World Junior Hockey Championship - Team Canada - Game 1
Well game one is in the books as the high powered offense of Team Canada proved to be too much for Germany to contend with.
The first game of the tournament is so critical for the players, coaches and also fans. I say that it is critical for everyone because everyone has to be involved for a team to be successful and today in my opinion besides a few bad turnovers that cost the Canadian team I found that the team played very well as a whole. In the preliminary rounds the Canadian teams seemed as if they were constantly struggling to play defense let alone generate a consistent type of offense. Team Canada head coach Brent Sutter today improved his World Junior coaching record today to 13-0. Which is incredible given how little you have to create lines and practice with players who have played certain ways all year that now have to adjust to what coach Sutter wants out of them. Give Sutter credit as well to the players who are willing / able to adjust to whatever Coach Sutter has to throw at them.
Players who really stood out today for Canada were forwards; Anthony Mantha (3 goals), Jonathan Drouin (2 assists, followed by great speed and vision to constantly be able to setup plays). Only one defensemen really stood out for me today and that was Josh Morrissey I say that because he is one of the under rated defensemen Canada has if you will, he doesn't get the credit he deserves but today he was a monster on both sides of the puck which was very good to see. Mantha who was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings this past NHL draft scores tonnes of goals in the Quebec Jr. League and today proved no difference as Mantha became only the 6th player in Canada history to notch 3 goals in one game. Mantha was a bubble player coming into camp as coaches weren't confident about his play on the defensive side of the puck but knew full well that if the puck is on his stick in the offensive zone it can very well end up in the opposing net at any time he chooses. Mantha is a natural goal scorer and as he plays alongside Jonathan Drouin him scoring goals will not be a problem, especially when Drouin is the one feeding him.
Honourable mention and no short of recognition today was under ager forward Connor McDavid. I bring McDavid's name up because this was the first time McDavid will really have the whole world watching him as the World Jr. Hockey tournament has become such a nationalized televised event for hockey fans all over the world. McDavid will be under a microscope if you will with his stint with Team Canada as he is a under ager and has been hyped up so much over the past 2 years fans will be expecting a lot out of him. But in today's game with Team Canada vs. Germany which was McDavid's first game was a successful one at that as he got 2 assists but also made plenty of offensive chances available to his teammates and even himself. McDavid had many chances throughout the game but couldn't find the back of the net but you don't have to score to have a successful game, I was very impressed with McDavid's speed and vision throughout the game even though I have seen him play many times in the Ontario Hockey League today was a great game for him and a positive step for him to knock off the doubters.
Lastly I should point out the two goals that Germany had scored on Jake Paterson were both very bad goals, not on Paterson's behalf but due to one very bad deflection goal and one defensive turnover by defensemen Adam Pelech, Paterson had no chance at all on the German's second goal. Besides that Paterson didn't stand on his head by any means but he did however make the saves that were needed to be made throughout the game as he faced 24 shots and stopped 22 of them in three periods of play.
Let me know what you guys think; Tweet me @Hallett_One9