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Photo Credit: courtesy Calgary Flames/NHL Media

Flames at 2018 World Juniors: USA wins ugly in outdoor game

Another chapter was written in the extensive, and often bitter, hockey history between the United States and Canada at New Era Field in Buffalo, New York on Friday afternoon.

For the first time ever, there was an outdoor game at the World Juniors. For the second time in as many World Junior meetings, Canada blew a lead and lost to the United States in a shootout. This time, it was a snowy mess of a game.

A pair of Calgary Flames prospects were prominently featured throughout this one.

Adam Fox has been a very important player for the United States throughout this tournament. He doesn’t get on the scoresheet a ton, but he plays a lot in every situation. He’s seen his ice time ratchet up in every game thus far: 17:33 against Denmark, 21:17 against Slovakia last night and 26:00 against Canada.

He was on the ice for all three American goals during Friday’s comeback victory and was always the first player out in every situation. Power play? Fox goes out first. Big penalty kill? There’s Fox. Three-on-three overtime? Fox again. While the conditions made for really scrambly, jumpy hockey, once again Fox has shown a knack for calming things down and moving things in the right direction for the USA whenever he’s on the ice.

Dillon Dube also had a strong game for Canada. Just like Fox, Dube has been a huge contributor to his team’s successes despite not hitting the scoresheet in every game. Here, Dube chipped in offensively with a nice power-play goal to make it 2-0 Canada.

Just like Fox, Dube was the first player up for Canada in virtually every situation. When they had one forward they could trot out late in the second period to defend a five-on-three power play for the USA, Dube was that forward. (When the USA scored, it was after Dube had cleared the zone and switched off for teammate Maxime Comtois). He got tons of ice time, playing 22:12 – third on the team and most of all Canadian forwards.

He seemed to get a bit, uh, tenderized late in the third on a collision with Fox behind the American net.

Dube, who has been bothered by a shoulder injury through the recent weeks in the WHL, recovered on the bench and played in overtime. Hopefully he won’t feel any ill-effects of the collision, as Canada has one last game tomorrow against Denmark to close out the round robin.

After four days of the preliminary round, it’s worth repeating: Fox and Dube are really, really good junior-aged players.

        • The GREAT WW

          I think we need to take the emotion out of this; we always say to pick the best player available and trade for need later.

          Clearly Fox was the best player available, now what do we do with him?

          WW

      • class1div1

        I for one speculated, that Fox may not be interested in a system that requires players to spend 200 games in the AHL.Calgary has a coaching staff that took 6 weeks to figure out that Kulak was a better option than Bartkowski.Whotherspoon is a better option than Bartkowski.
        Fox may be that guy who can step right into the league,and I can see him not being interested in Calgarys system of ripening in the A.

        • MontanaMan

          Some players think they’re better than they are and don’t realize the value of a season in the AHL, especially for a defence man. For every first year success story, there’s ten players who were rushed into the bigs and would have benefitted from their first year as a professional in the minors.

          • IUsedToHaveAName

            If I were going to choose which developmental model I prefer for young players I would definitely lean more toward a Detroit model rather than an Edmonton model.

          • Stockton's Finest

            See Spencer Foo…everyone thought he was the next coming, but he has 5 goals and 12 points to date. And if you figure he had a hat trick a few weeks ago, he has 2 goals in 26 games. This season in the A is where he needs to learn the pro game. Just like Janko, he needs a year or two to get ready.

        • Stu Cazz

          I like the points you make. Fox may be ready to step in as early as next season and has been somewhat vocal about this. I also don’t believe it will be with the Flames….

        • Jumping Jack Flash

          Fox wil have a lot of leverage and likely a promise of a legitimate chance to make the Flames…Kulak, Kjillington, or Ras did not have this luxury. There is talk that Fox could play in the Olympics, if this is the case then that would mean he would be done with college hockey and ready for pro. He is playing a similiar role to what McAvoy played last year…these type of players usually by-pass the AHL.

    • Eggs Bennett

      He’s a RH defenseman, which can be a good or bad thing depending on how BT plays his cards. Good In the sense that RHD are among the most valuable commodities in the NHL today and Fox could fetch a pretty penny as a trade chip. Bad in the sense that Fox might realize this and walk away after his college days are done if we retain our log jam at RHD for the next few seasons. The wise move would be to start by trading out pieces like Stone and promoting from within to demonstrate the organization’s willingness to develop. Would be tempting not to move him out now as part of a package for a 1RHS RW though…

        • McRib

          “….I would definitely lean more toward a Detroit model rather than an Edmonton model.”

          It actually been proven by compiling thousands of historical numbers that by 21-22 years old a player is ready for the NHL (if he ever is going to be one). Keeping them longer in the AHL is basically just wasting prime years and a cheap contract cap figure.

          Edmonton sucked because they didn’t have any good veterans to surround the young players with, it had nothing to do with those young players. The Detroit model however that Calgary is clearly following is also extremely flawed though in itself, especially in today speed game where youth is so essential.

          I’ve followed prospects closely now for two decades, more players are ruined every year by being stuck in the minors too long than called up too early. Go see Daniel Tkaczuk, etc. You can absolutely kill players confidence by keeping them in the AHL too long.

      • Chucky

        Right side defensemen are such a valuable commodity that Gulutzan could not wait to move Brodie to the left side, having an elite right defenseman is not valued in Calgary.
        The depth chart is Hamilton (20/21), Hamonic (19/20), Stone (19/20), Andersson (19/20). Fox cannot look at a roster spot until 20/21 not very appealing for a top prospect.

        • This isn’t correct. GG values having a RIGHT HANDED SHOT on the right point. Same with his forwards.This seems to be an organizational philosophy as well BT always talks about this. It’s because they believe (wrongly imo) that it’s easier to make passes between each other if you have a left handed shot on the left and right handed shot on the right so they’re always on their forehand. Brodie is a left handed shot that can play the right side. However, their preference is to have someone who has a right hand shot on the right if they don’t need to use Brodie on the right they’d prefer to have him on the left. That’s why they moved him there.

  • Just.Visiting

    I’d be open to selling high if someone wanted to make a deal that helps us materially (top nine player, high first rounder for 2018, etc.). There is always a risk in how well a younger player turns out, where the risk is compounded in this case because of the real possibility that he would prefer to play in the U.S. NE.

  • Grayone

    Fox and Dube were very impressive … I just love Dube’s remarkable intensity and competitiveness … has a real ‘eye-of-the tiger’ mentality. The Flames could really use that in my opinion. Did Fox make a bad pass or decision? Vision and passing ability that again speaks to the scouting ability of our staff. Just a great pick that I hope the Flames make room for. I am very impressed at the way the Yanks are developing crop and crop of really excellent players!