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Wake With Elias- Jan 5, 2021: Canucks Camp Gets Underway, Canada And USA To Clash For Gold

Nils Hoglander made a pretty big impression on Day 1 of Training Camp at Rogers Arena, and Canada’s 5-0 shutout of Russia sets up a battle for the gold medal against the USA tonight in Edmonton.

Vancouver Canucks Training Camp Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images

There was a lot of talk about Nils Hoglander and Jack Rathbone on Day 1 of the Canucks training camp, but it was this statement from Quinn Hughes that really got me fired up:

Inject that right into my damn veins, brother!

Ahem. Anyway, as mentioned it was a solid first impression from two youngsters that many think could crack this lineup to start the season. Hoglander was turning heads on a line with Bo Horvat and Tanner Pearson.

This is a great point by Drancer. Sure, the lil highlight moments will be great, but Hoglander’s value is going to come in the times that lead to them: skating and checking and setting up scoring opportunities. With team speed becoming more and more of a factor, Hoglander’s going to be another weapon that will give opposing teams fits.

And this is the advantage that Hoglander has over all others trying to crack a spot in the roster. While they’ve been working out at home preparing for camp, Hoglander has been playing in Sweden, and is in mid-season shape. The best example of this was the bag skate, where he was still standing at the end, his teammates all on their hands and knees on the ice.

Jack Rathbone was also given an opportunity to show his stuff with one of the Canucks top players as he was paired with new Canucks Dman Nate Schmidt, and the two looked very good together.

As the identity of this team continues to evolve, the addition of Nate Schmidt to the Canucks is going to alter not just how others perceive this team, but how we perceive them. We got a glimpse of fun hockey last season, and Schmidt appears to be the kind of guy who’s gonna turn things up a notch.

Let’s check in on the Six Million Dollar Meh and see how he’s...

Also, this isn’t a particularly good sign out of the gate, but it’s early still.

Meanwhile in Edmonton last night, the Semi Finals of the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championships saw Canada and the USA advance, setting up an epic showdown that everyone’s been hoping for as the top teams from Groups A and B meet to battle for the gold medal tonight.

Canada advanced with an impressive 5-0 shellacking of the Russians. They got things rolling early, as they have in pretty much every game of the tournament so far, this time a beauty snipe from for Victoria Grizzlies F Alex Newhook that fooled the goal judge, making it 1-0 Canada less than a minute in.

Newhook had missed the game against Slovakia with a wrist injury, and his return definitely fired the guys up. It wasn’t long before they made it 2-0, this time it was Connor McMicheal with his 4th of the tournament.

Winnipeg Jets prospect Cole Perfetti made it 3-0 on this beauty snipe past Yaroslav Askarov and the rout was on.

They’d add a 2nd period goal from Braden Schneider and an empty netter from Dylan Cozens to wrap his 3 point night for the win. The big story though once again was the play of Devon Levi, who has been putting on a performance for the ages in this tournament. He now has as many shutouts as he has goals against in this tournament, and his stat line has improved to a mindblowing 0.53 GAA and .975 save%.

Their opponents will be the USA, who punched their ticket after a thrilling back and forth battle in the 3rd against Finland. The Finns, who advance to the Semis after a last minute GWG over Sweden on Monday scored twice in the last half of the 3rd to tie it, only to have the USA get the winner with just 66 seconds remaining in a heart breaking loss. They’ll meet Russia tonight at 2:30pm PST/5:30pm EST for the bronze medal, while Canada and the USA will face off at 6:30pm PST/9:30pm EST for gold.