Chicago, Il –Yesterday was the start of the IIHF Men’s World Championships and anyone who follows me knows I absolutely love International hockey and all the events from Jrs levels to Men’s to Women’s.
Let me just say that yesterday’s game between old rivals of USA vs Canada did not disappoint. What a way to open going to a shootout.
For those of you that don’t know Team USA is captianed by our own Patty Kane and he is not alone he has with him the Cat, Connor Murphy and Jordan Oesterle from the Blackhawks.
In looking over Team USA’s roster I initially really really liked it, after yesterday I love it. It is what I imagined it would be with a sprinkling of very young players, NHL young players and veterans. It has skill and speed mixed with size.
The only area I was concerned was the defense and the Goaltending. After yesterday my apologies Keith Kinkaid I was wrong you were fabulous.
The USA did not have their legs in the first period and were slow to pucks and spent almost the entire game in their own zone.
If not for Kinkaid the game could have been over after the first. Instead they came out only down 2-1 which was a miracle in itself with how badly they were dominated in the first.
Anders Lee got things rolling with Alex DeBrincat with the secondary assist to end the first.
The second period the USA found their legs and their battle levels. They not only tied they at one point took the lead on goals by Dylan Larkin and Johnny Gaudreau.
The Larkin Goal saw Jordan Oesterle with an apple and the Johnny Gaudreau goal was set up by a gorgeous cross ice pass from Patrick Kane. I mean seeing these two together on a line wow, just wow.
After the Game Kane said he thought the team could play better and I agree they will with more familiarity.
I liked that Coach Jeff Blashill had Murphy paired with Oesterle on defense so there was some commonality there with the Blackhawks.
Kane and Gaudreau you can see just think the game the same way so there was sort of instant chemistry there. Alex DeBrincat can just flat-out play and shoot that puck regardless.
The game went to OT and both the USA and Canada took penalties but it was Canada that suffered the most from the infraction when Connor McDavid tripped Gaudreau with .16 seconds left.
In IIHF the rule is even if the game ends the player who commits the penalty can not shoot in the shoot out so McDavid could not shoot for Canada which might have made the difference.
Personally I love this rule and the NHL should adopt although I’m not sure how many games this year went to shoot out in the NHL still I would love to see this implemented.
Canadian shooters were Barzal, Eberle, Shenn, RNH, Horvat with Eberle going twice as you can repeat shooters in IIHF. Eberle connected once and that was it.
USA shooters were Atkinson, Kane, Gaudreau, Hughes and Larkin. It was Cam Atkinson of the Columbus Blue Jackets that connected twice on absolutely sick moves that sealed the win for the USA along with Kinkaid stopping almost everyone and everything.
I think Kane is right they need to get better acquainted with each other as a team.
The defense needs to tighten up a bit and keep the pace up and transition quickly. Kane was backchecking and that will be needed from everyone especially against teams like Canada and Russia and Sweden.
All in all what a way to kick things off as Canada is in Group B with the USA so getting the extra point was huge.
Other Blackhawks that played yesterday was Artem Anisimov for Team Russia and he had a goal and looked his typical Arty Party self in the opposition’s house area in front of the goal.
Also playing for Russia was Hawks Prospect Maxim Shalunov who had a goal himself on an absolute snipe. Shalunov was drafted by the Blackhawks in the 4th round in 2011. Shalunov is under contract in the KHL for another couple of years I believe to the Sibir Novosibirsk. Hey bud please come over to the Hawks OK?
Anyhow Russia trounced France 7-0
Erik Gustafsson was playing for Sweden no points but Sweden won handily 5-0 over Belarus.
Recently signed Dominik Kahun was playing for Germany but no points. Kahun was playing from the Munich Red Bull before the Blackhawks signed him to an ELC after his great performance at the Olympics.
The USA takes on home country Denmark today at 1:00 PM CT and should be fun with the Denmark winning yesterday.
Highlights of the USA game are linked below and all stats can be gotten from the https://www.new-iihf.com/en/events/2018/wm/
USA keep improving and Good Luck to all the Blackhawks.