Tuesday, December 06, 2005


WJC: Young Canadians looking up at the favoured Americans

The World Junior Championships are fast approaching and since the tournament is in Vancouver this year, I have 300 times more reasons to get excited (Yes, I came up with the number using the same scientific numbers that major media outlets use in their Power Rankings)

One reason that Canadians should be nervous is that our team is young (Only Cam Barker is a returnee), and has no Vancouver Giants!!!

Yes, Gilbert Brule is injured and Marc Fistric (Dallas Stars 1st rounder) was left off of the squad entirely? What a crock!!

From Bob MacKenzie, TSN's Insider

This year's edition of Team Canada will be relatively young, with more than half of the team likely to be comprised of 18-year-olds, those born in 1987 or later, as opposed to 19 year olds, those born in 1986 and in their final year of junior eligibility.

Perhaps no national junior team in recent memory has such wide-open competition for positions as this year's squad. Head coach Brent Sutter will be using the final evaluation camp, which begins a week today in Vancouver, to decide which two goalies, seven defencemen and 13 forwards give Canada the best chance to upset the pre-tourney favourite from the United States, as well as perennial contenders from Russia and Finland, amongst others.

I am also nervous at the very thought of Devan "5 Hole" Dubnyk getting any playing time in goal for Team Canada. Carey Price of the Tri-City Americans (Whom the Canadiens stupidly picked over Gilbert Brule) would be my #1 selection, but he doesn't instill the same "I'm 100 times better than you!" attitude that past Team Canada goalies have.

MacKenzie also risked a hanging by declaring the obvious fact that Team USA is favoured to kick Canada and everyone else to the curb.

Here's something that has never been said leading up to any World Junior Hockey Championship - the Americans are the favourites to win the gold medal.

Heavy favourites.

Up front, Team USA is blessed with incredible offensive firepower and marquee talent. There is sensational Phil Kessel, the University of Minnesota freshman who is likely to go No. 1 overall in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, Edmonton Oilers first rounder Rob Schremp of the London Knights, Anaheim first rounder Bobby Ryan of the Owen Sound Attack as well as a host of other first-round thoroughbreds like Chicago's Jack Skille, Phoenix's Blake Wheeler, St. Louis pick T.J. Oshie and Everett Silvertip Peter Mueller, who is a potential top five pick in this year's draft.

Well, we knew last year that Team USA was shaping up to be the favourites and Team Canada would be young and have a tougher road. Canada, however, is Canada and we'll always have strong teams. Team USA apparently has some infighting (so very American, mind you), Sweden is as useless as ever, Slovakia and Czechia are going to ice some of their weakest teams in years, so it should be a good 4-team race between Canada, USA, Finland, and Russia.

Was wondering if there is still any controversy with Jonathan Toews possibly making the team. I am a huge nd fighting sioux fan and I know last year they wanted to ban any canadian player who played college hockey in the states. I hope he makes the team, he has held his own as a young, young freshman in a good league.

Watched most of last year's wj in gf. I don't think Canada will ever produce another team like that. I hope the americans can play half as good. I think that would be enough to win.
I had never heard of any rule prohibiting using players from the NCAA for Team Canada. Many of Team Canada's good players in past tournaments have been playing in the NCAA. It would be foolish to exclude them for that reason alone. Was this just some guys ramblings or Hockey Canada making a proposal?

and Team Canada was just insane last year...we can't ever expect that again, and I really didn't expect them to have it so easy last year.
The Czechs are sending a weak team? Ladislav Smid, and Michael Frolik are hardly weak.

Slovakia is putting together a decent team also. Mikus, Zagrapan, Lascek, Kubus , Valabik, and Sekera. Certainly not their weakest team in years.

These things are difficult to predict anyhow. Nobody thought much of the 1999 team Slovakia, but Nagy, Gaborik, Lasak won a bronze medal.
Yes, the Czechs have Smid ml. and Frolik but the depth is lacking and this is a far weaker looking team that past entries.

As for Slovakia, their team last year was one of their better ones in awhile and they didn't end up doing so well thanks to the round robin tiebreaking rules (grr). In 1999, that team, as all Slovak teams, didn't look strong to the CANADIAN media...but those who follow Slovak hockey knew that the team was quite talented and certainly head and shoulders above many other Slovak teams in past and future years.
You're going to rag on Dubnyk but praise Fistric, perhaps one of the worst first-round picks ever? As if Tubby would have had a chance to skate in a high-flying international competition.

I love how Giants players get overrated because they play in front of the Vancouver media.
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