Monday, April 25, 2005


Under 18 WJC: Kessel Kills Canada

Make that 2 for 2 for the USA over Canada in recent International events as the Amerikaners beat Canada 5-1 to win the Under-18 World Hockey Championships.

Phenom Phil Kessel continues to impress me every time I see him play on TV. Special 'K' had 2 goals (including a nice breakaway goal) and 2 assists in the game and finished with 9 goals and 7 assists in 6 tournament games!

Kessel has amazing skating ability, and seems to score some very Teemu Selanne-like goals in big games. IF the 2005-06 Draft Pools are combined, I would predict Kessel to go #2 right behind Sidney Crosby.

The scoreboard wasn't the only ugly thing about the game, from a Canadian point of view. Canadian Colton Yellowhorn was hit from behind (while playing his first shift of the game) while skating towards the boards to retrieve a loose puck.

Yellow Horn was about a metre from the side boards when he was driven head first into them by U.S. forward Justin Mercier with six minutes to go in the game.

Yellow Horn, a Lethbridge Hurricanes forward, was taken to hospital and was said to be experiencing neck pain, but was also said to be alert and conscious and able to move his fingers and toes. Mercier was given a match penalty.

Yellow Horn returned to the arena shortly thereafter to join his teammates and to collect his silver medal. Doctors said the injury is nothing more than a bruised neck and that Yellowhorn would travel back to Canada with teammates on Monday.
Watching the hit on TV, I saw Yellowhorn skating quickly towards the boards and get just shoved from behind by Mercier. This was the type of hit that could have easily paralyzed Yellowhorn, and Mercier should receive some suspension of X amount of games (3, 5, 6?) from a future International tournament. If not, than Mercier is getting off almost scot-free with just a 5-minute major. Just because THIS particular tournament is over doesn't mean Mercier should be able to escape from punishment. In this instance, it would be nice to see the IIHF take a page from FIFA's handbook and give Mercier some 'carry-over' penalty.

It wasn't a vicious hit, but it was careless. The STOP campaign certainly doesn't seem to have affected certain players.


In other U-18 Tournament news, EVIL Sweden beat the Czechs to win the Bronze, and the award winners were announced.

Directorate Awards:
Best Goaltender: Ondrej Pavelec (CZE)
Best Defenseman: Luc Bourdon (CAN)
Best Forward: Phil Kessel (USA)

Media All-Star Team:
Goaltender: Ondrej Pavelec (CZE)
Defensemen: Vyacheslav Buravchikov (RUS), Kristopher Letang (CAN)
Forwards: Nicklas Bergfors (SWE), Phil Kessel (USA), Martin Hanzal (CZE)
MVP: Phil Kessel (USA)

Final Standings:
1. United States
2. Canada
3. Sweden
4. Czech Republic
5. Russia
6. Slovakia
7. Finland
8. Germany
9. Switzerland
10. Denmark


Way to go guys!! Let's make it 3-3 with the men's tourney starting April 30th in Austria!

You must have conveniently forgotten the U20 World Championship when Canada won gold on American soil.

Duc Tran
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