Friday, December 19, 2008
Canada wins rematch and other random thoughts from TPS
Okay so they weren't facing Sweden's #1 pipeman Jakob Markstrom, but still it was an impressive pre tournament win from Canada over the country they knocked off in overtime for last year's gold medal win. The Canadians came out physical - I'll venture a guess Victor Hedman has never been knocked harder by a 5'9.5" than when Dana Tyrell knocked the top prospect on his butt early in this one - and they peppered Mark Owuya with 43, including 20 in the 2nd period on route to a 4-2 victory. An official scoresheet can be found here.
Canada did a great job of keeping the pressure on the Swedes with a relentless forecheck and were able to escape their own zone easily. The line of Zach Boychuk, and Jordan Eberle centred by Cody Hodgson (a trio Guy predicted would be together before the camp invites were sent out) was especially creative (6 points combined) and as I mentioned to Guy Tuesday on The Pipeline Show, I think they could be Canada's most effective line. Simply put Hodgson and Boychuk had great chemistry at the top prospects game in Edmonton a year ago while Hodgson and Eberle worked great together with the Under 18 last spring. I also think they'll thrive because they won't face the tough match ups that John Tavares and company will. I chuckled when I heard Pierre McGuire (other than Peter Loubardias of Rogers Sportsnet the most enthusiastic national TV broadcaster when it comes to junior hockey) refer to Colton Teubert as "this year's version of the human eraser, taking over from Luke Schenn" as I had predicted to my Global Sports colleagues John Sexmith and Kevin Karius that PM would latch on to the LA Kings 2007 first round draft pick. John Tavares had a wack of jump tonight and I loved how Stephan Della Rovere was on body check hunt all game long. Sweden was an interesting study. They had just arrived in Canada mid week, started their back up tender and might have been playing possum. As for the big man Victor Hedman while the flight from Sweden and the jarring hit from Tyrell may have affected him, he looked poised in his own end breaking up Canadian rushes with ease and jumped into the play, as noted by his 3rd period goal. The TSN crew quoted Peter Forsberg as saying Hedman is the best blueliner to come out of Sweden since Nick Lidstrom. We spoke to the Red Wings all star recently about Hedman, you cna here that conversation here.
It's interesting that Canada took 8 D-men because they were worried about Ryan Ellis' size and age, but Ellis looked okay to me, hopefully this won't be a decision Hockey Canada regrets if a forward goes down like Dana Tyrell in the 2nd period of this game. Of note the TSN crew did mention that Canada can add a player to the roster before December 24th if a player is injured, so Evander Kane, Brayden Schenn and Taylor Hall keep your cell phones on.
Meanwhile the top prospect roster was released recently, the complete list can be found courtesy the WHL here. This game was huge for current world junior member Cody Hodgson last year in Edmonton. Edmonton Oil King Tomas Vincour leads 15 WHL products into the game this year in Oshawa, look for hulking Spokane D-man Jared Cowan (how did he not get invited to Canada's camp?) to make a massive impression in this game. And keep your eye on Carter Ashton of Lethbridge to make his mark in this contest.
(Photos courtesy www.kuklaskorner.com, www.eurohockey.net, www.canada.com)