WJC Game-Day: Canada vs. United States



One of the marquee match-ups of the World Juniors takes place on Sunday night in Ufa, Russia – and the wee hours of Sunday morning in North America – as Team Canada tangles with Team USA!

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Team Canada (2-0-0) is coming off a resounding defeat of Germany and a surprising come-from-behind win over Slovakia. Canada’s systems were a bit fast and loose against Germany (the only goals Germany have scored in the tournament were against Canada) and the discipline problems that emerged during the pre-competition games exploded against Slovakia. Two Canadian forwards were ejected from the game and the club had to battle back from behind.

Against Slovakia.

The Canadians have the firepower to play fast and loose against the Germanys and Slovakias, but their schedule will get really tough from here on out, as they play twice in just over 24 hours against the talented Americans and the very sharp Russians.

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Tale of the Tape

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins leads the tournament in scoring so far, with 7 points over 2 games. He’s trailed by teammates Ryan Strome (5 points) and Mark Scheifele (4 points) for the lead. Canada will be without Boone Jenner and J.C. Lipon, both due to suspension. Both will be back in the line-up against Russia on Monday.

Team USA (1-1-0) is coming off an incredibly entertaining 2-1 loss against Russia on Thursday. The club has failed to really pile on the goals, but they’ve been creating tons of chances. Russian goaltender Andrei Makarov absolutely frustrated the American attackers all game. It’s unclear if they’ll change their game-plan to adapt it to the goaltending style of Malcolm Subban, who’s been criticized by some for his performance, with analysts suggesting that he’s fighting the puck. Either way, Subban has been winning games. On the American side, John Gibson has been very solid in net and gives his team a chance to win.

Alex Galchenyuk (4 points) leads the Americans in scoring, trailed by forward Riley Barber (3 points) and defender Jacob Trouba (2 points).

Flames Connection

Four Calgary Flames prospects will be in uniform for this contest: Canada defenseman Tyler Wotherspoon and American winger John Gaudreau, defenseman Patrick Sieloff and back-up goaltender Jon Gillies. We’ll also see two Jets (Team USA’s Jacob Trouba and Canada’s Mark Scheifele), an Oiler (Canada’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins), a Canadien (USA’s Alex Galchenyuk), and two Leafs (Canada’s Morgan Rielly and USA’s Tyler Biggs). Team USA’s third goalie Garret Sparks won’t dress, but is a Leafs prospect, while Vancouver and Ottawa aren’t represented at all in this game.

The puck drops at 4am ET on TSN, with replays at noon ET and 8pm ET.

  • SmellOfVictory

    Watched whole game and a few things stood out. Johnny G was basically invisible except for a break away which sunbeam stopped. Didn’t come away very impressed. Didn’t hear or see much or seiloff but when on the ice was causing a scrum after the whistle. Gritty for sure. Wotherspoon really impressed me today actually. Got a lot more ice time then the two previous games and was noticeably responsible and decent checking.

    Don’t know where the Americans best players were tho. Galenchiuk (spelling) wasn’t even a factor. Seth jones was only slightly worrisome in offensive zone and had numerous give aways in d zone.

    Gibson was really good even in the loss. Subban had a fantastic game.

  • SmellOfVictory

    canada hangs on for an unimpressive win over the yanks. not at all impressed with johnny hackey. small easily pushed off the puck and relatively invisible in the dirty areas. ryan strome looks like a dandy, all round player in all situations. as for seth jones, doesn’t shine tonight, subban gotta say played very stellar goal in a big game.

  • SmellOfVictory

    I watched entire the game live. Three cheers to night work and insomnia. Here were my thoughts:

    Gaudreau – Certainly slick with the puck, but not a dominant force….That said, he set up a few quality chances…He missed on the breakaway, but at least he got himself open for it. Strome missed on a breakaway, too – it happens…He’s small, but not tiny….Not a great two-way presence, and he may have missed RNH on the 1st goal…all in all, still one of USA’s most dangerous forward on the night/day/whatever the hell time it is.

    Sieloff – didn’t notice him much, which is always good. When i did, he was mucking it up or clearing the puck out of the zone. Nice to see him put on PK duty.

    Weatherspoon – I like this guy. I’ve watched all 3 games, and he’s rock steady. Strong on the body, great first passer, he’s a solid prospect. He’s on the ice at the end of the game and the PK. He strikes me as Wade Redden-esque before he dropped off a cliff.

    Other than that, and on on-flames notes, that RNH sure is calm with the puck, and for what it’s worth, I think Schiefele is a beast. Shanahan-esque?

  • SmellOfVictory

    Watched it live, and I’m glad I did. I come away thinking Jacob Trouba is the best player at this tournament. Winnipeg are looking pretty good for the future with Sheifele being Canada’s best player at the tournament too.

    As for the Flames guys, I don’t see Johnny Gaudreau being an NHLer. I hope he continues to light in up in the NCAA, and he’ll be some good trade bait. He’s definitely got talent and I think he could bring a good return if he does pull off a Hobey Baker.

    Seiloff looked pretty good. He hasn’t had enough ice time to make an impact, but it looks to me like he could easily handle regular ice time. Maybe if the US ever leads a game, he’ll get more.

    And, the best of the group, Wotherspoon is playing great. I’d say behind Harrington, he’s been their best defenseman. He hasn’t done much offensively (great breakaway pass last game notwithstanding) but he has been rock solid defensively. It was hard for me on the US powerplays hoping Gaudreau would get something going ,but cheering for TSpoon to shut them down.

    I still expect Gaudreau to get some points, and for the US to stick around in this tournament, but unless I see a real change in competetiveness, I think I’m off the bandwagon.

    I hope Finland stays in so we can get a better look at Granlund too. I’m hoping his season with HIFK can maybe have something to do with linemates or situation usage. He seems to be doing very well in this tournament, which he really needed to do to keep his hopes alive as a prospect.

    Let’s get a package together to acquire Trouba.

    • SmellOfVictory

      “I’d say behind Harrington, he’s been their best defenseman.”

      Totally agree, though I might make an argument for Xavier Ouellet.

      As for getting Trouba… The Flames really don’t have the pieces to make such a trade.

      I find it very odd that Granlund hasn’t managed a single assist yet. Isn’t he supposed to be a playmaker?

      • SmellOfVictory

        I agree it’s a pipe dream to get Trouba. The Jets wouldn’t let him get away. I think he fits in perfectly there. Just saying, he is the one guy I would pick from this tournament (and this tournament only, so not enough to really know anything) to start my team with.

        I thought Ouellet was just ok. He’s stood out to me a few times, some good, some bad. Hamilton looks to be improving to me. I didn’t like him in the first couple games, but thought he was pretty solid today. The rest of the D-corp has all been decent.

        As for the 2013 class, I like Drouin the best so far from what I’ve seen. The Flames really need to make a deal to get another first rounder, there is a lot of good value in the first round next year I’d say. It seems like there’s 5 or 6 guys who could be legit 1st overalls other years.

        • SmellOfVictory

          You know it’s funny about Drouin, I’ve had a feeling that the Flames would end up drafting him since about September. Completely meaningless of course, but I did have the same feeling about Huberdeau to Florida.

  • SmellOfVictory

    trouba has been a pillar for the usa, as for best in show i don’t know bout dat, do agree the jets future looks bright with scheifele and trouba. very impressed with schif and strome,2 all round multi dimensional 3 zone forwards, harrington,schif and strome canada’s best.

  • SmellOfVictory

    Only managed one period before I had to submit to the sandman, but overall the Americans looked pretty overmatched in the first, which is entirely understandable given the level of ability of the Canadian forwards.

    I spent most of my time focusing on Gaudreau and/or waiting for Gaudreau to get on the ice, and while he certainly didn’t dominate, I thought he did a reasonable job. He looked a little frenetic at times, but for the most part he created scoring chances (or chances at chances, depending how poorly his teammates handled it). On the RNH goal I feel like he put forth an admirable effort; I’m not well-versed in defensive assignments, but if my understanding that it’s the C’s responsibility to defend against each other is accurate, then it was Miller’s fault that RNH was open in the first place. Gaudreau probably could’ve covered for him earlier, but he did come in and ended up being the only guy to attempt to defend RNH. If he was of average height he might’ve even prevented the shot.

    Also, he’s definitely a wee lad. I see what Ryan was alluding to when he said that he’s probably over-listed on the height aspect of things.

    • SmellOfVictory

      Yeah, i actually thought Gaudreau looked okay too. He wasn’t killing it or anything, but he was actually one of the Americans’ better forwards (at least out of the top 6 guys). He was definitely… interesting defensively, but he was actually better outside the offensive end than I expected, and he broke up a few plays, picked off some passes. He certainly could have been better, but he wasn’t as disappointing as, say, Galchenyuk.

      Subban was also great.

  • SmellOfVictory

    I havent watched this mornings game yet, but one thing I noticed in watching the other games is it seems like Guadraeu doesnt have any chemistry with JT Miller. Also everyone keeps saying he is on the top line but I cant help but notice the Galynchuck line getting more icetime and being the first PPunit.

    I noticed Guadraeu look frustrated last game when he made a play and passed off and his linemate shot it into the goalies logo and Guadraeu look skyward.

    Ive liked some of the little plays he has made which indicates his skill but with being so small he needs to have chemistry with his linemates to do well. He cant dominate on his own.

    Housley maybe needs to change something in order to generate more offense from his lines..?

  • SmellOfVictory

    Have to say Trouba looks phenomenal! I haven’t seen Ryan Murray play but I don’t know how guys like Dumba, Reinhart, Pouliet, etc got picked ahead up him this year. Morgan Reilly has also played well and warrants his high draft status.

    I would also agree that Tyler Witherspoon has been pretty impressive along with Ouellet and Harrington. Interesting that second rounds picks have held their own against first round picks. However, on the smaller ice surface, I can see how guys like Reinhart and Hamilton can shine. It’s too hard and early to assess Seiloff because of his limited play.

    I think McKinnon has been completely underutilized. His skating is out of the world. It’s a tough call choosing between Jones and McKinnon. Jones upside is huge despite his so so play so far but he is on the ice alot. But doesn’t look like you can wrong either way.

    • Murray was injured. If he wasn’t, he’d definitely be on the team instead of either Wotherspoon or Reinhart, and playing on the best dpair in the tournament with Scott Harrington.

      @Ryan Pike

      “And Gillies is doing a fantastic job opening the gate for his teammates.”

      lol. Except for those 10 minutes against Germany, he’ll likely be doing that for the whole tourney.

      I’d say Trouba was probably the US’s best skater, but I agree Gaudreau has been a bit unfairly maligned.

      • T&A4Flames

        If Murray were available, they’d have left Murphy off (to avoid confusion ;).

        I watched Murphy in a junior game against Windsor a couple weeks back and I thought he sucked. He had a very good game this morning against Russia though. Now I’m just worried this team is peaking too early. They seem to be firing on all cylinders. Jenner was awesome in his return, all the D played great, the top two lines were solid, goaltending was excellent.

        Keep it up boys!

  • I thought Gaudreau (outside of Gibson) was the USA’s best player today. That said, the US’s lines are not clicking and Housley doesn’t seem to get that line-shuffling is allowed.

    I keep being impressed by Wotherspoon each time I see him play. Calm, cool and collected.

    And Gillies is doing a fantastic job opening the gate for his teammates.

  • T&A4Flames

    Wotherspoon has been very solid and his ice time has been increasing.

    I think Gaudreau is with the wrong line mates. He should be with Galchenyuk. There is no chemistry with he, Grimaldi and Miller. It looked to me like Gaudreau set his teammates up quite a bit but they couldn’t convert.

    What I’ve seen of Sieloff is grittiness but otherwise not noticeable, which isn’t a bad thing.

    I was really hoping to see Gillies in this tourney but Gibson has been great. I didn’t get to see him in the 3rd period against the Gemans.

    Housley really needs to switch things up because his 2 top lines are doing nothing.

  • T&A4Flames

    I think Gaudreau has been the best US forward the last 2 games. He and Grimaldi looked very good vs Russia and really pushed the offensive play. Would like to see Galchenyuk centering those 2. Jones really hurt the US, was way out of position on. The RNH goal and turned the puck over and played phantom defense on the Strome goal. Had a few bad turnovers vs Russia as well.

    Seiloff looked real good in limited minutes. First time I have seen Wortherspoon he is very steady, makes the smart play.

  • T&A4Flames

    Gaudreau has looked pretty good, and I’m thinking will continue to look good. I just have serious doubts he’ll be able to play at the pro level. I like him as trade bait to land a right winger; we’re way too heavy on the left side.

    I also think the US team’s fortunes would improve with a little line juggling. I think they’re the top threat to Canada the rest of the way. If their offense starts to click, look out.