Canada's mastery of chaos overwhelmed Slovakia's structure, resulting in a 6-3 win at the world junior championship.
There are many miles ahead for Team Canada (2-0-0-0), which doesn't know if it will have 10, 11 or 12 forwards eligible for a Sunday showdown with rival Team USA (1-1-0-0). The one clear takeaway is that the wisdom of going with a mobile defence corps was validated after Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Morgan Rielly (1G-2A, +2) led a seven-point effort from the backliners. Ryan Strome (2G, +1, 11-of-14 on faceoffs) scored important goals from his No. 2 centre slot. In goal, Malcolm Subban finished with the same solid 25-of-28 statline that he had against Germany.
The status of Anthony Camara and JC Lipon after a penalty-filled game which sparked accusations of diving and dirtiness is one talking point. That should be good fodder for BTN's livechat at 12 noon ET/9 a.m. PT, along with many other topics. Talk amongst yourselves:
— May this please mark the end of Canadian exceptionalism? How Canada channeled the frustration of being short-benched to win going away was commendable. At the same time, Steve Spott's claim that g "Canadian hockey players don't lie down" after both Dougie Hamilton and Mark Scheifele did so to draw the penalties that led to goals was rather rich.
From Kevin McGran:
“We understand there’s a different standard (of officiating),” said Canada coach Steve Spott. “We respect that. But ultimately the challenge for us is to realize there has to be a level of consistency, not just from the players, but from the officiating.”
Spott accused the Slovaks of diving to embellish hits and encourage stiffer penalties.
“Our boys don’t lie down. Canadian hockey players don’t lie down. They’ll drag themselves off ice before they’ll lie down,” said Spott. “(Tomas Mikus of Slovakia who was knocked down), 58 seconds later he was back on the ice and scored a goal.” (Toronto Star)
Rallying was a good display of Canadian fortitude, of course. Claims Canadians don't dive should get the Stinsonian "please."
Ex-pro Justin Bourne is not buying what Spott was selling.
Scheifele sent to the ice a half dozen times already [by the end of the second period]. Some I don’t blame him, but I gotta believe he’s stronger on his skates than this.
... How is [TSN analyst Ray] Ferraro so in love with Scheifele getting sent to the ice by stiff gusts of wind today? “Man’s game today?” Isn’t it kids that hit the deck over a dozen times in one game? (Backhand Shelf)
If Team Canada was in a state, though, it probably started when Slovakia got away with a knee-on-knee against Scheifele. Teams have to fight through it.
— Strome clearly gets it with the officiating thing. Asked afterward by TSN's Nabil Karim about his two-goal day, the Niagara IceDogs centre (for however long) and New York Islanders prospect instead said he was "most concerned" about taking two stick penalties on the day. One of them led to a Slovak 5-on-3 advantage and a goal.
International officiating is not going to change to suit Canadians' tastes. Complaining about the rule that resulted in Camara's penalty is kosher. Complaining about its enforcement? Not necessarily.
— No doubt every fretting fatalist compared and contrasted Subban's showing vs. the goalie duel between Team Russia's Andrei Makarov and Team USA's John Gibson in the Russians' 2-1 win. Subban might not be living up to a Superman standard, but he settled in despite a rough start. Canada's dearth of discipline and some defensive coverage programs were greater culprits for allowing three goals to each of the likely two weakest teams in Group B.
Subban was solid. Moving the wrong way a few times. Shaking his head on the screen. Always a no no!!! Can't get beat from the outside! #test
— Shawn Simpson (@SSimpsonHockey) December 28, 2012
Was Subban nervous tonight?: 'Not so much, especially after the 1st goal not really, so I controlled my emotions pretty well'
— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) December 28, 2012
Subban: 'What happened today ... was best thing for us bc we faced adversity ... better to face that now than against [US or Russia]'
— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) December 28, 2012
Subban will be in again vs. Team USA on Sunday (TSN, 4:30 a.m. ET/1:30 a.m. PT).
— Canada won its last WJC gold medal in 2009 by outscoring teams. Is it going to have to do so again? At least the defence, particularly Rielly and Xavier Ouelllet, can help out the forwards. Given the way Slovakia played the trap, breaking them down for six goals might be a good omen.
— You were not the only one who noticed that Canada seemed to get a scoring chance whenever 17-year-old Nathan MacKinnon was unchained from the bench. He and Halifax Mooseheads linemate Jonathan Drouin were dangerous when thrown together after Canada had to improvise due to the two ejections.
— Jérôme Bérubé (@Jerome_Berube) December 28, 2012
— Off-topic, but that Molson Canadian "Guyet" commercial needs to go away quickly. Physical fitness cannot be improved significantly jogging only twice a week without eating clean.
— Hey, a highlight reel!
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet (video: TSN).