Friday, January 01, 2016
World Juniors, January 2, 2016 -- Canada vs Finland
From defending Champions to Tournament underdogs, that is the latest twist in the travels of Team Canada at the World Junior Championships for 2015-16.
Authors of some of their own misfortune, the now much documented struggles for the Canadians have become the undercurrent for the fans back home, first with a loss to the USA on opening night, followed by a surprisingly challenging match up with the Swiss followed by a thumping at the hands of the Swedes. Each game highlighting some part of the Team Canada puzzle that still requires a bit of attention.
The problem is, the time for adjustments is up, the preliminary round delivering the Canadians to the high flying Finnish squad, who will be looking to ring in the New Year with a solid message for the fans and opponents alike, one of the Champs are ready to be taken down this year.
Canada of course will be seeking to change that narrative on Saturday, with no need for the reminder that the second part of this World Junior Tourney offers no further follow up opportunities, win and your moving on, lose and you're on your way out.
The disappointments and missed opportunities to be catalogued to the end of the tournament and maybe even a bit beyond.
For the Canadians the second season of tourney time offers the chance of redemption from their early struggles, the key to allow the muscle memory of what brought them to Helsinki to take over from the mind, which could revisit those early match ups in an unhelpful way.
The Finns have been talking a little smack in the lead up, noting that they aren't all that intimidated by the Canadians, pointing to those early struggles as an indication that the Champs are ready for the taking.
That could be the best thing that the Canadians could hear as they head to puck drop on Saturday, there won't be any need for a slogan on a black board, the sense of the moment all the motivation that Canada might need.
The pressure shifts in this one towards the host Finns, their braggadocio such as it has been, something that now has to be backed up on the ice. On paper and through round one they look good for their boasts, yet, elimination games offer up something that requires a little bit more than just confidence.
For sixty minutes you have to deliver, winner moves on, loser moves over
Finland 6 vs Canada 5 summary
Finland advances to Semi Finals
Post Game Notes:
January 3 -- Hockey Canada vows to right what went wrong at world juniors
January 3 -- Hockey Canada prez throws Team Canada under bus
January 3 -- Hockey Canada head Tom Renney defends world junior coaching staff
January 3 -- Canada's well-earned hockey smugness affords juniors a quiet exit
January 3 -- Team Canada 'had to pay the price": Wilson
January 3 -- Team USA coach Ron Wilson says Canada took too many penalties
January 2 -- Canada's run for World Junior glory ends as Finland wins 6-5
January 2 -- Canada-Finland: Five moments that mattered in quarter final loss
January 2 -- Canada's loss to Finland ins't the edge of the world
January 2 -- Canadian players feeling 'terrible', frustrated following early world junior exit
January 2 -- Canada outclassed by Finland in WJC quarter-final
January 1 -- Team Canada 'excited' ahead of elimination game at world juniors
January 1 -- Finland's talented prospects pose a problem for Canada at World Juniors
January 1 -- 8 things we've learned from the world junior so far
January 1 -- Areas of concern for 'underdog' Team Canada
January 1 -- Underdog Canada facing 'adversity' against host Finland at world juniors
January 1 -- Finland's mighty youngsters could create headaches for Canada
December 31 -- Canada's world junior loss to Sweden a forgettable finish to 2015
December 31 -- Canada looking ahead after being blown out by Swedes
December 31 -- Canada struggles to find its game in loss to Sweden at 2016 world juniors
December 31 -- Canada faces Finland in world junior quarter-finals under a raft of unanswered questions