Following Russia’s 5-4 defeat in the World Junior Championship gold medal game, Russian defenseman Ziat Paigin threw his stick into the crowd and it struck a fan.
A Canadian fan in attendance, Josh Epstein, caught the stick-throwing incident on camera after the game and posted it to Instagram. In addition, a fan in the lower bowl of the Air Canada Center caught the act on tape. If you watch the video, you can see Paigin throw his stick on the left hand side shortly after the Canadian team begins to celebrate: 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:
As it turns out, we may never learn what Curtis Lazar looks like without a smile on his face. This one, you would think, will last a pretty long time.
Shedding five years of ignominy for your country will tend to do that to a guy, particularly one as optimistic as Lazar. The kid who came into Canada’s camp late, was named captain and provided much of the spark for the Canadian team was talking about filling his junior resume with a gold medal, which came when Canada defeated Russia 5-4 in yet another classic game between these two hockey superpowers. Read more
The stereotypical Canadian hockey player is humble, sometimes to a fault. But this year’s edition of the world junior team wanted to be different, going way back to the summer: They wanted to bring some swagger back to a program that had not won gold since 2009 and now, they have done it.
Canada is golden at the World Junior Championship for the first time in six years, but its road to the championship was hardly paved with gold in the final game.
There were speed bumps along the way, a whole bunch of them, but Canada prevailed in the gold medal game by a score of 5-4. But not without first almost imploding after taking a 5-1 lead midway through the second period. In what looked like shades of 2011, Canada allowed the Russians back in the game when the visiting team scored twice in 32 seconds and three times in 3:16 to narrow the gap to 5-4 after two periods. Read more
Before each game, every member of Slovakian’s world junior team would line up and have a moment with goaltender Denis Godla. For what appeared to be an undermanned squad talent-wise, it sometimes seemed like they were paying their last respects. As it turns out, it was more of a pilgrimage.
When Team Canada takes the ice in Toronto Monday night for the gold medal final of the IIHF World Junior Championship, virtually the entire country will be watching. And whether they win or lose, there will be no shortage of Canadian jingoism from start to finish. My fellow countrymen will be told by corporate advertisers, narrow-minded analysts and overzealous fans that hockey is “our” game, that our passion for the sport is what unites us as a nation and what makes us the game’s primary guardians.
Let’s forget the validity of some of those claims for a second, because I want to explore that sense of Canadian pride and unity, and how easily we pick it up and put it down, depending on the moment. I agree that hockey is what links all of Canada together, but why does it only happen for a few weeks each year? Celebrations will erupt across the country if Canada beats Russia to win WJC gold for the first time since 2009, but once the last party fumes evaporate, what will we return to?
If history is any indication, some of us will return to stereotyping regions of Canada to make ourselves feel better about our preferred region of Canada. Read more
You had to feel a little badly for Tom Renney. There was the president of Hockey Canada, sitting there taking bullets for the bad decisions made by other people, decisions he likely wouldn’t have made himself.
Regardless of what happens in tonight’s gold medal game, the 2015 World Junior Championship will go down as an unmitigated disaster when measured against what was expected of it. When Hockey Canada made the decision to have Toronto and Montreal co-host the event in 2015 and 2017, it did so with visions of dollar signs and full arenas in its head. Read more