Last night saw the first two of the final four preliminary stage games of the World Cup of Hockey take place. Most of us wondered how the tournament could possibly get any better after Team USA's unceremonious exit from the competition the day before. Little did we know, Team North America and Team Sweden were about to have a real humdinger of a contest. Let's check out the stories from around the league, starting with that game:
- Team North America 4-3 Team Sweden. Not a scoreline that in itself makes you reach for the mouse and head on over to NHL.com. But it should. This was a high intensity, highly-skilled battle where both teams showed their talent; Team North America ultimately winning thanks to one of the most outrageous pieces of skill I've ever seen in international hockey - Nathan MacKinnon pulling Henrik Lundqvist round like a rag doll before putting the puck past him for the OT winner. Seriously, if you didn't see the game, read this recap and make sure you watch the highlights. It was a treat for the eyes. [WCoH]
- Some Twitter reaction to the game. It really was something else. [Sportsnet]
- Team Canada coasted past Team Europe, 4-1, with a 3pt performance from Captain Serious. Canada will meet either Team North America or Team Russia in the semi-final - if Russia beat Finland tonight, they go through via the head-to-head rule (they beat Team NA). Recap of that easy win for Canada is here. [WCoH]
- Who's leading the scoring at the World Cup of Hockey, I hear no-one on Nucks Misconduct asking? Just like pre-season, it's not a great indicator of who's going to do well in the coming season - but there is currently a 5-way tie on 4pts between Jonathan Toews, Sidney Crosby, Matt Duchene, Johnny Gaudreau and Shayne Gostisbehere. [WCoH]
- After Phil Kessel roasted Team USA for not selecting him, Bobby Ryan chipped in:
@dipduncs nah..kill USA hockey with kindness and maybe they'll let me play over 35 adult worlds if I'm not a defensive liability by then.— Bobby Ryan (@b_ryan9) 21 September 2016
- Some Team USA players took exception to Kessel's tweet, with David Backes saying it 'will be remembered'. Two things: first, he only said it because of your monumental failure as a hockey player, so try remembering that first and foremost, and second, you play for the Bruins now. You're going to have the eyes of the league on both you and your goon squad. Say hi to Kelly for Phil. [Sportsnet]
- According to IMac, Willie Desjardins is now in playoffs or bust mode. I tend to agree, although a push close to the playoffs might squeak him another season. [Province]
- I just wanted to point out here that all six Canucks at the World Cup of Hockey have progressed to the semi-finals. That's good, right?
- I missed it yesterday, but Dave Babych is even more of a hero now than he was in his playing days. Read here for the story of how he recently helped an injured 13 year old girl while out walking his dog. What a guy. [CTV]
- If you're into your prospects, NHL.com has a brief piece on some of the USA-born 2017 draft hopefuls. My understanding of the 2017 class is that outside of the top 5/6, there isn't that much talent. Might be a good year to trade a draft pick or two. [NHL]
- Dmitry Orlov signed with the Washington Capitals on a 1 year, $2.57m deal. Not a bad deal from the team's perspective, given they left signing their last crucial RFA until late September. [Washington Post]
Question of the day: Who wins if the semi-final is Canada vs North America?