More Patrik Laine! Finland gives us what we want with World Cup roster

Patrik Laine (Photo by Anna Sergeeva/Getty Images)

Given how important the youth have been to Finland this year, it’s probably not a shocker that the final seven roster spots for the nation’s World Cup of Hockey team skew young. But it is nice to see the kids rewarded.

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All the latest on Dale Tallon, Pavel Datsyuk and Mike Van Ryn

Dale Tallon (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Scott Luce has been either the director of scouting or director of player personnel with the Florida Panthers since 2002. And like literally every other person in the talent evaluation business, he has some home runs and he has some skeletons in his closet.

So when the Panthers said they relieved him of his duties, saying they wanted a new voice when it came to scouting, there’s no reason not to take them for their word. Luce’s recent work has been splendid, but that many years in one position is a long time for anyone in this business.

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Finland’s international golden era has just begun

Finland's Jesse Puljujärvi (Markku Ulander/AFP/Getty Images)

Call him The Narrative Slayer.

When Connor McDavid charged the net for what turned out to be the game-winning goal in Canada’s 2-0 golden performance at the World Championship in Russia, the young Oilers star punctured a pretty good storyline in the making. That being, of course, that a Finland victory would have given Suomi all three major IIHF men’s titles this year.

But while Finland may have lost at the worlds, the country’s gold medals at the world juniors and world under-18s were reason enough to believe that Finland is entering a golden era of hockey.

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Russian coach slams Yakupov, says his absence helped Russia medal at World Championship

Jared Clinton
Nail Yakupov (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Life in Edmonton hasn’t been easy on winger Nail Yakupov over the past few seasons, and he can’t even catch a break at home in Russia.

Following Russia’s 7-2 thumping of Team USA in the bronze medal game at the World Championship, Russian coach Oleg Znarok let it be known that Yakupov’s absence from the team didn’t have any impact on the nation’s inability to capture its first gold medal at the tournament since 2014. In fact, Znarok said the lack of Yakupov on the Russian roster was beneficial to the team, calling it “addition by subtraction,” according to Slava Malamud.

That’s an unpleasant way for a national team coach to describe one of his potential players and almost assuredly means Yakupov won’t be suiting up for any of Znarok’s teams in the future, which includes the upcoming World Cup.

The situation between Znarok and Yakupov had been bubbling since the 22-year-old was left off the team. Malamud had reported there was a public blowup between Znarok and Yakupov after he wasn’t named to the squad, and Yakupov said the claims he was fighting an injury were “bogus.” Znarok fired back saying Yakupov was denying his injuries in order to facilitate a new contract or trade, though Yakupov said he was cleared by NHL doctors to play at the World Championship. Read more

Canada wins second-consecutive World Championship with shutout victory over Finland

Jared Clinton
Canada celebrates (Yuri Kadobnov/AFP/Getty Images)

Canada has repeated as gold medalists at the World Championship with a 2-0 victory over Finland, and Canada becomes the first nation to repeat as tournament champions since the Russian team won consecutive golds in 2008 and 2009.

In a game that saw no shortage of scoring chances for either side, both Canadian goaltender Cam Talbot and Finnish netminder Mikko Koskinen were sharp for their respective sides, but it was Talbot who was able to shut the door the whole way through the gold medal game. Talbot stopped all 17 shots he faced in the contest, while Koskinen’s only mistake came when Connor McDavid was able to drive inside and pop one over the Finnish goaltender 11:24 into the first period.

The goal was McDavid’s first of the tournament, and it couldn’t have come at a bigger moment. Canada had been shutout by the Finns during the round robin as Koskinen stopped all 21 shots he faced, but the Canadian squad peppered him in Sunday’s title game. All told, Canada put 32 shots on Koskinen and he only allowed the single goal. Read more

Ellis’ blast helps Canada down USA, head to World Championship gold medal game

Jared Clinton
Canada celebrates post-game (Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images)

Canada will have a chance at repeating as gold medalists at the World Championship for the first time in more than a decade, and they’re heading to the gold medal game following a thrilling 4-3 victory over the rival United States.

In what has become a staple of international competition between the men’s national teams on the world stage, the Canadian and American squads turned in a one-goal contest that left one club heartbroken. And this time around, in the semi-final of the World Championship, it was the U.S. squad that left the ice with a bit of heartbreak. However, the American side, which boasted far fewer big-name NHL stars, should be proud of an effort that nearly had their Canadian heading to Sunday’s bronze medal game.

In the first frame, Canada and the U.S. traded chances back and forth, but the only goals in the opening period came from Canadians Brendan Gallagher and Brad Marchand. The 2-0 lead after 20 minutes may have made it appear as though Canada could stomp out any hopes the American club had, but the young team — led in scoring by top prospect Auston Matthews, Dylan Larkin and Frank Vatrano — answered back in the second. Read more

Auston Matthews’ heroics sets up semifinal between United States and Canada at World Championship

Ian Denomme
Auston Matthews.

The No. 1 overall draft pick from 2015 will go head-to-head with the (almost certain) No. 1 pick in 2016 on Saturday. Auston Matthews helped the U.S. upset the Czech Republic on Thursday and setup a North American showdown with Connor McDavid and Team Canada.

Matthews was the hero for the U.S., scoring in regulation to tie the game, then scoring the only goal in the shootout in their 2-1 quarterfinal win. Both goals showed off his quick hands and slick moves. Here’s the shootout winner, a sneaky filthy move where he fakes the goalie then deftly goes five-hole.

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Super teen Patrik Laine hobbled in World Championship by ‘garbage play’

Patrik Laine.

To these eyes, it was difficult to determine exactly what Corey Perry’s level of intent was when he clipped Patrik Laine of Finland with his left leg when he was coming off for a line change in today’s World Championship game.

So I will defer to the observations of two former NHL players who have more than 2,000 games between them. And the fact that both Ray Ferraro and Bob Errey are analysts for the Canada-centric TSN broadcasts and lambasted Perry for his skullduggery provide further perspective on the situation.

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