Mason McDonald will start Team Canada’s first two World Junior games

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:

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.

  • KiLLKiND

    They’ve already announced a 3rd goalie will be joining the team and playing in the pre-tournament exhibition games, so why is it assumed by the author that Macdonald will automatically be starting the first two games of the tournament.

    None of that has been confirmed or even alluded to in the slightest by management today.

    • Bean-counting cowboy

      Exactly.

      Both Loubardias and Sam Cosantino, excellent CHL resources said it will most likely be Samuel Montembeault from the QMJHL getting called in now and he will have every opportunity to shine in the pre-tournament games and could take the ball and run with it all the way through if he outplays Macdonald.

      Macdonald has to earn it, nothing is given ever, especially when playing for Canada in this tournament…exactly the way it should be.

      • piscera.infada

        Macdonald has to earn it, nothing is given ever, especially when playing for Canada in this tournament…exactly the way it should be

        Uh… have you been following Hockey Canada for the past like… eight hundred years? Everything is given, especially in this tournament, and especially for goaltenders.

        Montembeault (or whoever) will never supplant McDonald as the starter, because Hockey Canada has already decided that Blackwood and McDonald are their guys.

        Just look at Zach Fucale the last two years. He wasn’t even remotely one of the FIVE best options in the QMJHL, to say nothing of the other two leagues. And yet, he was basically named Canada’s starter at birth. And no one questioned it. Ever.

        • KiLLKiND

          This is the most spot on post about how Hockey Canada chooses their goalies. Skill or actaul performance does not come into consideration at all purely draft position.

          While this gives MacDonald help with his development which is nice for Calgary. It is not how team Canada should be chosen and I’m disappointed they didn’t invite more goalies to try out.

    • piscera.infada

      I agree based on numbers. However I still maintain that if we all agree “goalies are voodoo”, I’d much rather have scouts pick one based on their physical traits that project to be successful at the next level than their draft year statistics at lower levels. Again, that’s not to say McDonald was the right pick, but if he’s the one guy with the measurables you’re looking to project, then I’m not sure you can fault them that much.