Game One - Marco Rossi vs. The Entire Nation of Sweden goes exactly how you’d expect. Sweden wins a tidy 4-0 shutout.
I really think once Rossi gets to play with NHLers, he’ll be something special. Unfortunately, he happens to be playing with his merely mortal countrymen. And that’s a bad time if you’re taking on Sweden.
- Austria barely avoided getting the least amount of shots in a WJC game last time by taking advantage of the fact that the USA had well and truly murdered them badly, and was able to wiggle their way out of that. For most of the game, it really looked like they were gonna beat the previous record holder, but valiantly got a couple before the end to avoid it again. So uh...Congrats, I think????
- Gotta give the Austrian coaching staff some credit, they played all their guys pretty evenly. Even if...y’know...they pretty quickly got escorted from being a part of this game.
- A scary head-first board collision had Lucas Raymond go to the room early in the 2nd period, but he came back for the third in good health. Never wanna see something like that happen, even if it’s nobody’s fault.
Game Two - Germany gets a couple players back, and climbs the ladder to an improbable 4-3 Overtime win!
I have never been so proud of a team so undermanned, so hopeless not 48 hours before, so very leaning on the best parts of their team to succeed. And so very much winners.
- Slovakia did a lot to get this game to the point they were in. They scored the first three, and then things just sorta spiraled out of their control as Germany came out swinging like another loss was going to kill them. Once Florian Elias tied it up in the second, they played back on their skates a bit, and unlike previous German goalies, newly back from quarantine Florian Bugl (There’s a lot of Florian’s on this team.) wasn’t about to give up for anything. They sealed their fate with a boneheaded penalty and couldn’t even touch the puck in overtime. That’s how much the Germans wanted this.
- Tim Stutzle played a tidy 31:01 of this game. Germany may have gotten this day off, but if he leaves his hotel room for anything other than a round of ice baths and team meals tomorrow it will betray the day of rest he earned.
- Slovakia’s consolation prize is [checks notes] ...oof, playing Finland. Man they really shoulda won this one because they are fresh out of winnable games.
- There is no way to really underscore how much of an underdog victory this was without showing you the national anthem lineup after the game. Gute Spiel, Deutschland.
Look at how much space each team takes up on their blue line... pic.twitter.com/nSWeFKsCRc— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) December 29, 2020
USA vs. Czech Republic - 2pm
Canada vs. Switzerland - 6pm
Austria vs. Russia - 9:30pm
Personal Recommendation: USA vs. Czech Republic in a landslide. The other two might only barely be competitive on penalties or something. Or who knows? Maybe Canada will actually lay a goose egg against Switzerland! Besides, the sole reason you might watch today’s matchups is because maybe Bychkov gets a shift or two against Austria.
Maybe I’ll learn to fly! Anything is possible under the miracles of Quantum Mechanics!