Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope your celebration is going well and that you made enough Nice Lists to get everything your heart desired this holiday season! Thanks to my local government’s mandate of no gatherings, I am not celebrating Christmas with family or friends as I want, but I’ll take a healthy country over my own personal wants on this day. That being said, it’s time for an annual tradition to get underway as the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship begins today! I’m going to live-blog the early game today between Switzerland and Slovakia to get me into this tournament, so feel free to follow along as I break down this game in my own peculiar way!
We kick the tournament in Edmonton off with a Group A battle between Switzerland and Slovakia, and TSN has predicted that both teams will make the medal round but neither will bring home a medal. This first game will be important for both teams in terms of their standing in the group play, so let’s get this live blog rolling!
- TSN’s James Duthie welcomes everyone to Edmonton, Bob McKenzie runs down a few key points about the tournament, and TSN’s broadcast schedule is shown.
- TSN reports that Germany will skate just 14 players – nine forwards and five defenders – in their game against Finland. If Germany is within a goal by the time the third period starts, the IIHF should give them a point in the standings for just keeping it close.
- James Duthie drops a late Christmas gift for everyone by informing us that Dennis Beyak gets the call in the first two games. For the life of me, I cannot understand why TSN isn’t using Dustin Neilson or someone else in Edmonton to call these games. Anyone but Beyak. I don’t need this on an already-weird Christmas.
- Before you jump all over me, yes, I know Beyak is the B-Team guy for TSN. My question is why. Always will be. He’s not good at his job.
- The annual check-in with Wayne Gretzky is happening.
- I can honestly say, having gotten to know him a little, Wayne Babych is an absolute beauty.
- While I think Canada will miss Kirby Dach in its lineup at times, using the Germany-Slovakia-Switzerland games to really refine the lines for chemistry will benefit Canada greatly. Spreading the scoring amongst the lineup will prove beneficial for Team Canada.
- TSN confirms Devon Levi will start in net for Canada. No problem with that choice.
- I have wanted referees mic’ed up in Canada West for a while. I think we’d learn so much more about the interactions among the players, coaches, and officials with that. Maybe we’ll see if this is something we can add in the future on Bisons hockey broadcasts.
- TSN has already ruined this broadcast with yet another song by The Reklaws. It’s time to find a band to hitch your country music wagons to, TSN. Enough already.
- Samuel Hlavaj will start for Slovakia today, and it’s his third World Junior Championship competition. Hlavaj is very good, but he’s going to need help today. If his defence can handle the Swiss attackers, Slovakia has the ability to win this game.
- Thibault Fatton gets the start for the Swiss. Fatton is playing with the U20 Lugano squad in Switzerland where he’s 9-3-0 in 15 appearances for the club. He’ll need to be sharp against some of these Slovakian shooters.
- It should be noted that Carter Sandlak, one of the referees in today’s game, is the son of former Vancouver Canucks forward Jim Sandlak who played for Canada at the World Junior Championship!
- Two minutes in, and it seems the Swiss an Slovaks are going to focus on the defensive side of the coin early as they look to establish their repsective game plans.
More to come!