The final day of the 2014 World Junior Hockey Championships will feature the eternal rivals Canada and Russia vie for a medal. But much to the disappointment of the 1000 Canadian hockey fans who crossed the Atlantic to Malmo, Sweden, the teams will be battling for the bronze medal.
The hosts, and tournament favorite, Sweden will play their eternal rival Finland in the gold medal game. It should be heck of a showdown as these two teams truly deserve to be in that game. Finland convincingly defeated Canada 5-1 on Saturday, while Sweden downed the Russians 2-1.
While I have not written about about the 2014 WJC tournament I have been watching all teams with curiosity. It really is my only chance to watch the future of hockey. After all, as the Hockey History Blogger I tend to be busy looking back more than forward. It is a very small sample size but here's a few thoughts:
- Zach Fucale has been nothing short of fantastic.
- A lot of eyes are on Canada's underaged players - 17 year olds Aaron Ekblad and Sam Reinhart and the 16 year old Connor McDavid. Ekblad looks like a stud who will be a NHL defenseman for many years to come. I'm a huge fan of the Reinhart family going back to their dad Paul. Most eyes are on McDavid, who many are saying will be the next Sidney Crosby, if not better. I don't know about that, but don't be surprised that he's not dominating. This is a 19 year old's tournament. There has only been one 16 year old to really do well in this tournament. His name was Wayne Gretzky?
- Bo Horvat underwhelmed me. He showed a good head for the game and good positioning and no doubt will be a NHL player. But he's going to have to keep his feet moving a lot faster at the next level.
- Teuvo Teravainen may be the tournament's best forward. Remember Finland is playing without Aleksandr Barkov and Olli Maatta, both already in the NHL, and the injured Kasperi Kapanen. Kapanen is the son of former NHL standout Sami Kapanen.
- Sweden's goalie Oscar Dansk was brilliant against the Russians.
- This year's tournament has been particularly exciting with strong showings from Germany, Switzerland and Czech Republic and Slovakia. The latter two are strong hockey nations but were not expected to do much in this tournament. It is great to see the entire hockey world getting stronger and stronger.
Enjoy the medal games!