Nothing like starting the 2020 IIHF World Juniors off with a bang.
As a tradition, the tournament begins on Boxing Day and Day 1 this year sees two of the top contenders, Canada and the United States, go toe-to-toe in the “Battle of North America.” It should be a no-holds-barred event, as national pride and bragging rights are on the line.
“There’s no putting your foot into the water — you’ve got to go full in,” said American, and Ottawa Senators prospect, Shane Pinto to reporters. “It’s going to be a tough one, but I think we’re ready.”
Canada’s Jacob Bernard-Docker — and fellow Senators prospect — added about the rivalry: “Heated . . . Two countries that don’t like each other playing against each other.”
While everyone expects these teams to go the distance, whether they’ll make it is not set in stone. They are in what’s being dubbed, “The Group of Death” as Group B also includes Russia, potential Cinderella team, Germany, and the host Czech Republic. In the first game of the day, the Czechs upset Russia 4-3.
Coming off a silver medal in 2019, the United States once again is pound-for-pound a favorite and built to dominate from the ground up. Florida Panthers prospect Spencer Knight is getting the start in net and should give the Americans a considerable edge; couple that with the firepower up front and defensive skill on the blue line and Canada will have its work cut out for them.
However, Canada won’t be pulling any punches. In between the pipes may be their weakest link, but the forwards’ corps has some of the biggest snipers in the game with names like Alexis Lafreniere, Quinton Byfield and Raphael Lavoie. They’ll be backed by a veteran group that includes Ty Smith and Jared McIsaac, which is looking for revenge after a disappointing sixth-place finish last year.
Sporting News will have the blow-by-blow for you as the two teams spar in Game 1 of the tournament.
(All times Eastern.)
Canada vs. USA scores, highlights from 2020 World Juniors
3:15 p.m. — Canada takes a penalty. USA will look to tie this one up.
3:13 p.m. — GOAL. USA makes it a one-goal game with 7:14 left on the clock as Toronto Maple Leafs’ prospect Nick Robertson pulls in the puck and fires the wrister. Canada leads 4-3.
3:10 p.m. — PP GOAL. It’s all about the special teams in this one. Alexis Lafreniere dazzles as he cuts to the middle and feeds Barrett Hayton for the easy goal. Canada leads 4-2.
3:07 p.m. — Spencer Stastney takes a penalty. Canada heads to the power play.
3:00 p.m. — USA with a quality chance as Oliver Wahlstrom gets the rebound but it’s Nico Daws who comes up big with the leg save. Quick reminder, Daws is eligible for the 2020 draft.
2:55 p.m. — Back to even strength
2:55 p.m. — Bobby Brink with a good move around the net and pass in front but can’t connect.
2:53 p.m. — Third period starts. USA on the power play and trail by one.
2:41 p.m. — For your viewing pleasure during intermission:
End of second period: Canada 3, USA 2
2:35 p.m. — Yep. The goal is being reviewed . . . and its waved off! USA still trails 3-2 but will start the third on the power play.
2:34 p.m. — PP GOAL. At the buzzer, the United States ties it up! Puck squirts out in front and Shane Pinto buries it as the Canadians lose track of him and the puck. USA celebrates but definitely looks like the period had ended.
2:33 p.m. — With 16 seconds left in the period, Canada’s Kevin Bahl takes a penalty. USA, who needs a goal to tie, is 2-for-2 on the power play.
2:31 p.m. — Off a save, the puck hits a Canadian defender in front and Nico Daws has to make a quick pad save.
2:25 p.m. — Canada back to the power play for the third time in the game. Not a good play as two of Canada’s three goals have come on the power play.
2:20 p.m. — PP GOAL. The tide has turned in the second period. Canada takes a 3-2 lead as Nolan Foote’s shot beats Spencer Knight top shelf. Canada leads 3-2.
2:19 p.m. — Puck deflects out into the slot and Spencer Knight makes the shoulder stop.
2:16 p.m. — Canadians back on the power play. They’re 1-for-2 thus far.
2:09 p.m. — PP GOAL. The Canadian captain Barrett Hayton with an absolute rifle from the right circle ties the game. Game tied 2-2.
2:07 p.m. — Canada heads back to the power play as Shane Pinto gets sent to the sin bin. The Canadians will look to tie this one up and are 0-for-1 with the man advantage in the game.
2:02 p.m. — GOAL. Great play by the Canadians as they push out of their own. In the US end, Akil Thomas off the chip feeds Connor McMichael who buries it. USA leads 2-1.
1:59 p.m. — Joe Veleno gets a Grade A chance but Spencer Knight makes the stop.
1:56 p.m. — Second period underway.
End of first period: USA 2, Canada 0
1:40 p.m. — After 1, it’s USA 2, Canada 0. Canada has to stay out of the box in this one as the Americans netted two power-play goals on two opportunities.
1:37 p.m. — PP GOAL. Trevor Zegras controls the puck in the circle and feeds Kings prospect Arthur Kaliyev for the one-timer into the open net as Nico Daws can’t get across. USA leads 2-0.
1:35 p.m. — Jared McIsaac called for hooking; not a smart play by the world juniors veteran. USA heads back to the power play and is already 1-for-1 on the night.
1:32 p.m. — Canada now leads 7-6 in shots, but USA has blocked a ton of shots too. Corsi For tilting Canada’s way at this point in the contest.
1:23 p.m. — Canada starting to throw the body around. Alexis Lafreniere crushes Mattias Samuelsson hard into the glass.
1:19 p.m. — Canada gets its first shot on net, six minutes and 10 seconds into the game.
1:19 p.m. — Alexis Lafreniere showing off the skills that should make him the No. 1 pick in June.
1:18 p.m. — USA’s Jordan Harris called for high-sticking. Canada heads to the power play.
1:18 p.m. — More than five minutes into the game and Canada still doesn’t have a shot on net.
1:13 p.m. — PP GOAL. Shane Pinto sitting in the high slot with the big deflection off the Zac Jones shot from the point. USA leads 1-0.
1:12 p.m. — Canada’s Barrett Hayton called for tripping. USA heads to the power play.
1:09 p.m. — Game on! Spencer Knight (Panthers) vs. Nico Daws in between the pipes.
12:37 p.m. — Canada hitting the ice for warmups in the red threads.
12:21 p.m. — USA wearing the white threads the 1960 Olympic team wore when they captured the United States’ first-ever gold medal.
12:20 p.m. — Canada’s lineup.
12:00 p.m. — USA announces its lineup.
Hockey Canada's strategy of deflecting serves no one but its disgraced leadership – The Globe and Mail
A while back, I had a job in a movie theatre. The theatre at the foot of an atrium in an open-plan tower. We plebs could look up at the offices and hallways above, where the corporation’s big wigs worked.
The biggest wig in our world would often lean over a balcony and stare down at us, like a gargoyle in pinstripes. If you were caught loafing, a call would be made and you’d hear about it.
One day, there was a commotion from several floors above – a lot of screaming and banging. The biggest wig had been fired. His reaction was to go back to his office and barricade himself inside it.
The banging was security kicking in the door. The screaming was him being dragged to the elevators. It was a different time.
But the lesson therein is timeless. Nobody likes being canned. But people in charge take it particularly hard.
Right now, 2½ months into Hockey Canada’s sex-abuse scandal, we’re at the barricade stage.
In any other country, this would be over now. Through a combination of popular outrage and political panic, the Hockey Canada edifice would have been burned to the ground.
But in this country we continue to believe shame will do the job for us. That the people in charge of this world-class gong show will get the message and slink off home.
But Hockey Canada’s leadership is not operating on Canadian rules. They’re pulling from the American handbook on how to survive a scandal. Shamelessness is a prerequisite.
Their first job was deflecting.
In terms of an absolute defence, the deflecting’s gone about as well as a guy trying to push off bullets by waving his hands around. But it bought time. The men in charge knew they could count on Ottawa to a) quickly promise to take decisive action and b) take absolutely forever to decide what that decisive action looks like.
Deflecting has another virtue – it dilutes outrage. No matter how awful, people can only read about a story for so long without becoming bored. And there’s always a fresh outrage to divert us.
This week, Hockey Canada hired someone to head an investigation into the workings of Hockey Canada. You could’ve written out this person’s CV long before the name was made public – retired judge, history of public service, member of the new Family Compact, etc.
Finding people is not hard. There are a whole bunch of them out there twiddling their thumbs, itching for someone to stick a microphone in front of them.
But after two months of withering pressure, Hockey Canada is just now figuring out who will set up the Slack group to discuss how to begin discussing their problems. Let me guess that if they’d been bleeding cash instead, organizing some sort of working committee would have taken two hours.
But this is how you do it, American-style. Pretend it’s a live broadcast with screen time to fill before commercials – stretch. Continue talking about nothing. Don’t stop speaking. It’s the silence that kills.
While you’re stretching, keep your eye on the horizon. That’s where the sports are. If you can make it to sports, you might be okay. The same people who wanted your head paraded in the town square yesterday might be distracted by a waving flag.
On Tuesday, the world junior hockey championship begins in Edmonton. Over the weekend, there will be a barrage of publicity about the tournament that launched a thousand official denials. We’ll rehash the particulars of this ugly affair and assess where we’re at. This column is part of that.
By Tuesday, the usual outlets will be talking about hockey. How’s Canada’s top line measuring up? Where’s the United States at? Whither the Olympic team?
This is how you erect a modern, media barricade.
Having seen a million of these things go down in recent years, you know you’re not going to talk your way out of your problem.
Bottom-line: You were in positions of authority at a public institution when something abhorrent happened. The integrity of that institution cannot be maintained if you continue to lead it.
This is obvious. But in our rush to definitively nail someone, anyone, we have skidded past the obvious. Now we’re all deep in the weeds, hacking away.
Uncovering the minutiae about who said what to whom at what board meeting may absorb reporters and politicians, but it only serves Hockey Canada’s current leadership.
While we’re Inspector Clouseau-ing this thing, we’re also avoiding the clear end point. The longer we spend doing that, the more likely it is that these fish all get off the hook.
This was the goal all along. Deflect, get to the world juniors, hope that Team Canada wins and that everyone is too exhausted by the end of it to keep taking pops at you. By the time your judge wraps up his report – let me guess ‘Mistakes were made but there is a clear plan forward’ – maybe you’ll have successfully run your gauntlet.
It’s not a plan, as such. As with Hockey Canada’s in-camera board meetings, nobody’s written it down. It’s instinctive process based on observation. In scandals as in sports, the mission is getting through today.
It’s not going to work. That’s also obvious. No matter what the eventual report says, it will reignite outrage.
The names of the players involved in the two alleged assaults will come out, probably during the NHL season. That will reignite outrage.
At any moment, the alleged victims could make fulsome public declarations. That will reignite outrage.
Any way you go, the outrage is going to leak out again. The only way to contain it is to blow this down to the foundations. Eventually, everyone’s going to realize that.
Really, all that’s being decided now is how you want to get to the elevators – walking under your own power, or being dragged there screaming by the rest of Canada.
Rafael Nadal announces he will not be playing at the Canadian Open
Nadal cited that the reason to abandon the Canadian Open was a result of an abundance of caution regarding injury concerns.
“From the vacation days and my subsequent return to training, everything has gone well these weeks. Four days ago, I also started training my serve and yesterday, after training, I had a little discomfort that was still there today.
We have decided not to travel to Montreal and continue with the training sessions without forcing ourselves. I sincerely thank the tournament director, Eugene, and his entire team for the understanding and support they have always shown me, and today was no exception.
I hope to play again in Montreal, a tournament that I love and that I have won five times in front of an audience that has always welcomed me with great affection. I have no choice but to be prudent at this point and think about health,” said the Spaniard.
Last month, Nadal was forced to withdraw from his Wimbledon semifinal against Nick Kyrgios due to an abdominal injury.
Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic has also withdrawn from the Canadian Open as his status as unvaccinated against COVID-19 means he cannot enter the country.
Djokovic is also unlikely to play at the US Open after organizers said they would respect the American government rules over travel for unvaccinated players as the United States (US) requires non-citizens to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter.
“Per the Grand Slam Rule Book, all eligible players are automatically entered into the men’s and women’s singles main draw fields based on ranking 42 days prior to the first Monday of the event.
The US Open does not have a vaccination mandate in place for players, but it will respect the US government’s position regarding travel into the country for unvaccinated non-US citizens,” read a statement from the US Open which is set to take place in New York from the 29th of August to the 11th of September, 2022.
Nevertheless, Novak Djokovic will be joining Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray to play for Team Europe in the Laver Cup.
The event, which pits six European players against six from Team World over three days, will take place in London between 23 and 25 September 2022.
“It’s the only (event) where you play in a team with guys you are normally competing against. To be joining Rafa, Roger and Andy, three of my biggest all-time rivals, it’s going to be a truly unique moment in the history of our sport,” said Djokovic.
Canada beats Sweden to claim gold in Hlinka Gretzky Cup – Sportsnet.ca
RED DEER, Alta. — Canada scored early and often and also stayed out of the penalty box en route to a 4-1 victory over Sweden in the gold-medal final of the Hlinka Gretzky Cup.
Tanner Howe, Ethan Gauthier, Calum Ritchie and Brayden Yager scored for the Canadians, who held period leads of 2-1 and 3-1 at the Peavey Mart Centrium on Saturday. Riley Heidt also chipped in with two assists for the champions.
Hugo Pettersson scored for Sweden, who were outshot 36-26. Each team received eight minutes in penalties.
Canada had beaten Sweden 3-0 on Aug. 3.
“Three weeks ago, we put this roster together and I felt right away this was a tight group,” said head coach Stephane Julien. “It’s not easy when you have this much talent, but everyone accepted their role and I’m so happy for them.”
The win is Canada’s first gold medal since 2018, the last time this tournament was held in Canada.
“I’m so happy for this group,” added Julien. “They haven’t had it easy in their careers the last two years with the pandemic, but now they have this, a gold medal and something they are going to remember for the rest of their career.”
Canada advanced to the final with a 4-1 win over Finland, while Sweden defeated Czechia 6-2. Finland beat Czechia 3-1 in Saturday’s bronze-medal final.
The Hlinka Gretzky Cup will shift to Europe in 2023, returning to Breclav and Piestany, Czechia for the first time since 2021.
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