Wotherspoon has been quietly effective for Team Canada (The Canadian Press)"Getting wrecked like Wotherspoon" a perfectly topical way to describe New Year's Eve plans after the harrowing first period Team Canada's Tyler Wotherspoon had against Russia.
No doubt some of Wotherspoon's teammates are playing with all sorts of bumps and bruises after four games at the world junior championship, where Canada has reached the semifinal thanks to its 4-0 start. But the Portland Winterhawks star showed he can take physical punishment like a champ. He narrowed avoided what could have a very a grisly injury during the first period, getting cut for seven stitches on his right cheek after a collision where Russian forechecker Daniil Zharkov's skate blade flew up in the air and sliced him open.
(That's not only a pair of No. 26s involved in that collision, but it also involves a Calgary Flames defence prospect and an Edmonton Oilers forward prospect on that collision. You cannot make that up.)
Wotherspoon then got drilled from behind into the glass by Russia's Valeri Nichushkin on his first shift after receiving seven stitches to close the wound. That prompted another trip off for further repairs, but it was a small price to play since Canada scored twice on the ensuing power play.
Wotherspoon was not as ballyhooed as other blueliners ahead of Canada naming its selection camp roster four weeks ago, although at least one media outlet thought he would be on the team. Edmonton Oil Kings goalie Laurent Brossoit was anticipated to be the Flames draft pick from Surrey, B.C., who would earn a jersey. However, Wotherspoon has earned his keep on Canada's third pairing and has also been important killing penalties alongside Scott Harrington. The two were integral during the frantic final 30 seconds of the Sunday win over Team USA, when Canada was outnumbered six skaters to four.
Now Wotherspoon has reminded us that people dig scars and world junior gold-medal glory lasts forever. You might say a place was carved out for him in Team Canada folklore.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org (videos: TSN).