Ask and you shall receive, unless you are an NHL fan. Don’t pout yet hockey fans thanks to the wonderful time that is the World Junior Championship. A time, when the entire nation will hold its breath to watch a bunch of teenagers try and accomplish their Junior Hockey goal. As beautiful as this sounds it has not been enjoyable watching the red maple leaf on the ice every boxing day. The team has been unable to capture a gold medal in quite some time. There is three reasons why and let’s see if the 2013 class of team Canada can overcome these obstacles.
1) Many of Team Canada’s stars are playing in the NHL.
Well for once Canadians can be happy about the NHL lockout. Unlike in past years when the likes of Duchene, Stamkos, Hall, Seguin, Tavares, were stuck wallowing in the NHL and making a lot of money (sorry as you can tell I’m a little cynical of the NHL and its Players) this year the WJ team is able to get an NHLer back in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. I understand that this isn’t a stampede of superstars coming back from the big time to save the little World Junior team, but I must admit having Nugent-Hopkins back on the team will serve the Maple Leaf well in the tournament. This year’s installment of the World Juniors takes place overseas, meaning bigger ice surface, less contact, and more room for his play making abilities. The addition of Nugent-Hopkins to an already skill packed Team Canada, with a lethal offence can only give this team Canada an upper hand on the previous losing additions. Nuge is better than No Nuge, so Team Canada is looking like their prospects for winning this year have slightly risen.
2) Shaky defensive showing in the finals.
Now I know I can’t have a definitive answer on the outcome of this year’s team, but the team Canada defence core of the last two previous years went almost an entire tournament without seeming to have many holes in it. But when the hull of that ship broke, oh man did it ever have a lot of holes in it. No one can forget the sad implosion of Ryan Murray having 3 pucks go off him and in the net. Or only having Dougie Hamilton to rush the puck out of the zone when Team Canada was caught in their end by the Russians. This year’s group isn’t final yet but I am figuring the top 4 will be Morgan Reilly, Griffin Reinhart, Matt Dumba, and Ryan Murphy. These top 4 exude a lot of confidence, offensive prowess, and a very good physical game. It remains to be seen if they can be defensively sound when the going gets tough and to be honest every year Canada’s defence sounds stellar so this issue remains up in the air.
3) Goaltending Inconsistency.
Since Carey Price, Canada has not had one goalie play the entire tournament and be the undisputed #1 goalie. Since Tokarski Canada has not had a winning goalie and to be honest I couldn’t believe he could do it either. This inconsistency in net I believe will be solved this year with Malcolm Subban. He is the goalie of the future for the Boston Bruins and he is definitely the goalie of the present for Team Canada. Subban has the ability to carry a team on his back and I don’t feel that he will be the weakest link on this team. Hopefully with the emergence of Subban this team Canada will have the consistency in between the pipes to have their anthem be the last one heard in Russia this year.
Good Luck Boys…
I haven’t spoken on the NHL Lockout and to be honest I haven’t wanted to because it frustrates me to no end. So my OH REALLY!!! Goes to the fans of Toronto who would rather have the season cancelled to grab Nathan McKinnon, than watch hockey. GROW UP; this is why the world of hockey sees Maple Leaf fans as ignorant. There is more to life than just the Maple Leafs and personally as a leaf fan I would rather watch hockey. Leaf fans have this uncanny ability to side with consensus. First it was Tank Nation, Then Fail for Nail, and now Lockout Continuin for McKinnon. You know leaf fans he might not be that good and the leafs might not even get the first pick. Also these farfetched rumours come out stating the leafs will sign every free agent in the world next year if there is a lockout is one I’ve heard all too much. Maybe just maybe Leaf fans, Getzlaf and Perry might not want to come here. I would rather watch hockey than take my chances on a bunch of what ifs. Take pride in your team Toronto and start wishing they succeed instead of constantly wanting a fix to fall in your laps.