December 28, 2010
BUFFALO — Buzzing The Net is selecting Three Stars during each day of the world junior championship:
No. 1 star: Brayden Schenn, Canada
Insert enigmatic Pierre McGuire-ism here to describe Schenn's command performance. The Team Canada centre had five points (four in the first 40 minutes) to lead Team Canada to a 7-2 win over the Czech Republic. He was close to the total package: tough to keep away from the net, able to finish plays (picking a corner for an early goal) and threading passes to teammates.
No. 2 star: Kyle Palmieri, U.S.
The U.S. forward, who was just a touch off on several scoring chances in his team's opener against Finland, showed he might be the most dangerous forward in the tournament. Palmieri (pictured) had two first-period goals and later set up linemate Charlie Coyle for a second-period tally, helping Team USA dispatch Slovakia 6-1.
No. 3 star: Robin Lehner, Sweden
The Ottawa Senators goalie of the future nailed down the 2-0 Sweden victory over Russia, making 30 saves and bearing down when the pressure was amplified. Suffice to say, that is something for Canadian fans to keep in mind ahead of Friday's matchup that will likely be for top spot in Group B and a bye to the semifinal.
Honourable mention: Jyrki Jokipakka , Finland
Jokipakka assisted on each of Finland's first two goals in a 4-0 win over Switzerland and was part of a tight defence which helped goalie Joni Ortio face only 15 shots. That's a pretty decent day's work for a defenceman.
Dishonourable mention: Martin Frk, Czech Republic
Credit the 17-year-old for a creative way of pulling the chute. Frk ensured himself of an early shower in the Czechs' 7-2 loss to Canada by spearing defenceman Erik Gudbranson in the groin midway through the period.
When Sean Fitz-Gerald asked Gudbranson to confirm where he got speared, the defenceman replied, "I'll give you two guesses. And the first one doesn’t count."
For Frk, it wasn't exactly conduct becoming of a top 2012 NHL draft prospect and Frk's ensuing five-minute major and game misconduct opened the door to a couple Canadian goals.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Sports Canada. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.