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Team Canada Game Day Preview: Game Two vs Slovakia – Oilers Nation

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Well, Canada’s tournament got off to a bit of an ugly start. Yes, they won their opening game, in an almost historic fashion, but I’ll be honest, it was tough to watch. Germany was playing for the second night in a row and had just 14 skaters due to COVID-19 issues. On the best of nights, they likely wouldn’t have been very competitive but even I didn’t think that this game would go the way that it did. 

Canada’s 16-2 drubbing of Team Germany sparked a debate around sportsmanship. Should Canada have taken their foot off the gas and not racked up 16 goals? The simple answer to that question is no. This isn’t a house league tournament and while Canada should certainly have respect for their opponents, they also need to prioritize winning, getting their goal differential up, and making sure they shake off the rust that comes with only having played a handful of games over the last ten months, which most of their players have.

For me, it’s pretty hard to find something bad to say about Canada’s game. Yes, you could say took too many penalties, including a major penalty from Braden Schnieder, but when a team wins by 14 goals, it’s hard to critique them. It’s also hard to pull specific positives from a game where they dominated the way that they did. Still, there are a few things that stood out to me.

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It seems like every year Canada has a player who comes from the bottom of the lineup and finds a way to make a big impact. In last night’s game, it was Phil Tomasino, who was a healthy scratch in their pre-tournament game against Russia but was added in after Kirby Dach was injured. Tomasino, who finished fourth in scoring last year in the OHL, made an immediate impact in the opener, scoring Canada’s second goal of the game while adding another goal and an assist later on.

The scoring depth of Canada is just incredible and that was certainly on display in the first game. I thought Dawson Mercer, who was the extra skater at points during training camp, was excellent as well. He ended up with four points on the night.

Dylan Cozens was fun to watch as well. He had six points and made finding the back of the net look rather easy.

Confidence should not be an issue as they head into their second game of the tournament tonight against Slovakia and while their opponent tonight will have a full lineup, I don’t think tonight’s game will be very close. It likely won’t result in a 14 goal lead for Canada at any point, but I’m expecting to see them dominate once again tonight.

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THE OPPOSITION

Slovakia opened up their tournament by upsetting the Swiss 1-0. Not a major upset, which is what they’ll be looking to do tonight against Canada, but a win nonetheless. Of course, the star of a 1-0 win is often the goaltender and that was the case on Friday for Slovakia as Simon Latkoczy was very good, making 28 saves.

Offensively, Roman Faith got the lone goal while both Simon Nemec and Michal Mrazic grabbed assists. I suspect that creating offence is going to continue to be a struggle for Slovakia as we move through the tournament. 

Their opening game win will go a long way in making sure they don’t play in the relegation round, but they aren’t much of a threat to do more than just make the medal round.

WHAT I’M EXPECTING

Honestly, I think we’ll see something similar to what we saw yesterday in Canada’s opener against Germany. I really don’t think Slovakia has the ability to keep this game close. Canada just should by at least more than five once again, unless we get a legendary goaltending performance from whoever’s between the pipes for Slovakia.

THE OILERS PROSPECTS

Dylan Holloway didn’t really stand out too much. He almost got a goal early in the first period and ended the game with one assist. Aside from a few moments where he zipped up the ice and showed off his speed, I really didn’t notice him too much.

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Phillip Broberg had an incredible tournament-opening performance in Sweden’s 7-1 dismantling of the Czech Republic. The Oilers first-round pick picked up three assists and was clearly one of the best players in both the offensive and defensive zones. Whether he was carrying the puck around the perimeter of the offensive zone, or breaking up a rush, he was noticeable and impactful. Team Sweden has the day off but Broberg will look to pick up where he left off on Monday when they play Austria.

Canada wasn’t the only team to blow out their opponent on Boxing Day. In fact, every game was a blowout. The Swedes started off the day by winning 7-1 against the Czech Republic, while Team USA took down Austria 11-0. Trevor Zegras had four points and eight shots on goal while Brett Berard, Matthew Boldy, and Alex Turcotte all had three points. Dustin Wolf had to make just ten saves in the shutout.

Today, we should see some closer games. At noon, Finland will look to improve the 2-0 when they face Switzerland. The late-game tonight, which starts at 7:30 pm, will see Team Russia, who’s 1-0-0 on the tournament, face the Czech Republic.

WJC CONTENT IS SPONSORED BY HOCKEY CANADA

The 2021 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship is back in Alberta from December 20th – January 5th, and for the first time ever, the tournament will feature a province-wide online 50/50 raffle in support of the Hockey Alberta Foundation. Albertans will have the chance to win jackpots that are bigger than ever with every game day having a maximum of up to $20 million! Tickets can be purchased online or from your mobile device within Alberta starting at 9am each day at hockeycanada.ca/5050 with the winning ticket being announced daily. The World Juniors tournament and online 50/50 program will give Albertans an opportunity to leave a historic legacy with all proceeds staying in the province and supporting Hockey Alberta Foundation and the Hockey Canada Foundation.

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Nets’ Kyrie Irving fined $50K for violating health and safety protocols – Sportsnet.ca

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NEW YORK — Kyrie Irving‘s absence from the Brooklyn Nets has cost him nearly $1 million.

The NBA fined the point guard $50,000 on Friday for violating its health and safety protocols, and said he could return to team activities Saturday.

The league added that he would forfeit his salary for each game he misses during a five-day quarantine period that would end Saturday if he continues to test negative for the coronavirus. He’s already missed two, which means he has lost more than $900,000 of his $33.5 million salary.

Irving has missed the last five games while away from the Nets for personal reasons. He was seen in a video on social media during his absence at an indoor family party while not wearing a mask.

The league’s protocols prohibit attending indoor social gatherings of 15 or more people or entering bars, lounges, clubs or similar establishments.

Irving is the second player to be fined for that. The other is his new teammate, James Harden.

The Nets have not explained the reasons for Irving’s absence, leaving it to him to do when he returns. Their next game is Saturday against Orlando.

“Without a doubt, the organization’s disappointed with not having any one of our players, in this particular case Kyrie, not amongst us, not in the trenches with us and so forth,” general manager Sean Marks said Thursday during a news conference to discuss the trade for Harden.

“So I don’t want to speculate and say why he’s out and so forth. I’ve had conversations with him and I’ll continue to have conversations and we look forward to him being back in the gym, where he will address this.”

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Charles Barkley, Shaq react to James Harden's trade to the Nets during 'NBA on TNT' – Yahoo Canada Sports

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The Canadian Press

Canadian Mark-Anthony Kaye elected to MLS Players Association executive board

Canadian international Mark-Anthony Kaye has been elected to the Major League Soccer Players Association executive board. The 26-year-old Los Angeles FC midfielder, along with Jalil Anibaba (Nashville SC) and Victor Ulloa (Inter Miami CF), was elected to a three-year term. The executive board serves as the decision- and policy-making body of the Players Association with its members serving as the MLSPA’s chief officers. “The leadership and hard work of our executive board members, both past and present, has made the MLSPA into what it is today,” MLSPA executive director Bob Foose said in a statement. “I want to congratulate our newest board members, and those who are returning, and thank them for their commitment to serving their fellow players and continuing to grow and improve the MLSPA.” Foose thanked departing board members Jeff Larentowicz and Luis Robles. Other current members of the executive board are Scott Caldwell (New England Revolution), Ethan Finlay (Minnesota United), Clint Irwin (Colorado Rapids), Eric Miller (Nashville) and Patrick Mullins (Toronto FC). The MLS and MLSPA are currently at loggerheads over the league’s decision to trigger a “force majeure” clause in the collective bargaining agreement to reopen negotiations on the CBA signed in January 2019. The league has said it lost nearly US$1 billion last season due to the global pandemic. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15. 2021 The Canadian Press

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Laine 'pissed' to miss Gordie Howe hat trick – TSN

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Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine had a productive opening game of the season, scoring the overtime winner as part of a three-point night in Thursday’s 4-3 win over the Calgary Flames.

Laine, however, was not happy to wind up with only a minor penalty for roughing after dropping the gloves with Matthew Tkachuk as part of a skirmish late in the second period.

“I was pissed off because that would have been a Gordie Howe hat trick,” Laine said after the win. “That one time when I drop my gloves, I get a two-minute penalty. So that’s kind of embarrassing.”

Laine went after Noah Hanifin after the Flames defenceman cross-checked Jets forward Kyle Connor behind the Calgary net, with Tkachuk jumping in soon after.

Hanifin received a minor penalty for cross-checking on the play, while Laine and Tkachuk both picked up roughing minors. Laine has never been assessed a fighting major. 

“It gets the team fired up,” Jets forward Nik Ehlers said of Laine’s actions. “I’ve maybe been a little bit in his head in the last week, saying he hasn’t fought yet and when is it going to happen? I think he took that a little personal. He stood up for his teammate. It fires the guys up. Patty’s a big boy, and he went in there today and showed that. It’s exciting, it gets the boys going, it always does. And he got himself buzzing, too. It’s exciting for us.”

The Jets won’t face the Flames again until Feb. 1, when they will play the first of four consecutive games against Calgary – three of which will be on home ice.

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