Another world junior tournament is in the books and it was a dandy, with Canada holding off the Russians 5-4 in the gold medal game. Next year, the holiday classic shifts over to Finland, where the host nation will hope to rebound from a sub-par outing in 2014. There was a ton of talent in Montreal and Toronto, so here’s a wrap of some players that caught my eye. As always, only prospects who have yet to play an NHL game were eligible.
Chalk this up as one of the strangest things you’ll see all season. After taking a check from Edmonton Oilers winger Benoit Pouliot, Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg got a piece of an advertisement stuck to his jersey.
Of course, Zetterberg, ever the professional, finished the shift as if nothing was amiss and headed to the bench to have the advertisement removed. Thankfully, the entire thing was caught on video, so we get a chance to chuckle at the moment. Read more
It was awfully nice of the Toronto Maple Leafs to hold off on firing their coach until Tuesday, and your trusty correspondent means that in all sincerity. The Maple Leafs probably knew they wanted to fire Randy Carlyle on Monday, but held off the gong show and allowed the best teenagers in the world to have the stage all to themselves without turning it into a gong show. Good on them for doing that.
The day after the night before, here are some final thoughts that never made their way from the notebook:
The Edmonton Oilers wasted little time making moves as the calendar turned to 2015. On Dec. 29, they plucked winger Matt Fraser off waivers from the Boston Bruins and shipped center Mark Arcobello to Nashville for veteran pivot Derek Roy. On Jan. 2, unhappy winger David Perron was dealt to Pittsburgh for winger Rob Klinkhammer and a first-round pick in 2015. Over the weekend, rookie center Leon Draisaitl was returned to the WHL for the rest of the season.
With the Oilers mired at the bottom of the NHL standings and seemingly certain to land the first- or second-overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, some pundits are wondering what other moves GM Craig MacTavish has in store for his floundering club. Read more
With a seesaw game on the line against Russia, Axel Holmstrom was there for his country. The Swedish pivot potted the game-winner for the Tre Kronor, a team using balance to get the job done in pool play at the world juniors so far.
With 12 points in 27 games back home with Skelleftea, Holmstrom is one of the top-scoring teenagers in the Swedish League – so of course the Detroit Red Wings got him in the seventh round this past summer, right?
MONTREAL – The New Year’s Eve game between Canada and USA has been billed as the Connor McDavid-Jack Eichel showdown, but a couple of other Americans who have already been drafted have served notice that this World Junior Championship might just belong to them.
While Eichel has been good at times in this tournament, one of those times was not Monday’s 3-0 victory over Slovakia, when the American jewel of the 2015 draft took two penalties and failed to hit the scoresheet. Instead, USA was carried to victory on the shoulders of the line of Dylan Larkin between Sonny Milano and Hudson Fasching, which was creative as it was dominant. Read more
There’s a highlight of Steve Yzerman that almost everyone knows. He makes a few moves against the Chicago Blackhawks, circles the zone for what feels like forever before finally burying an unbelievable goal.
On Saturday night, not only did Gustav Nyquist score the overtime winner to lift the Detroit Red Wings over the Ottawa Senators 3-2, the goal he scored may actually be better than that of Yzerman’s. Read more
Make no mistake: Swedish goaltender Linus Soderstrom earned his keep against Denmark. Even though his squad eventually won easily with a final score of 5-1, the New York Islanders prospect actually faced more shots than his Danish counterpart in the first period – and some of those attempts were dazzling.