Mackenzie Blackwood (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
The New Jersey Devils pick will miss the first two games of the World Junior Championship due to a suspension in the OHL for an overhand slash he dropped on a player from Sudbury. So what does this mean for the Canadians?
Justice is swift and unmerciful in the OHL and since they're dealing with teenaged victims, it's probably for the best. But that's probably cold comfort for Team Canada and Mackenzie Blackwood after the world junior goalie and Barrie Colts starter was suspended eight games by the OHL – a long enough ban to see him miss time at the world junior tournament in Finland.
Blackwood, a 2015 draft pick of the New Jersey Devils, levelled a brutal overhand slash against Sudbury's Danny Desrochers. Here's the video.
Pretty nasty. The IIHF honors suspensions from other leagues, so Blackwood will miss Canada's first two round robin games. This is pretty crucial, since Canada kicks off the tournament against the rival Americans. Game 2 is a gimme against Denmark, but that USA tilt could have big implications for the medal round – should the U.S. win, Canada would likely finish no better than second in the pool, meaning a crossover game against a tougher opponent in the quarterfinal.
Not that Blackwood was guaranteed to start the tourney in net – Calgary Flames pick Mason McDonald of Charlottetown is another solid option and has more international experience, though Blackwood is having a better 2015-16 campaign. Due to the Blackwood suspension, Canada added Florida pick Samuel Montembeault to the roster as a third goalie. Montembeault struggled early this season with Blainville-Boisbriand, but is beginning to round into better form.
Team Canada also added Boston Bruins pick Jeremy Lauzon, a defenseman from Rouyn-Noranda, to the camp roster. Lauzon gets the slot vacated by injured St. Louis Blues pick Jake Walman.