OSTRAVA, CZECH REPUBLIC —
Canada eased into last year’s world junior hockey championship.
The host country led its opener against Denmark 3-0 after the first period, 8-0 through two and pumped home six more over the final 20 minutes of a 14-0 romp.
The 2020 curtain-raiser versus a familiar foe should provide a little more drama.
Canada kicks off the under-20 event’s latest instalment Thursday against the United States in a game loaded with skill, speed, familiarity, and perhaps biggest of all, intensity.
“Heated,” Canadian defenceman Jacob Bernard-Docker, a first-round pick of the Ottawa Senators, said of the rivalry. “Two countries that don’t like each other playing against each other.”
Named as Canada’s captain just prior hitting the ice for Wednesday’s practice at Ostrava Arena, Barrett Hayton said watching their predecessors go to battle was part of growing up.
“That’s what you think about when you think of international competition,” said Hayton, who played 14 times with the Arizona Coyotes this season before being loaned to the Canadian setup for the world juniors. “It’ll definitely be an intense game.”
The feeling on the other side is, of course, mutual.
“That rivalry’s one like no other,” said diminutive U.S. sniper Cole Caufield, a Montreal Canadiens’ first-rounder. “It’s country versus country. It’s not just a team versus a team. It’s going to be so special to be a part of it.”
“Neither team likes each other,” added American captain Mattias Samuelsson, a Buffalo Sabres’ prospect and the son of former NHL defenceman Kjell Samuelsson. “It’ll be a good game to start.”
Viewed as the front-runners at the 10-team tournament, Canada and the U.S. sit in a difficult Group B with always-dangerous Russia, the host Czechs and a German program that continues to improve.
Group A, which is being contested in nearby Trinec, includes Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Slovakia and Kazakhstan.
While in years past there would be build-up ahead of the Canada-U.S. showdown — often on New Year’s Eve — this matchup comes a lot sooner and will give one team a huge edge early.
“You’ve got a big test right away,” said Ty Dellandrea, a Dallas Stars’ first-rounder named as one of Canada’s alternate captains along with fellow centre Joe Veleno and defenceman Ty Smith. “It’ll be good for us to bring our game to the highest level right off the start.”
The Americans beat their northern neighbours 2-1 outdoors in a shootout in round-robin play in Orchard Park, N.Y., at the 2018 event in their last meeting at the world juniors — Canada’s only blemish on the way to winning its 17th gold medal at the teenage showcase.
Other recent results saw the U.S. down Canada 5-4 in a shootout to capture the 2017 final in Montreal after also winning 3-1 in Toronto on New Year’s Eve.
“There’s no putting your foot into the water — you’ve got to go full in,” said U.S. centre Shane Pinto, another Ottawa first-round pick. “It’s going to be a tough one, but I think we’re ready.”
One of five returning players from last year’s stunning sixth-place finish in Vancouver and Victoria, Hayton said wearing the ‘C’ for Canada will be special.
“I was just incredibly honoured,” said the 19-year-old centre. “You idolize the guys who play here.”
Canadian head coach Dale Hunter said Hayton’s professional experience played a factor in the decision.
“He’s a leader,” said Hunter, himself a former NHL captain. “On and off the ice he’s a character kid.”
The coach remained coy about Thursday’s starting goalie, but Nico Daws, a netminder with zero international experience prior to this month, is the odds-on favourite to get the nod.
The undrafted netminder was never realistically on Hockey Canada’s radar before a standout start to the season that has him leading the Ontario Hockey League with a 2.06 goals-against average and a .939 save percentage for the Guelph Storm.
“It’s been crazy,” the 19-year-old said of his last four months. “I still haven’t really taken it all in yet. It’s one of those things … I don’t know if I’ll be able to appreciate it as much as I should until I look back.”
Daws tried to pour cold water on talk of his lack experience on this or any similar stage, but the fact remains along with Joel Hofer, the equally untested presumptive No. 2, Canada’s crease remains a massive question mark.
“It’s a big setting. Very intimidating, I guess you could say,” Daws said. “But I’m just there to stop pucks.”
Hayton, Veleno, Smith, star winger Alexis Lafreniere and blue-liner Jared McIsaac were all part of the Canadian team that went home bitterly disappointed from last year’s tournament after falling to Finland in the quarterfinals — a feeling they want no part of here in the Czech Republic.
“I don’t think there are any words needed,” said Hayton, whose team faces Russia in another headline-grabber Friday. “We all have that fire inside of us.”
The Americans, meanwhile, are equally motivated after losing the 2019 gold medal to the Finns with less than 90 seconds to play in regulation.
“Last year was a heartbreaker,” said Samuelsson, one of five returnees. “That feeling that you had, you don’t want it again.”
Both the U.S. and Canada are sick of practising and playing exhibition games.
It’s time for one to pen the rivalry’s latest chapter.
“This is what you drive for,” Hunter said. “They’re a good team, we’re a good team. That’s what’s going to make it a heck of a hockey game.
“You want that adrenaline. You want to be in the action. That’s what it’s all about.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 25, 2019
Canada takes on Slovakia as World Juniors continue on TSN – TSN
Team Canada has had its first taste of summer hockey at the World Junior Championship and will continue the quest for gold tonight against Slovakia.
Watch Canada vs. Slovakia at 6 p.m. ET on TSN4, TSN.ca and the TSN App. TSN’s coverage of Thursday’s games at the tournament begins at 2 p.m. ET with Finland facing Czechia.
Connor Bedard, a top prospect for the 2023 NHL draft, opened the scoring for Canada (1-0-0) and added an assist in a 5-2 win over Latvia (0-0-2) on Wednesday.
Sebastian Cossa got the start in net and made 22 saves for a Canadian squad quickly looking to build chemistry in Edmonton.
Canada’s head coach Dave Cameron said prior to the game he wanted to see “disciplined 200-foot hockey” and that the effort against Latvia was pretty much what he expected.
“It’s early, this is really only our second game, so you knew it was going to come in ebbs and flows,” said Cameron. “I like that we stuck with it and found a way to get that fifth goal which was huge and took a little bit of that pressure off towards the end of the game.”
Canada has reached the podium in four of the past five tournaments, including gold medals in 2018 and 2020. Canada last won gold on home soil in 2015.
Cameron was quick to say that getting prepared to play hockey in August is not an issue.
“Not a chance, it’s what I do,” said Cameron. “I’ve done summer tournaments before … hockey’s hockey.
“It doesn’t matter the environment, the city, the number of people in the stands, anything like that. We’re hockey people and when that puck drops – game on.”
Slovakia (0-0-1), which features another top 2023 draft prospect in centre Dalibor Dvorsky, fell 5-4 to Czechia in their first match of the tournament on Tuesday.
TSN’s Mark Masters reports that Dylan Garand is expected to start against Slovakia.
Riley Kidney and Carson Lambos are projected to be scratches, while Brennan Othmann and Ethan Del Mastro will draw in for Canada.
Tom Brady Steps Aside From The Buccaneers: Details – HotNewHipHop
Tom Brady is one of the best players in the entire NFL, and this season, he is looking to win his eighth Super Bowl title. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are looking good right now, and there is a real sense that they will win the NFC South, once again.
Unfortunately, Brady has had to put a halt to his training camp efforts as he is dealing with a personal matter. According to Ian Rapaport, Brady was not at practice today due to the issue and it seems like he won’t be returning to the field until after the team’s upcoming preseason game against the Tennessee Titans, which is set to take place on August 20th.
Brady is one of the oldest quarterbacks in the history of the league, and it is nothing short of impressive that he is still performing at such a high level. Many pundits believe the Buccaneers are favorites to win it all, yet again, although they will have to prove themselves following a disappointing end to the season in 2022.
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images for The Match
This is a developing story so stay tuned to HNHH for all of the latest news and updates.
Watch Live: Oilers pay tribute to Ben Stelter – Sportsnet.ca
Ben Stelter was an inspiration to many in the sports world and beyond.
Two months before his fifth birthday, Stelter was diagnosed with glioblastoma — a form of brain cancer. After meeting the Edmonton Oilers, he quickly became a motivation for the team during their run to the Western Conference Final.
Stelter died at the age six, his father had announced Wednesday.
The Oilers will speak publicly starting at around 12:30 p.m. ET, and their comments can be seen in their entirety on Sportsnet through the video player atop this page.
Note: This live stream has ended.
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