Buzzing The Net

  • Matt Revel is Kamloops bound. (image credit Steve Hiscock/Blades)

    For the second consecutive year, the Saskatoon Blades have been one of the busiest teams around the WHL's trade deadline. But unlike last year when they were loading up for the MasterCard Memorial Cup, they are now unloading in the first year of their rebuild.

    The Blades' latest deal with the Kamloops Blazers involved a bunch of draft picks and three 17-year-olds. They acquired blueliner Jordan Thomson, forward Mitch Lipon and a 2015 first-round bantam pick for centre Matt Revel, a 2016 third-round bantam pick and a conditional 2014 second-round bantam pick.

    "We're extremely pleased to add some very talented young pieces with this trade," said Blades general manager Lorne Molleken in the release. "Jordan Thomson is a former first-round pick in this league and possesses a very good skillset on the blueline. Mitch Lipon brings skill and energy up front to our team, adding to what we feel is a solid group of 1996-born players on our roster. We're also very happy to add a first-round pick

    Read More »from Saskatoon Blades continue to blow up roster in blockbuster deal with Kamloops Blazers
  • Tambellini, a Ranger pick, left UND for the Hitmen Wednesday. (AP / Bill Kostroun)Tambellini, a Ranger pick, left UND for the Hitmen Wednesday. (AP / Bill Kostroun)

    No. 1 star: Adam Tambellini, Calgary Hitmen (WHL)

    It didn’t take long for University of North Dakota ex-pat Tambellini to get on the score sheet.

    His rights were acquired Tuesday from Portland for a first round bantam pick in 2014, and he arrived in style Wednesday night with is new mates. Tambellini, brother of Jeff and son of Steve, wasted no time, scoring his first WHL goal and adding a trifecta of assists in his Hitmen debut as Calgary trounced Saskatoon 6-4.

    Tambellini, a freshman, left UND to join the Hitmen Wednesday, according to the Calgary Herald. The Ranger third rounder in 2013 had four points in 16 games with the Fighting Sioux over the first semester. It took him one game to equal that in the WHL. He started the game with Brady Brassart and Greg Chase, and ended it with Jake Virtanen and Zane Jones.

    Jones had a goal and two assists, and Virtanen scored twice, all with Tambellini on the ice alongside them.

    Netminder Mack Shields stopped 33-of-37 to earn the win in net

    Read More »from Tambellini nets four points for Hitmen in WHL debut: Wednesday’s 3 stars
  • Rangers pick Adam Tambellini is Calgary bound (Getty Images)New York Rangers prospect Adam Tambellini's college career was short, but not so sweet. Just 16 games into his rookie season at the University of North Dakota, he decided to take off to join the Calgary Hitmen.

    The Hitmen, however, didn't originally own his WHL rights. They traded their 2014 first-round bantam pick to the Portland Winterhawks for them. Obviously, Tambellini must have made it known to the Hitmen before the trade that he would join them as they wouldn't have given up their prized pick unless it was a sure thing.

    This is the second big trade Calgary has pulled off within the last little while as they snagged Dallas Stars second-round pick Mike Winther from the Prince Albert Raiders on Dec. 28. The pair of trades ultimately solidify the first-place Hitmen as the favourites to come out of the Eastern Conference.

    “We are very excited to add a top forward to our group,” said Hitmen General Manager and Vice President, Business Operations Mike Moore in the release on Steve

    Read More »from Rangers pick Adam Tambellini leaves UND for Hitmen, and other trade notes
  • Veteran wing Stephen Pierog (right) is bound for Guelph (OHL Images)

    The Guelph Storm appear to have one more move to make before the OHL trade deadline, and you know it's going to be big. The same, it goes without saying, applies in London and Erie.

    With just more than 48 hours left till the deadline, Storm GM Mike Kelly refilled his kitty of future priority selection picks by packaging off point-a-game scorer Hunter Garlent (who had "shared that he'd be open to a trade") to the Peterborough Petes for conscientious two-way winger Stephen Pierog and four second-rounders, starting in 2015 and spaced out until '19.

    The Storm, in a three-way race with the Knights and Otters in the Midwest Division, paid big in December to add two-time 40-goal scorer Kerby Rychel, sending a guaranteed eight draft choices to the Windsor Spitfires. Now getting maximum value for Garlent, a one-time top pick whose development was stayed by a back injury last season, puts them in good stead.

    Read More »from Guelph Storm get 4 second-rounders for 18-year-old Hunter Garlent
  • Matt Dumba has not dressed for the Wild since Nov. 23 (The Associated Press)

    It's not all that surprising that the Minnesota Wild have sent defenceman Mathew Dumba back down to junior hockey. For one, he hasn't played with the National Hockey League club that drafted him since November 23, and even when he has been in the lineup, he's averaged just 12:26 a night as a defenceman, one of the lowest time on ice averages in the NHL.

    For two, the Wild were probably more comfortable with sending Dumba down to a team that will definitely contend. Just before the start of the Team Canada selection camp for the World junior championship, Dumba's Western Hockey League rights were shifted from Red Deer to Portland. The Winterhawks are well back of Kelowna for top spot in the Western Conference and are just 3-7 in their last ten, but they've been without four of their best players: Nic Petan, Taylor Leier and Derrick Pouliot were all playing with Team Canada, while Brendan Leipsic just sat out the last of a seven-game suspension that began on December 17 after flattening Keegan Kolsar of the Seattle Thunderbirds.

    Via the Minneapolis Star Tribune's Michael Russo this morning, before the news was made official:

    Fletcher is close to returning defenseman Matt Dumba, who played 13 games earlier this season, to Portland of the Western Hockey League.

    Read More »from Matt Dumba returns to WHL with Portland, who is next domino to fall?
  • Oil Kings' Aaron Irving is a top NHL draft prospect (WHL.ca)

    The Edmonton Oil Kings have built a strong reputation on developing top-notch blueliners – look no further than New York Islanders first-round pick Griffin Reinhart and Buffalo Sabres rookie Mark Pysyk for proof of that. Although Aaron Irving doesn’t want to get ahead of himself, he feels he has what it takes to blossom into the organization’s next prominent defenceman.

    “I feel I’m in a good position and have the abilities to hopefully become another good defenceman to come out of Edmonton,” says Irving, whom NHL Central Scouting Service ranked as a C-list prospect in its November preliminary ranking . “They have some really smart coaches that know how to get the best out of you and prepare you for the NHL. I still have to keep on working and getting better, but I think I have what it takes.”

    Irving was thrilled when his hometown Oil Kings drafted him ninth overall in the 2011 WHL bantam draft, but his jump to major junior didn’t come as quickly as he hoped. The organization decided

    Read More »from NHL draft tracker: Aaron Irving, Edmonton Oil Kings
  • Fabbri has 15 goals in 13 games since returning from a suspension (Terry Wilson, OHL Images)

    If the OHL picked all-stars for the span where teams are short-staffed due to the world junior championship — and if the league had a keener sense of irony, it would — Robby Fabbri would be on it.

    The Guelph Storm's 17-year-old picked up the slack in the absence of older forwards Kerby Rychel (Team Canada), Tyler Bertuzzi (head/neck) and Brock McGinn (wrist surgery) . Fabbri's 15 goals and 21 points over the 13 games since his return from a 10-game suspension for checking to the head has helped the Storm keep up with the Ontario league's big three.

    Every team across the CHL will have a different look by the end of the week, when the trade deadlines in Ontario and the Western leagues pass on Friday. Until then, here's the traditional Dynamic Dozen.

    Read More »from Guelph Storm top ‘trade week’ edition of the BTN Dynamic Dozen
  • Chicoutimi finally moved Team Canada forward Charles Hudon to Baie-Comeau on the last day of QMJHL deals. (CP / Frank Gunn)Chicoutimi finally moved Team Canada forward Charles Hudon to Baie-Comeau on the last day of QMJHL deals. (CP / Frank Gunn)

    The Charles Hudon show officially moves to Baie-Comeau.

    The trade, rumoured and reported for weeks, was finally announced by the league as one of 16 trades on the final trading day of the 2013-14 QMJHL season. Since Hudon was playing for Canada at the world junior in Malmö, Sweden, he could not be moved until he was returned to his junior club. Players can still be waived and signed, but they can no longer be traded from one team to another.

    Hudon, the former Chicoutimi captain and a Habs prospect, moves to the Drakkar for a third rounder this season, and three firsts, from 2015-17. Whether those picks will actually be the picks or just placeholders for other players in the future has not been speculated.

    That was the biggest move of the day in the QMJHL, who saw 24 players and 29 picks moved in total on Tuesday morning.

    Perhaps most surprising was that the Quebec Remparts, with assets like goaltender François Brassard and Sabres forward Mikhail Grigorenko, stood pat on the final day. They did waive former first-rounder Brandon Shea and Anthony Latina.

    Read More »from Hudon trade official; 16 trades highlight final day of QMJHL trading period
  • Team Canada players stand on the blueline following the bronze-medal game loss to Russia (Frank Gunn, The Canadian Press)

    It takes only modest powers of observation to note the world junior championship is trumped up all out of proportion to the actual profile of junior hockey in Canada, where 83 per cent of Canadian Hockey League teams are experiencing an attendance decline.

    Since Team Canada did not medal for the second year in a row, and since the price point for 2015 tournament split between Montreal and Toronto is sky-high, the two trends go hand in hand. Nothing is off-limits from the hand-wringing, including the tourney's profitability.The Hockey News' Ken Campbell came through with a philippic.

    The governing body for hockey in this country realized quite some time ago that the World Junior program represents a cash cow and it rarely fails to capitalize on that. (The kids, of course, get nothing for their efforts, but that’s a rant for another day.) In order to maximize the profits, Hockey Canada has found it extremely lucrative to turn the spotlight on these young men. And judging by the ticket prices for next year’s event in Montreal and Toronto, one that could generate as much as $100 million in profits for Hockey Canada and its partners, that isn’t about to end anytime soon. After all, people paying that kind of money to watch the tournament are going to expect their team to win it all.

    ...

    Meanwhile, this “holiday tradition” that TSN has created has spiralled out of control. After all, is it really necessary to show all Canada’s pre-tournament games? Do we really need to hear what some kid who has just been cut is thinking as he does the walk of shame through the team’s hotel lobby? But again, this is about money. Like Hockey Canada, TSN has found a cash cow in the WJC, and it comes at a time when advertisers have already sold most of their cars and stereos and hockey equipment for Christmas and traditionally wouldn't be buying ad time. The more TSN perpetuates this tournament as the absolute be-all and end-all for Canadians, the more the dollars flow. And now that TSN has lost rights to the NHL, the prospects of this one changing are looking pretty dim, too.

    That leaves you, hockey fans. Yes, you love Canada and you love hockey. We get that. But one of the problems in Canada is that so much of the national psyche and

    Read More »from World junior championship: Tournament’s scale ‘out of control?’
  • One can never get tired of seeing a perfectly executed Forsberg move to win a shootout and every hockey fan in Canada's day could use some brightening. In the spirit of that, check out Ontaro Junior Hockey League scoring leader Taylor Best's shootout winner on Sunday.

    For whatever reason, the Whitby Fury coaching staff opted not make a player who averages two points per game one of their first three shootouts following a 2-2 tie through 65 minutes against the Toronto Lakeshore Patriots. Actually, it turned out to be a genius move to save Best for the fourth round, since he had something ready to best Toronto's Evan Buitenhuis.

    Read More »from OJHL scoring leader Taylor Best pulls ‘Forsberg move’ to win shootout (VIDEO)
  • Finland's Rasmus Ristolainen lifts the world junior championship trophy

    MALMO, Sweden —There is a word in Finnish, sisu, that has no direct translation in the English language. It means, on a very generic level, the strength of will and perseverance inherent to the Finnish people.

    On Sunday, Finland's Young Lions showed that most ingrained attitude by stunning host Sweden 3-2 in overtime to win their first world junior championship gold medal in 16 years. It was Finnish defenceman Rasmus Ristolainen who scored the golden goal at 9:42 of the extra frame.

    "That's what we have here," said an elated Ristolainen. "We have a sisu team."

    After the game, many of the Finnish players said they were still in shock over winning the championship - their first since 1998, which they won at home in Helsinki.

    "I'm feeling pretty empty at the moment," said Finnish goalie Juuse Saros, who was named as a tournament all-star. "I don't even (understand) it right now."

    Ristolainen, the eighth-overall pick of the Buffalo Sabres last June, slid the puck past Sweden's Oscar Dansk with

    Read More »from World junior championship: Young Lions are the pride of Finland
  • Rasmus Ristolainen scoring the golden goal on a drive to the net (Frank Gunn -- CP Images)

    No. 1 Star: Rasmus Ristolainen - Team Finland

    Overtime was all about Rasmus Ristolainen. Not only was the he player who scored the golden goal for Finland and giving them a 3-2 upset win over rival Sweden, but he also put together the three best shifts in the overtime period. Ristolainen, the defenceman selected No. 8 by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2013 NHL draft, chipped the puck and held it against the boards in the offensive zone against three Swedish players as he waited for his team to complete a change. Two minutes later, again at the point, he made a power move around Sweden's Andreas Johnson and set up a flurry of dangerous chances in front of goaltender Oscar Dansk, but teammate Artturi Lehkonen couldn't finish the play.

    But it wasn't all for naught. On his very next shift, Ristolainen again started at his position from the right point, picked some speed and deked around three Swedish players including Dansk, and sliding the puck through Dansk's five-hole and sparking the Finland gold medal celebration in true Finnish fashion: by skating across the ice, taking his helmet off, and throwing it against the end boards at the other end of the ice.

    Suffice to say, the tournament ended a lot better than it began for Ristolainen, who was questionable coming into the tournament coming off a concussion sustained earlier in the season in Rochester, and then a flu bug keeping him out of practice the week before Christmas.

    No. 2 Star: Juuse Saros - Team Finland

    The second star could have gone to a number of different Finnish defencemen, such as Esa Lindell or Ville Pokka, who won gold at the conclusion of a terrific tournament, but it's hard to credit a team for being stifling at defence when they allow 37 shots against, including 5 in a little over 9 minutes of overtime and 32 in regulation.

    Juuse Saros, who was brought up by Kingston's Henri Ikonen as the key to the system before the tournament began, was A-plus Sunday afternoon, at one point during the game was complimented for having "no pulse in the Finnish net" by TSN commentator Ray Ferraro. Saros was key to a Finland PK which was solid all tournament: despite going just 4-for-6 in the gold medal game, the Finns allowed just three powerplay goals against all tournament long. The PK was a good response to the Finns aggressive and chippy play which the country was known for long before it became a factory for goaltenders. Saros is a Nashville Predators fourth rounder and didn't have a bad game all tournament, stopping 35 of 37 in the gold medal game and being named a tournament all-star, though his opposite Dansk was given the IIHF Directorate Award.

    Read More »from World junior championship 3 Stars: Blue-clad Ristolainen and Saros give golden performances
  • Rasmus Ristolainen (left) and Ville Pokka celebrate the WJC triumph (Ludvig Thunham, The Associated Press)

    Rasmus Ristolainen proved fortune favours the bold, stuffing in the golden goal to give Finland a 3-2 overtime victory over rival Sweden to win the world junior gold medal.

    Three times during the 4-on-4 overtime, the 19-year-old defender jumped into the play, looking to create an opportunity for Finland to deny Sweden its chance to win the WJC on home ice. Finally, after tournanment scoring leader Teuvo Teravainen made a deft play to keep the puck inside the Sweden blueline, Ristolainen cut in from the corner to the left of the net and tucked a backhand under goalie Oscar Dansk's right pad.

    It is Finland's first medal of any colour since 2006 and first gold since 1998, when it won in Helsinki on a golden goal by Nicklas Hagman.

    Ristolainen's urgency was understandable. Midway through the third period, after Finland had exasperated Sweden to nearly no end for 2½ periods by reduced the big ice at the Malmo Arena to the size of an backyard pond by clogging the middle and arraying four defenders across the blue line, Ristolainen was whistled for holding.

    Sweden coach Rikard Gronborg used his timeout to set up his power play while Finland's best defender could only watch. Forty-two seconds later, Christian Djoos' rocket shot steamed through the minute lane between five players jockeying in front of the goal and into a top corner to tie the game.

    That was about the only way Sweden could beat 18-year-old goalie Juuse Saros, who finished with 35 saves.

    Read More »from World junior championship: Finland stymies Sweden, Rasmus Ristolainen gets the golden goal
  • When Team Canada falls short of a world junior championship medal, everyone is going to sweepingly generalize, including Don Cherry. That's why CBC pays him the big bucks.

    You know what portion of the anatomy theories are likened to. Like any proud Canadian hockey fan, the Hockey Night in Canada commentator had one after Canada's gold-medal hope evaporated with a semifinal loss to Finland on Saturday in Malmo, Sweden. Rather than zero in on what failed to go right for Canada during the game, Cherry returned to his hobby horse of assailing Hockey Canada's omissions — Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick Connor Brown; ex-Leafs tough guy Tie Domi's son Max Domi, a Phoenix Coyotes first-rounder; and Edmonton Oilers first-rounder Darnell Nurse, a defenceman for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. All three played minor hockey in the greater Toronto area.

    It starts about 90 seconds into Coach's Corner.

    "I'm gonna tell you why we lose," he said. "It's politically correct as far as I'm concerned ... OHL has nine guys, 41 per cent [of the 22-player roster] ... the players on the team. WHL, seven, five are from Quebec. It is politically correct. I'm telling ya right now, we can't take too many from Ontario. If 22 guys are the best from Quebec, we should take it.

    "That is an absolute joke not to have Darnell Nurse out there. Only [Griffin] Reinhart was drafted into the National [Hockey] League higher. Can you believe that? Only Reinhart and he doesn't make the club?"

    And it just goes on like this, with some reference to a Cole Hobert — would that be Bo Horvat from the London Knights? — and Domi.

    [What went wrong for Canada? 'Pretty much everything']

    Philosophically, Cherry is on the same page with many media and fans who are exasperated by Hockey Canada's approach to short tournaments. The world junior goes through cycles, of course. After five years without a Canadian gold, it's hard to argue against the notion the selectors overthink the roster composition by taking role players and leaving high-end talent home.

    Read More »from World junior championship: Don Cherry slams ‘politically correct’ Hockey Canada, whatever that means
  • Late in the second period Sunday, Canada's Sam Reinhart bisected Russia's coverage with a textbook cross-seam pass through a tiny portal in the sticks filling passing lanes, as his older brother Griffin Reinhart, slid down from the point.

    [Box score: Canada loses bronze-medal game to Russia]

    In another time, another year, maybe a situation other than a world junior championship bronze medal game, it would have been a goal for Team Canada. Instead the puck hit the heel of the elder Reinhart's stick and bounced away, can you believe it dissolving into c'est la vie. That sequence, one of just many that determined the outcome in Russia's 2-1 win, summed up the kind of game and tournament it was for Canada.

    The result means Canada has missed the WJC podium in back-to-back years for the first time since Hockey Canada created its Program of Excellence was founded in 1982. The national junior program still has a streak of 16 consecutive years of reaching the semifinal, for what that is worth.

    The game's first 40 minutes at the Malmo Arena had a distinct lack of emotion. Russia built a 2-0 lead on an early power-play goal by Buffalo Sabres youngster Mikhail Grigorenko that went in off the foot of Canada defenceman Mathew Dumba and an Eduard Gimatov tally on a wrist shot from well out.

    [What went wrong for Canada? 'Pretty much everything']

    Canada carried the play from the second period onward, but Tampa Bay Lightning first-rounder Andrei Vasilevski (30 saves) was his typically solid self. The lone Canadian goal came off a deflection by Winnipeg Jets first-rounder Josh Morrissey 7:10 into the third period. Canada was gifted with a chance to tie shortly thereafter when Russia incurred its third too-many-men penalty of the game, but Russia's penalty kill weathered the pressure, with Andrei Mironov coming up with a key zone-clearing deflection to prevent Canada's leading goal scorer Anthony Mantha from getting an opportunity.

    Vasilevski helped Russia beat Canada 6-5 to win the bronze game at the 2013 tourney. He also started, but did not finish, when Russia held off Canada by the same score in the 2012 semifinal before winning the silver.

    [Sweden’s Jesper Pettersson suspended for gold-medal game vs. Finland]

    Read More »from World junior championship: Canada loses 2-1 to Russia, out of the medals for 2nd year in a row
  • Sweden-Russia semifinal marred by post-game fights

    MALMO, Sweden — World junior championship host Sweden advanced to the gold medal game with a 2-1 victory over Russia, but the game wasn’t without controversy.

    Tempers flared as the seconds counted down and Swedish defenceman Oskar Sundqvist held the puck alongside the boards when he was jumped by Russian defenceman Andrei Mironov.

    “He was trying to kill time,” said Swedish goalie Oscar Dansk after his 26 save performance. “I guess just emotions came over everyone and one thing led to another – it’s a hockey game. It’s going to happen eventually.”

    After the buzzer, Mironov was involved in a fight with Sweden’s Jesper Pettersson. Pettersson had been in the box serving a slashing penalty and skated straight into the fray to join the fight which left Mironov bloodied. Both Mironov and Pettersson received minor penalties for roughing and it’s unclear whether Pettersson will face further discipline from the IIHF who will no doubt review the incident.

    UPDATE: The IIHF has suspended Pettersson for

    Read More »from World junior championship: Pettersson suspended, Sweden-Russia semifinal marred
  • Canada will shoot for its 15th medal in 16 years on Sunday when, coming off a tough loss in the semifinal vs. Finland, it faces Russia in the bronze-medal game at the world junior championship (TSN/RDS, 9 a.m. ET/6 a.m. PT).

    Please join Buzzing The Net's Sunaya Sapurji, who is on-site at the Malmo Arena, along with the crew of Cam Charron, Kelly Friesen, Steve McAllister, Neate Sager, Mike Sanderson and a cast of many for a livechat.

    [World junior scoreboard]

    The Chatravaganza is BYOP — bring your own peanuts.

    A video or other embedded content has been hidden. Click here to view it.

    Read More »from World junior championship: Canada-Russia Chatravaganza, Sunday 9 a.m. ET/6 a.m. PT!
  • Crestfallen Team Canada players stand on the blueline following Saturday's semfinal loss to Finland (Frank Gunn, The Canadian Press)

    With Frédérik Gauthier on the ice for Team Canada in all games save the cakewalk opener against Germany, the Canadians were out-chanced 9-4 by the opposition.

    Gauthier is used to facing opposition of this calibre. Gauthier was a first round pick in the NHL draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs. He has talent, was nearly a point-a-game in the QMJHL with the Rimouski Océanic a year ago, and had a +22 plus/minus. It's interesting to see the contrast to this season when he's a year older and perhaps given a bit more responsibility. He's just a +1 on a team that has a +20 goal differential.

    The team that drafted him, the Leafs, has a player in a similar role named Jay McClement. Despite McClement's reputation as a two-way player, who would put up 20-point seasons at the NHL-level in addition to being a reliable checker and penalty killer, McClement has been used exclusively in a defensive role this season. He is on pace for just 10 points, and when he's on the ice, the Leafs give up just 30.4 shots per 60 minutes, compared to 36.0 when he's not out there.

    The problem, however, is that hockey is a game of ratios, and not raw numbers. I forget who said it, but I'd read a long time ago a basketball quotation from a high-profile player or coach who suggested that "when you out-score your check, that's good defence." With McClement on the ice, the Leafs take just 18.8 shots per 60 minutes, compared to 28.1 when he's not on the ice.

    A checking line, or what exists when the Océanic send out Gauthier, or when Brent Sutter put Gauthier on the ice with Kerby Rychel and Josh Anderson, is a concession you give to the other team. Some of the top offensive players in the world, or at any level in hockey, are susceptible to momentary defensive lapses. The way to beat them isn't to limit their opportunities, it's to out-score them.

    Read More »from World junior championship: Conservatism and focus on safe plays costs Canada again
  • Joni Nikko exults after his second-period goal (Associated Press)

    Three stars from semifinal Saturday at the world junior championship as chosen by Buzzing The Net contributors:

    No. 1 star: Joni Nikko, Team Finland

    Nikko scored the icebreaker and had a team-high five shots for Finland, which got an absolutely thorough 22-player effort to topple Team Canada 5-1. The 19-year-old from Lukko Rauma hopped on a carom off the end boards and flicked it into the net to open the scoring in the second period. Canada, already teetering, then receded farther and farther as it took a penalty on the next shift, which led to a power-play goal and a 2-0 lead.

    Finland had a number of men of the match, with goalie Juuse Saros making 23 saves and the defence corps setting up a maze that Canada couldn't navigate. Buffalo Sabres farmhand Rasmus Ristolainen played his best all-around game of the tournament, scoring the goal that restored a two-goal lead heading into the final period.

    Read More »from World junior championship 3 Stars: Worker bees Nikko, Sundqvist help secure Finland-Sweden showdown
  • Finland's Joni Nikko goes high to put the game's first goal past Zach Fucale (Frank Gunn, The Canadian Press)

    Canada, unlike in years past, should have little trouble getting up for a bronze-medal game, since it's becoming a habit.

    A fleet, positionally firm Team Finland executed better and outskated Team Canada, winning the world junior championship semifinal 5-1 on the wings a dominant second period in Malmo, Sweden. The victory, Finland's first over Canada since the round-robin of the 2002 tournament, creates an all-Nordic Finland-Sweden final on Sunday (TSN/RDS, 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT).

    "I don't really have the true words for it," Team Canada coach Brent Sutter, whose teams came in with a 16-0-1-0 record over three tournaments, told TSN. "It was like we froze in the moment ... we just got off our game. We didn't handle it the way we would have liked to.

    "We think the game is only played in our country," Sutter added. "If you're not at the top of your game, you're not going to win and it showed tonight."

    Canada, which never found a rhythm while its top two centres Jonathan Drouin and Nic Petan incurred 10-minute misconducts in the second period, will face Russia for the bronze on Sunday (TSN/RDS, 9 a.m. ET/6 a.m. PT).

    Finland outchanced Canada 10-3 during that period, when it built a two-goal margin that stood up until Chicago Blackhawks first-rounder Teuvo Teravainen converted a penalty shot for the dagger with 3:12 left.

    A gut feeling is that any attempt at being sanguine — anything can happen in a best-of-one! — isn't going to cut it. Discuss amongst yourselves:

    Read More »from World junior championship: Canada ousted by fleet Finland, now facing Russia for bronze