Thoughts: Sweden can do anything they even without Lunqvist backing them up.
We all warned about North America and they showed that they cannot be underestimated. They went against Finland, a tough first opponent, and they played. They came to play and if you don't take them seriously, get out of their way.
*NOTE: Jacob Markstrom is in goal instead of Henrik Lunqvist (illness) for Sweden.
North America vs. Finland
Today is the debut for the young and restless Team North America. They definitely have their work cut out for them against Team Finland, a tough contender.
There are so many things to watch for, like both the #1 and #2 draft picks facing each other (Matthews and Laine) and also last year's #1 and #2 playing together (McDavid and Eichel).
We also get to watch Stanley Cup hero Matt Murray start in goal vs. Pekka Rinne, one of the best goaltenders in the game. It will definitely be a battle for both because they have proven themselves in the playoffs but you could ask if Murray has proven himself enough. He lacks the experience of Rinne, being on the 23 and under team all, but does age really matter? He did so well against the veteran Sharks and stepped up to the occasion. He can take the heat and so can Rinne, so this will be good.
Will McDavid being the captain of this team be a sign of the near future? We definitely would love to see him become more of his heroic archetype and be named the Captain of Edmonton. If he does well with this team, which has teammate Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, then the Oilers should look into him becoming the main leader. Taylor Hall is gone now, which gives way to McDavid becoming the main heroic leader that Edmonton needs.
Take Aways: Europe is a stunner and Canada is not to be messed with.
We definitely did not expect to see such a strong showing from an entire continent that resembles a hodge podge of good players but they exceeded expectations and took down the Americans. Both teams have talent but Europe shut them out and showed up yesterday.
We already know that Canada is great but watching that team is still fun for hockey fans. Sidney Crosby is a face-if not, THE face-of the league for a reason and it's great to see him play and lead so well. Another fan favourite on Team Canada is Brent Burns and it was great that he scored in the game. He has such a great personality to go with his amazing ability on the ice. He can endure all the many minutes he's logged on the ice.
I know... 6 minutes seems long but it covers everything major that happened (including Bergeron's 1st period buzzer beater at 3:02). If you like 6 goals and great saves, check it out!
This is what happened when a big country faced an entire continent (minus some countries!)
Guess I was completely wrong about the issues with communication... now I feel bad because soon after I remembered that EVERY single NHL team has different cultures. What I am right about though is that Team Europe does not have a national anthem and that could fire them up but they looked good today and clearly do not need a song to get them going.
Absolutely over the moon because hockey is back in September!!! Not only is it hockey but it's World Cup style hockey and we really have not seen this in a long time! This has been an event that was anticipated since its announcement last summer and I am excited to see it begin officially (not pre tournament games)!
Team Europe hopefully has found what works best with them because they have a disadvantage that the other countries (excluding North America) do not have. They are representing an entire continent and they do not have the national pride that the others have. They also may not speak the same languages and they may not be able to communicate effectively (they probably have a common language but it just may not be enough for them to move past the differences.) They do have an advantage of more people backing them up in multiple countries and they have clear talent that would have not been able to participate due to their small country. They also want to provw themselves and beat the other European powerhouses that are in the tournament. Can they win? Eh... Can they beat the U.S. today? Maybe.
USA Hockey is do or die and they have some good players. The goal tending group is solid and so is defence but they do not have fantastic offence. Defence wins championships but in hockey, your defence can get tired really quickly if the offence is not giving support. The goalie cannot do everything either! I think this team is not as bad as past teams but I feel that the offence looks lackluster and their young offensive talent was robbed by Team North America.
Deja vû? I would Czech yes to that one. The Czechs have the similar problem that the U.S. does: great choices for goaltending, but missing key players on offence. The U.S. is not missing a key legend like Jagr, but they have gaps that should have been filled. It really is a shame not to see Jagr play but he must be conserving his energy. The Czechs will have to do a lot of saving to stop the Canadians and even their good goalies cannot save them completely from the dominant team and host country.
Which leads us to Canada! This team is a definite favourite because of the immense depth (offence, defence, goaltending, coaching, fans, etc.) They have everything you would want in a team but one thing to watch out for is if they are too good. And by too good I mean that they have trouble giving smaller roles to players that are used to having a larger role on their team (ex: many NHL centres have to play left/right wing unless they're Crosby-status.) They cannot afford to have egos on this team because it could really mess with the chemistry. I see Canada doing fantastic and I would be very disappointed if they don't.
Lines will be coming soon!
We are Corey Perry days away from the World Cup!! Don't mean to state the obvious but this is our last double digit day!! There's still time to prepare but before we know it, the games will soon come on our television screens.
Make sure to check out Perry (Captain of the 2016 World Champion team!) with Team Canada.
One century of this game and League is a wonderful milestone to celebrate. Let's hope to do this in the next century!