The World Junior Hockey Championships are as much a part of the holiday season as the turkey or politely fighting over marked down products on Boxing Day for many Canadians. And while those of us who love this tournament look forward to the start of the tournament every Dec 26th, they've thrown us a knuckle puck this year by scheduling the game against the USA today instead of the more traditional (of late) New Years Eve matchup.
Canada's out to defend their gold from last year, and they're utilizing a couple players from our neck of the woods we're pretty familiar with. Obviously we here at Nucks Misconduct are watching Jake Virtanen's performance closely, and Team Canada will be looking to him to be one of the leaders, having been part of last year's winning squad, as was Kamloops-born Joe Hicketts of the Victoria Royals. Virtanen scored twice in Canada's 7-6 win over Sweden Wednesday in their last pre-tournament game. We also get a look at Brock Boeser, who will be suiting up for the Americans. While it's exciting to get a chance to see this kid, let's face it: we don't want him lighting it up until after this game.
Canada will be without G Mackenzie Blackwood for this game and one more as he is serving a suspension he got in the CHL that must be honoured here. That means Mason McDonald, who was in for all 6 goals against Sweden Wednesday will have to be a hell of a lot better against the Americans this morning. There's already been one game played, and it saw the Russians hang on to defeat the Czechs 2-1. And halfway through the 3rd period, Sweden is all over the Swiss, leading 7-2.
So let's all cheer on Canada as they begin their quest for gold, and I would also like to hear how your Christmas was. I hope you all had a great day, I know we did.