While forwards and defencemen will have to battle for spots on Team Canada’s 2016 World Juniors team, the goaltenders were set from the beginning. Calgary Flames prospect Mason McDonald and New Jersey Devils prospect Mackenize Blackwood were the only two goalies slated to come along.
But while McDonald has been behaving himself, Blackwood has not – and it’s going to cost him two World Juniors games.
In a game against the Sudbury Wolves on Friday, Dec. 4, Blackwood delivered a very obvious, rather vicious-looking slash to an opposing player:
— Robert Söderlind (@HockeyWebCast) December 5, 2015
He received a match penalty for the play, which carries an automatic suspension. The OHL has handed down an eight game suspension to Blackwood, which will carry over to the World Juniors: meaning Blackwood will not be permitted to be on Team Canada’s roster for their first two games.
Team Canada will bring in a third goalie to backup McDonald, but it’ll be his net to start with.
Canada’s first two games are on Dec. 26 against Team USA, and Dec. 28 against Team Denmark. The other two round robin games are against Switzerland and Sweden, after which the playoffs begin, and Canada likely goes with just one goalie.
So basically, McDonald gets a head start with an early two-game audition, and it’ll be up to him to make the most of it – and maybe cement himself as Team Canada’s starter for the tournament.