

*Jenner had basically an open cage to end this thing in sudden death but couldn’t get good wood on it. Only so many chances Canada can miss before it comes back to bite them.

*Fuck.

*Ryan Murphy gets beat on yet another defensive assignment as Valeri Nichushkin blew by him and juuuust tucked the puck under Subban’s pad. Game over. Russia wins.

 

That was not how I expected that to end, though it is somewhat fitting for a team that hasn’t played up to their potential for the entire tournament. Questionable coaching and questionable defence spelled doom for Canada at this year’s World Junior tournament. Russia earned that one, though Canada could, and probably should, have won. Canada fails to win a medal at this tournament since the 1998 tournament and, after that tournament, proceeded to go on a tear and uttler decimate the World Juniors. Let’s hope history repeats itself. Hopefully 2013 acts as one giant wake up call and Canada comes back strong in 2014.

 

 

 

Comments (7)

  1. This whole tournament was a spectacular mismanagement on behalf of Hockey Canada. Someone’s gotta revise how these teams are built because clearly the blue collar Stanley Cup generic prototype with the two skill lines supplemented by power and grinders just isn’t optimal on the international ice. And shame on Steve Spott for convincing himself that Nathan MacKinnon was a more serviceable fourth liner than a skill player. The dude was really never given a chance to flash his ’1st overall’ prospect cred. Let him experience the heartache of 4th line duties later on in life when Columbus inevitably takes him and buries him under so many buses. god it’s late

    • Plus props to Malcolm Subban for his tournament. He wasn’t a colossus like Gibson, but he did a damn good job given the defense corps he was placed behind imo.

  2. Can’t wait to hear from Don on this one…

  3. I do not get the Boone Jenner hype. I keep reading how he’s a ‘future Captain of the Columbus Blue Jackets”. The kid did NOT seem to have his head on straight this entire tournament. He plays hard, but he does not play smart, and every game has a questionably dirty play or 3.

    What a disappointing end to this tournament, though i guess not surprising. Warning signs were there in the games against Germany and Slovakia. I think this one really falls on the coaching. Spott was a poor choice.

  4. Oh, one more thing…this Canada squad had a pretty high level of theatrical divers at this tournament, more than I can remember anyway.

  5. I have been reflecting on Canadian hockey for the last few days. I think I have seen this coming for a few years. To me it seems like Canadian hockey is losing site of development and I see signs of nepotism are stealing the blue collar hard working teams of our past.

    Take the best player not the ones who are sold as being the best because they scored 100 goals in tyke hockey. The Subban drama is a perfect example, they get all this hype and what do they deliver. Just cause one was on a good team shouldn’t mean the brothers all get star treatment, they need to earn it. Steve Spott, never had a good vibe since he was announced, nice the best we can do is a under achieving junior coach that was part of a train wreck the last time he was part of the bench on a high level team.

    People lets look at U-17, U-18 and the WJ championships. After looking at the results Canada does somewhat okay in the past at U-17 on Canadian soil (recently brutal) Take us to the big ice without home arena advantage and you see in the U-18 we hardly have done anything over the last 15 years- gold and a few other medals.

    On the other hand the USA has amazing numbers starting in 1998 they have turned their program into a beast. Hate to say it the Canadian program needs to look South for an eye opener. All the ex NHL stars staying and living in the US now with kids and coaching and doing skill development programs are starting to have a huge impact. My kid plays 98 hockey and we play US teams all the time with better coaches and tonnes of money to fly all over to play in the best tourneys. Hockey is becoming a rich sport and the USA parents have money to throw around and huge population to draw bigger, faster, stronger athletes. Then they actually make them compete for their job.

    The worst performance on record for Canada at the WJ championship in some time and if you notice the core of the team was crowned kings and barely had to break a sweat to make the team. I’m no hockey expert but I know this if Reinhart ?? (who is terrible if you watch him for a minute) is the best talent we have on D we are heading down for years to come. Skates and plays like a Tyke hockey player. Also, he deserved more than 4 games. He was clearly frustrated and anybody watching the replay of his high stick can see pre meditation stop protecting the kid he made a poor decision. Canada hockey spent too much time complaining about the refs and not addressing coaching the kids to be champs.

    Look at U-18 hockey when we get on the big ice surfaces we do really poor. Why I’d say do to individual puck possession skills, lack of experience on big ice, too much emphasis in kids hockey on hitting not skill and the lack of good coaches in Canadian minor hockey focused on development verses winning at all costs. Ever seen the cost of hockey in Canada in the last five years. The pool of good talent is dwindling as the poor segment of hockey kids is being left out do to the huge emphasis on community arenas (Rec dept.) making sports all about making huge profits rather than providing opportunities for young kids to play sports and have opportunities to show their abilities.

    Like the demise of American basketball and baseball. Canadian hockey is going the way of the dodo bird if we don’t get real and do a better job picking our coaches, teams and putting more money and development opportunities for young kids.

    Look at the spring hockey programs in Canada in the last 10 years. The parents with the money run teams that their kids couldn’t make without their dough. These kids get undeserved hype and other kids that are great kids and players get let off teams they clearly should be on.

    Canadian hockey needs development programs that funnel all kids through the system and not just the chosen few that coaches and parents and certain scouts have vested interests in. I see it at the Minor hockey level with my three kids. Parents and friends coaching their kids and playing games, double shifting their kids and turning other kids off hockey. I see coaches promote kids based on their family $ and what level of hockey their parents played at. Even when the kid is brutal but they still get extra playing tme and make teams they normally would get cut from. This turns good kids and nice families off hockey. These idiots win and monopolize sport.

    Sad times for Canadian hockey—lets get back to our hockey. I’d rather not win gold ever year if it means I’m proud of the style of Canadian hockey from Tyke to NHL. Hard work, skill and passion. Take the body but no flopping like the Europeans. I saw in the semi game a Canadian kid get hit in the visor by an America player. He grabs his mouth and drama to sell the penalty. Shame that is European soccer mentality. Steve Spott in my mind helped create that attitude by worrying so much about the refs calls on our kids. Yes we need to play clean hard hockey but don’t sell out to the European refs. Just like 1972 and other years Canada has to wake up and realize maybe our game and skill level has been passed by other people and countries, what are we going to do about it????

    Let’s get our asses to the rink and fix the problem cause their is one. Let’s wake up and get’er done. My son plays AAA 98 and the hockey is great, fast, skilled. Yet the best team is a American team from Detroit which has tonnes of money, NHL coach and plays in all the big tourneys across NA. They are programmed to win, play all the big games and have NHL players mentoring their development and pro hockey attitude. Then we have a few NHL coaches here in Canada putting back into the system. Other than Wendel Clark (n a real Canadian hockey star
    and great person)who is doing it for all the right reasons we have others doing it for money and only their kids. Wrong motives. Do it for the love of the game and to give back to a system that gave tonnes of volunteer time to you.

    Outta here!

  6. I, like mkcop have had my kid play AAA hockey. My son is a 93, he played against alot of this team. Boone Jenner needs to become more disciplined, Ryan Murphy hasn’t changed since the early days…..skates like a million and defends like 50 cent . Dougie Hamilton, although he was the only d-men plus, where was he ??
    I believe that Hockey Canada has fallen asleep to the changes in the game. The U.S.A. , Sweden and Finland have made huge jumps in their development. When my son was playing minor hockey on a really good AAA team, I kept noticing how much better the Americans were at skating compared to us. I asked kids who played college there,and other Americans who we were at tournaments we played against. They all said, the coaches all preach skating, technical and power deveopment. We practice more and play less and study the game. BINGO, us Canadians are so arrogant about the game we love. We don’t educate our coaches enough, the development programs are pretty much a joke. The game is passing us by. My son played Junior A, I went to a couple of his practices until I couldn’t take how brutal they were. The coach was getting paid big money and honestly couldn’t even run a drill.
    When we select our teams, we pick slow,grinder guys….look at the other teams in the tourney. Skill. skill, skill….these teams don’t get intimidated by us anymore. Hey I love Don Cherry and physical hockey, but seriously to be the best we need an overhaul of whats going on. Every hockey organization needs a similiar plan and checks on their programs. I see referees being watched and evaluated, but rarely coaches.
    For the present Canada junior team, I feel sorry for them……no one likes that kind of legacy….the kids didn’t pick this team…they have been stars their whole lives, hopefully the can learn something valuable from losing…..Hopefully, Hockey Canada can as well.

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