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Photo Credit: Saga Westin, Courtesy Skelleftea AIK

Flames at 2018 World Juniors: Blowouts galore on Day One

Boxing Day is an odd contrivance, as people elbow their way through brick-and-mortar stores in order to save 20% on a DVD player. That’s why we’re very glad that the annual World Junior Hockey Championship begins every year on Boxing Day, so there’s an excuse to avoid the malls.

The Calgary Flames have several players in the tournament. Most of them played on Boxing Day. Here’s a quick look at how they fared.

Sweden beat Belarus 6-1

Linus Lindstrom did his level best to play like Mikael Backlund. Aside from a lack of offense, he largely succeeded. He was a perfect 11-0 on faceoffs and was on the ice for zero goals by either side while centering the second Swedish forward line. He created chances and played 12 minutes of very dependable hockey, which was likely why he was named Sweden’s Player of the Game despite generating zero points.

Canada beat Finland 4-2

Dillon Dube, Canada’s captain, had a solid if unspectacular game. He was off the scoresheet, but he played 17:46 (more than any other Canadian forward) and was even with three shots. He was on the ice for Canada during all the high leverage situations and his job was to keep Finland off the scoresheet: he succeeded.

Juuso Valimaki, Finland’s captain, was a bit more active in the scoresheet parts of the game. He had a minor penalty (that resulted in the second Canada goal) and a primary assist on Aleksi Heponiemi’s goal later in the first period. He played 18:57, second-least of Finland’s six defenders, and was minus-1 with two shots.

Here’s the deal with Eetu Tuulola; he’s not on the Finnish team for now. Seventh defender Robin Salo has been dealing with an injury, which was why Eemeli Rasanen was skating with the team. Salo was listed on the roster but played zero minutes today, and the Finns still have an extra roster spot – which is presumably for Rasanen or Tuulola. We’ll see what happens there.

USA beat Denmark 9-0

Adam Fox, an alternate captain for the United States, had a strong game. He skated well, made smart passes and occasionally jumped into the rush. Granted, they were playing Denmark, who lost by more than a touchdown to the Americans. He played just over 17 minutes, had an assist, and was rock-solid in all three zones.

(Pour out your beverage of choice for Denmark goaltender Kasper Krog, who was hung out to dry over the first two periods.)

  • Burnward

    I remember when we had zero actual young talent in Calgary and prayed far lesser beans would sprout.

    Now we have a legit core under 25 and way better beans in the ground.

    If they don’t panic and mess this up and keep drafting solidly there is no reason this team can’t become a perennial contender in two years time.

    GO FLAMES GO!

      • Burnward

        Meh. Hamonic is great value. Every player needs an adjustment period and was actually playing well prior to going down.

        Remember our lovable Elf Dougie and how crap he was until about the All-Star break in year one?

        Hamonic looks like Norris compared to how he was playing.

  • Grayone

    Enjoyed watching bits of both games. My pick would be Fox over Valimaki … but what a difference in opponents thus the table was tilted highly in Fox’s favour. As Captain, Valimaki should not have lost his temper that led to his penalty. In hingsight, 2-0 at that point was huge compare to being down a single goal, no matter if he setup the Finns first goal. Thought Valimaki’s play improved noticeably as the first period rolled along. AND goaltending … sheesh, first time in recent memory the Finns seem to have a very average goaltending! I was very unimpressed …. Carter Hart looks like the real deal … so technically sound!!

    Fox was so smooth and there were many other passes that could’ve been selected to show his first-pass excellence! Let us see how he plays against the ‘big’ squads. I was surprised he wasn’t on the first power-play unit for the Yanks. I was left wondering at the depth of prospects on our future defence! If Ras and Fox look to be making the team next year, does that make Stone and someone else good trade bait if we are out of the running coming trade deadline?

    A quick Flame’s note: pathetic performance vs Habs! Wishing now we had Gallant over Gully.

    Happy New Year everyone!

    • Roger the Shrubber

      I don’t think Fox will turn pro next season. He’ll likely complete his senior season (source is my own opinion).

      Who wouldn’t want to graduate from Harvard if given the opportunity? I know he wouldn’t graduate after his season was complete, but he’d be close enough to take classes in the summer and graduate. He’d be foolish to do otherwise as nothing’s guaranteed in sports.

  • Roger the Shrubber

    I hope Lindstrom puts on some weight. If he does, he’ll have all the tools to be a great 3C in the NHL. I like the kid a lot and hope he pans out. Same with Ruzicka (not the size part) and Dube.