Sunday, 25 December 2011

WJC Tournament Rundown - Heavyweights

Seriously. There are more minutes to a game than the last one.

The Good
They're made of Canadian juniors. 
Seriously, this is the team to beat AT ALL TIMES. You don't want to play them, because they've always got a home crowd, they're the biggest, they're arguably the best trained, and most often the most skilled.

Otherwise, they have a strong forward corps loaded with talent, such as Mark Scheifele and Ryan Strome. Plus, they have returnees from the last World Juniors, which is almost always good.

The Bad
Except the returnee in goal. Look, I know that M. Visentin stole the reigns from Olivier Roy last time around in the WJC. But honestly, after the meltdown against Sweden and that low-profile bust during the finals, I don't know about this kid. It's not going to get any easier in front of a rabid Edmonton/Calgary crowd.

Our defence doesn't look as solid as it once did, and we don't have any real draft-pedigree stars, excluding Ryan Murray.

All in all, the bad is that we're not absolutely certain that Canada will crush anything and everything it touches.

Tyler Bunz is an excellent young goalten... Well, that's just ridiculous.


Jack Campbell - USA finally found the anti-aging serum

The Good
Likely the most threatening veteran squad in the whole WJC. Seven returning players bring a wealth of experience to this team, including the aforementioned Jack Campbell, who the majority of Canada remembers as that guy who stole gold from Canada in 2010. Crazy good.

They might also be the strongest team defensively. Look at Jarred Tinordi. Man-hulk, really.

The Bad
Really, this is a solid team up front with the likes of Emerson Etem and Nick Bjugstad. As noted, defensively sound. And their goaltending, well, has been proven excellent.

But are they the best at anything? Jack of all trades, yet masters of none?

Yes. Once again, nothing worth noting.

I simply can't Nail his name down.

The Good
They've got two guys who could very well go No. 1 and 2 at this year's draft, Nail Yakupov (as seen in his glory above) and Mikhail Grigorenko.

They've got the scariest (by miles) forwarding corps in the whole darn tournament. That, in itself, is exceptionality in itself.

The Bad
This team is a total departure from last year's gold medal winning squad, that, say what you want about Canada/Visentin gifting them the medal, was incredibly solid in all three zones.

This is the team to beat up front, but defensively? Its offense's shine hides their flaws, quite plainly.

Hah no. The way we are playing, though, Nail Yakupov and Mikhail Grigorenko.

Sweden has never been regarded as the same since 2000,
where they brashly signed up their best player in two spots.

The Good
They're, uh, beefy.

Seriously. Watch Canada-Sweden highlights - these guys are monstrously good on the puck and off of it. To physically own Canada is quite exceptional, and if they can bully other teams around, then they have a very good shot at the tournament.

Plus, they were solid enough to beat Canada.

The Bad
It's not "the" year for Sweden. Sweden's chock full of talent every year. 

It's simply not the level of talent iced by USA, Canada and Russia this year. Sorry, Sweden. Solid all around, but unlike the US, no special standouts.

OSCAR KLEFBOM - Yes, we finally got one to support. The kid, taken 19th overall last year as part of the Penner *snicker* trade, he's going to be a stalwart defender on the blue-line for the Swedes, and hopefully the Oilers soon.

Favorite of the Favorites?

USA, followed closely by Canada, then Russia, and finally Sweden.

All four teams are leagues beyond their counterparts, with the noted exception of Finland, but the USA, solid at every position, gets the nod over the always dangerous Canadians (*sniff*), explosive Russians, and physical Swedes.

I'm cheering for Canada, no matter what.

Posts coming tomorrow about the darkhorses, Finland, Czech Republic, and Slovakia. Fine - I guess Switzerland too.

The day after contains posts on the also-rans, poor Latvia and Denmark. They did what they could.

Who are you cheering for?!

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