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World Juniors Day 1 Recap: Rest in Peace, Denmark

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A whole mess of goals started the world junior championship, and several teams now have questions going into days 2 and 3.

The USA dismantled Denmark in their opening game.
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Game 1: Czechs stun Russia 5-4 in seesaw contest

If you wanted the best of what this tournament can look like, look no further.

Russia and the Czechs were at each other’s throats the whole game, starting with a 1st period that ended 2-2 after 20, but the Czechs would pull away with an absolutely incredible pair of sequences that them up 4-2 in the 2nd with Filip Chytil and Filip Zadina potting home goals, and in general stifling the normally very fast and powerful Russian offense. Russia would try and claw their way back into the game, but the Czechs held on to start the day with an incredible upset win!

Highlights here:

A Few Remarks:

  1. The Czechs opened the scoring largely because Russia’s defense fell asleep at the wheel and started puck-watching. That’s the kind of thing Russia will absolutely have to avoid in their next few games, even if they aren’t playing world-beaters like the Czechs absolutely played like. The other thing they did well was attack the net down low, almost no player was afraid to go to the front.
  2. Granted, the Czechs also seemed pretty interested in letting large shooting lanes develop themselves.
  3. Filip Chytil really is something, isn’t he?
  4. The Russians apparently can’t stand Buffalo. I didn’t know I had so much in common with people infinitely more talented than me.
  5. Russia I hear tends to do poorly in these opening games, so maybe you can forgive this loss and hope they come out ready to face the Swiss on thursday, but they looked pretty lost out there for stretches. Here’s hoping they put it together in time for their game against Sweden because uh...

Game 2: Sweden dissects Belarus alive, win 6-1.

They ain’t playin’ around.

If you ever wanted to know what watching an SHL/Allsvenskan all-star team versus an ECHL team looks like, look no further than this game. Sweden knew exactly how overmatched Belarus was walking in and wasted no time dumping goal after goal on them, which for a time was the biggest lopsided result of the night...for now.

A Few Remarks and Bruins Prospect update:

  1. Thanks for coming, Belarus! Your flight leaves on the new year!
  2. The sole Belarusian goal was a short-handed bid that Yegor Shrangovich made a million out of. It was one of nine shots that Belarus took all game.
  3. That particular block that Shrangovich got was very...Bruins-y on the part of Sweden: Get blocked out on the blueline, get turned around, player gets an easy shot away. Felt like the NHL never left.
  4. Elias Petterson is a player to watch when he gets to the NHL. He was a real general of the ice and made fools of the poor Belarusians.
  5. Belarus’ schedule is mostly to get their heads pushed in for the first week of the tournament. Switzerland and then Russia? Oh god, they’re done for.
  6. Prospect Update: Oskar Steen had a point! He set up Nylander who set up Brannstrom for his go-ahead goal, all on his defensive zone breakout.

Game 3: Canada gets lucky and then also plays a solid game against Finland, wins 4-2

Canada’s big test was getting over the hump of last year’s and this year’s expectations, and Finland’s big test was looking like their coach and their offense in general gave a crap. Both teams performed admirably at that, but it was Canada’s strong system (and a little bit of luck) that lifted them over Leijonat.

The luck I refer to is that of Boris Katchouk essentially plowing himself into Finland’s goaltender with the puck along for the ride, and in spite of the net being off it’s moorings, the IIHF ruled that the puck had indeed crossed the line. I dunno if I would’ve called it like that, but then it’s merely a 3-2 win, so who knows?

A Few Thoughts and Bruins Prospect Update:

  1. Canada got lucky. I’m not budging from this.
  2. Both teams had surprising amounts of time where it seemed like whole lines and pairings just took time off. They should be lucky neither side either made it worse/tied it up in similar fashion.
  3. Carter Hart’s superstition of being the last one off the ice is the single dumbest thing I’ve heard. Naturally, he was pretty great with a .935 SV%, so I’d keep an eye on him and whether or not a coach exploits that in future games.
  4. Finland plays well, just in stretches. When their name talent is off the ice against Canada? yeesh.
  5. Bruins Prospect Update: Urho Vaakanainen was one of the few players on Finland to have a not-bad time on defense. He logged 21 minutes, and Canada tended to not have stretches of offensive zone time while he was out there. About as much as you can ask for him for right now. He is absolutely defense first and about as exciting as beige fuzzy slippers: Just distinctly comfortable and that’s it.

Game 4: USA massacres Denmark to the tune of a 9-0 mollywhopping.

There is no recap that can be satisfactory. The highlights tell the whole tale. This was a mission statement signed in blood and offal:

A Few Remarks and Bruins Prospect Update:

  1. Jesus f___ing Christ, USA. What did Denmark do to deserve this?
  2. Casey Mittelstadt is a special talent that should absolutely be on an NHL roster at some point in the near future. As well as Keiffer Bellows, who smoked Kaspar Krog’s entire life out at one point.
  3. Oh yeah, uh...BC’s Woll got a shutout in game one but for large stretches of time (and I mean almost an entire period’s worth), I distinctly remember Denmark being held to about three or four shots over the course of about 20-30 minutes.
  4. Denmark plays Finland on Thursday. I hope for their sakes they make it a competitive one.
  5. Prospect Update: Trent Frederic was one of the few USA players who didn’t score, but he was perfect on his penalty killing shifts and in general played pretty well in both offense and defense. Ryan Lindgren got 19 minutes of ice time and played pretty solidly, though nothing stood out. Granted, he definitely looked a lot better than some defenders talked about earlier, ye gods...

Today’s games:

Switzerland takes on Belarus in their first game at 3pm EST on TSN and NHLN

Slovakia takes on Canada in their first game right after at 7pm on TSN and NHLN