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Canada vs. Slovakia: Live score, highlights, updates from 2020 World Juniors quarterfinal

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A strong end to the year gave Canada the top spot in Group B at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship, and with it a quarterfinal meeting with Slovakia on Thursday.

The Slovaks finished fourth in Group A after posting a 1-3 record in the preliminary round. A 3-1 win over Kazakhstan on Dec. 27 to open the tournament was followed up by three straight losses to Finland, Switzerland and Sweden, respectively.

Slovakia scored eight goals and allowed 22 by the end of the group stage, but its lone victory was enough to cement the group’s final place in the playoff round as the Kazakhs finished without a single point from group play.

On the flip side, the Canadians’ lone blip in the prelims was a 6-0 loss to the Russians on Dec. 28. That lopsided defeat aside, Dale Hunter’s team has been perfect throughout the group stage, rebounding with a 4-1 win over Germany and a 7-2 demolition of host nation Czech Republic on New Year’s Eve to leapfrog into Group B’s top spot.

Canada will be the strong favourite in Thursday’s quarterfinal, but Hunter will surely have his group aware that it cannot afford to play too loose with a potential semifinal happening just two days later.

Sporting News has all the action from Thursday’s quarterfinal match-up.

Canada vs. Slovakia: Live score, highlights, updates from 2020 World Juniors quarterfinal

Third period

11:11 a.m. — ? GOAL ? The Slovaks are on the board! A rocket from Oliver Okuliar goes top shelf and the shutout is broken.

 

11:10 a.m. — Both teams are back to full strength as nothing of note happened during the two minutes of 4-on-4.

11:05 a.m. — Canada’s Foudy heads to the sin bin along with a Slovak player 3:45 into the final frame. It’s 4-on-4 for the time being.

11:01 a.m. — ? GOAL ? Hayton continues his torrid power play form with another goal on the man advantage (his fourth PP marker of the tournament). It’s 6-0 Canada and the Slovaks make a goalie change.

 

11:00 a.m. — The third period is underway with Canada resuming its power play.

Second period: Canada 5, Slovakia 0

10:43 a.m. — The horn sounds to end the period. That was as dominant a 20 minutes as Canada’s had in this tournament.

10:42 a.m. — Another Slovak penalty coming up as Marek Minárik is called for hooking. There’s only six seconds left in the period.

10:39 a.m. — Canada kills off the penalty and we’re back to 5-on-5 hockey.

10:37 a.m. — It’s been a really lopsided period.

 

10:35 a.m. — Slovakia goes on the PP now as Jared McIsaac sits for slashing.

10:32 a.m. — Canada is camped out in the offensive zone now. It almost seems like a training drill as both teams seem to have accepted the inevitable already.

10:24 a.m. — ? GOAL ? Lafreniere gets a goal of his own now after he shoots through a crowd to score on the PP. It’s 5-0 now and to answer my own question from earlier the floodgates are, indeed, open.

 

10:23 a.m. — Joe Veleno thinks he’s scored seconds into the power play but the refs wave it off immediately.

10:22 a.m. — Slovakia will need to kill off another penalty as Maxim Čajkovič goes to the box for hooking. Everything’s coming undone for the Slovaks now.

10:20 a.m. — ? GOAL ? It’s an even-strength goal as Liam Foudy turns on the afterburners to break free and pots Canada’s fourth of the game.

 

10:19 a.m. — Slovakia kills it off. That was an effective penalty kill as Canada didn’t threaten at all over the two minutes.

10:17 a.m. — Canada goes on the PP after Slovakia gets an interference call. This is the last thing the Slovaks want right now.

10:11 a.m. — ? GOAL ? It’s a pretty one by Jacob Bernard-Docker from the right side and Canada’s up 3-0 early in the second period. Are the floodgates officially open?

 

10:07 a.m. — ? GOAL ? Defence to offence. Connor McMichael rips one past the Slovak goalie after a good play in the Canadian zone by Joe Veleno to regain the puck. 2-0.

 

10:05 a.m. — And we’re back for the middle frame.

First period: Canada 1, Slovakia 0

9:44 a.m. — The horn sounds to end the period. Canada leads 1-0 after a good, but not great, opening 20 minutes of play.

9:41 a.m. — Three shots by no goal for Canada on that power play.

9:37 a.m. — Penalty coming up to Slovakia after Lafrieniere is upended by Boris Česánek. Slovakia had a good 3-on-2 chance at the other end of the ice just seconds previous.

9:31 a.m. — Canada has had to shuffle the lines up without Foote avaialable.

 

9:28 a.m. — The ice is now completely tilted toward the Slovak zone now as the Canadians are full of jump following the opening goal.

9:23 a.m. — ? GOAL ? Canada takes a 1-0 lead from a Barrett Hayton one-timer. Lafreniere gets an assist upon his return to the lineup.

 

9:22 a.m. — The Canadian energy is bordering on reckless so far. Dale Hunter will want to get control of it quickly.

 

9:20 a.m. — Canada kills off the penalty with little trouble except for one good chance for Slovakia.

 

9:13 a.m. — Nolan Foote crushes Kristián Kováčik with a check 43 seconds in. After a few minutes of deliberation by the refs and some medical attention for the downed player, Foote is tossed and the Slovaks have a five-minute power play.

 

9:09 a.m. — And we’re underway!

Pre-game

8:55 a.m. — Russia takes down Switzerland 3-1 in the first quarterfinal of the day. Canada is on that side of the bracket, but teams will be reseeded ahead of the semis so if the Canadians do the job against the Slovaks they may not have to face the Russians.

8:30 a.m. — Here’s how Canada will line up. Yes, Alexis Lafreniere is back!

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FTB: Kyle Dubas moves on to Travis Dermott – Pension Plan Puppets

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Kyle Dubas cleared out his calendar today by signing Ilya Mikheyev to a new two-year contract last night. Mikheyev requested salary arbitration with the Maple Leafs to settle his contract, and the hearing was scheduled for today, but the two sides managed to come together and strike a deal last night before the arbiter got involved.

Mikheyev was in an unusual position with only one season of NHL experience, much of that a write-off from a major injury, but he is 26 years-old and has five prior years of professional playing history in the KHL before the Leafs signed him and brought him over to Canada in 2019. That KHL experience was ineligible for discussion in the arbitration, so the arbiter would have had a tough job to make a proper comparison to his peer players, but none of that matters now. He’s signe with the Leafs for another two years.

I do have to say, I am quite happy with Mikheyev back. What price can you possibly put on scoring against the Habs only 30 seconds into a game?

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Dubas will now turn to the remaining two restricted free agents left that need new contracts; defenceman Travis Dermott, and winger prospect Joey Anderson who was acquired from the Devils as a oart of the return for Andreas Johnsson. I wouldn’t be surprised if one or both contracts are announced today. Dubas doesn’t have much room under the salary cap left so these contracts are essentially fait accompli.


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The complete Maple Leafs prospect rankings, autumn 2020 edition – The Athletic

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With the NHL draft and free agency (mostly) finished, the Maple Leafs prospect pool looks far different than it did even a few months ago.

A once thin pool now has another key piece acquired through trade and 12 new players added through this year’s draft. The theme that ran through the draft for the Leafs has all but become the identity for their prospect pool: tons of skill, not a lot of size and an emphasis on European players who are already playing their 2020-21 seasons.

But where do all these new prospects stand within the organization?

Like Leafs prospect ranking OG Scott Wheeler and his previous lists, I’ve included players aged 22 or younger right now.

But I’ve broken from Wheeler’s tradition to not only include players who are signed to NHL contracts or whose rights have not expired, but also players on AHL contracts. I’m doing so because of what I’m calling The Rubins Rule™: in 2018-19, Kristians…

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Mirtle: Ilya Mikheyev is signed. What that means for the Maple Leafs and the cap – The Athletic

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That picture at the top of this story is interesting.

That’s Ilya Mikheyev sitting between Alexander Burkov and Alexander Krylov a few weeks ago at a KHL game in Balashikha Arena. Burkov is the governor of Omsk region, a heavy hitter in Mikheyev’s hometown. And Krylov is the owner of Avangard Omsk, Mikheyev’s former KHL team, where he was a superstar until the Leafs signed him away last spring.

The pressure on Mikheyev to go back home, to star for his former team again, was immense. The team wanted him, and it lobbied for that over the past little while. The pay would have been substantial — likely several times the two-year, $1.645 million a season deal he signed with the Maple Leafs on Tuesday night, avoiding arbitration.

That, more than anything, speaks to Mikheyev’s mindset here.

It explains why he filed for arbitration, even though doing so meant locking in at a relatively low salary for two more years.

It…

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