Hey, Gary Bettman, thanks for this.
Germany's lineup at the world junior championship includes names such as Reimer and Rieder, but it''s not known if the country has a figurative term for ringer. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, in his long-awaited first world junior game, fulfilled all expectations of him in Team Canada's opening 9-3 win over Team Germany at the world junior championship. The 19-year-old Edmonton Oilers centre scored one goal and four assists in a manner that attests to the fact he is a junior player by birthdate only.
Nugent-Hopkins factored into the first four Canada goals. Here's a montage.
First Nugent-Hopkins saved a Canada possession by keeping the puck in at the blueline, leading to Xavier Ouellet's opening goal 3:02 into the game. He was credited with the only assist, even though Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Morgan Rielly actually passed the puck to Ouellet (and did not receive credit for an assist).
Next, the Nuge worked the give-and-go with Florida Panthers prospect Jonathan Huberdeau for the 2-0 goal. Huberdeau lagged the puck while Nugent-Hopkins darted for the goal, took the pass and buried it for the goal.
In the second period, Nugent-Hopkins pried the puck loose just inside Canada's blueline to create a 2-on-1 short-handed rush with Winnipeg Jets first-rounder Mark Schholeifele. Nugent-Hopkins' shot caromed off the end boards and on to Schiefele's stick for a pinball goal.
On a power play later in the period, Nugent-Hopkins feathered a pass past a defender to Dougie Hamilton. It looked like the play was offside (didn't hear too many Canadians complaining about officiating today), but the Boston Bruins prospect zipped the puck to a speeding Huberdeau, who scored.
Huberdeau, Nugent-Hopkins and Scheifele ran a three-man weave for a power-play goal with two seconds left in that period. The trio combined for 10 points.
Nugent-Hopkins obviously has come a long way since he was cut from Team Canada two seasons ago when he was a spindly 17-year-old with the WHL's Red Deer Rebels. Hindsight being 20/20, perhaps he should have been part of that U20 in 2011; if only there was some way to know what he might have done in the 2011 WJC if given a chance.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet (video: TSN).