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2019 World Hockey Championships: Canada vs Finland Open Thread

The 2019 Worlds open with Canada facing a stiff challenge against Finland.

Ice Hockey - Winter Olympics Day 13 Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The 2019 World Hockey Championships are underway starting today in Bratislava and Kosice, Slovakia and Team Canada is jumping right into the fire with a big game against Finland to start off the tournament. The big news for Canada is that they won’t have John Tavares for the tournament after all. Tavares suffered an Oblique injury and has been sent back to Toronto. This is a big blow for Canada’s chances, as they’re going to be going up against some loaded teams from the USA, Russia and Sweden in this tournament.

The Canucks are represented well in this tournament as Troy Stecher is in the lineup for Canada. He’ll be joined by former Canuck Jared McCann, which should make for some interesting takes should he perform well in the event. The team announced their leadership group for this year, and it’s a pretty solid trio:

There’s some decent talent on this team, lots of speed and skill up front. On the back end it’s a little thin, but expect Shea Theodore to play a ton of minutes. In goal, it’s Matt Murray, Carter Hart and Mackenzie Blackwood. Murray will get the start in goal today.

Their opponents are definitely lacking NHL talent, but you’ll want to keep an eye on Kaapo Kakko, as the highly ranked prospect gets a chance to make an impression against NHL talent before the draft next month in Vancouver. And Canada will want to keep an eye on Juhani Tyrvainen. He’s the guy who d-bagged Jacob Markstrom in an exhibition game a few days ago, and has a reputation for cheap hits.

Three other games on the schedule today as the tournament gets underway: The host Slovakians have their hands full with Quinn Hughes, Thatcher Demko and Team USA. Russia takes on Norway, and Markstrom and the Swedes will take on the Czech Republic. Tomorrow is a day off for Canada, but they’re back at it on Sunday with a game against Great Britain (yes, you read that right). The Brits open the tournament Saturday against Germany.