It has been said that this is Canada’s tournament to lose this year. The 2013 WJC currently being played in Russia has done nothing to dilute the buzz. Canada handed out a 9-3 thrashing of team Germany earlier today. Canada is bringing one of its best teams ever to the World Juniors, and first round NHL draft picks are all over this team.
The Boston Bruins chose goalie Malcolm Subban in the first round(24th overall) of last year’s NHL Entry Draft. Subban appears to be team Canada’s choice to be the number one netminder. Subban blocked twenty five out of twenty eight shots on goal (a lukewarm .893 save percentage). Subban, who is current second in the OHL league with a .932 save percentage and a 2.17 goals against average was feeling the pressure early to perform. “I felt that I was nervous in the first two periods,” Subban told TSN in a post game interview. “I talked to [Team Canada goalie coach Ron] Tugnutt, I calmed down … It was a matter of stop and set for every shot. The first two periods, I was sliding around too much.”
If Subban was worried, Team Canada was not. According to Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun, it is the intention of Canada to use Subban as the primary(and likely only) crease protector. “Steve Spott says he will ride Subban for entire tournament. Barring injury, unlikely [#2 goalie Jordan]Binnington will get in net.”
Dougie Hamilton also got on the map in the first game for Canada. Hamilton fed a puck to Johnaton Huberdeau for a power-play goal at 4:24 in the second period to further increase Canada’s lead at the time to 4-1. Hamilton, a fellow first round draft pick, (ninth overall, 2011 NHL Entry Draft) has been playing in the OHL for the Niagara Ice Dogs is all but expected to become part of the Bruins roster when (or if) the NHL and the NHLPA can settle the current disaster of the CBA talks which have led to no hockey so far this season.
Canada has some of the best forwards (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as the star example) great defensemen like Hamilton, and solid goaltenders like Subban. I’m an American, and I love my country, but it looks like Canada has all but gotten themselves the gold this year.