Raise your hand if you were among those who actually set the alarm around 3:15 am CT to watch Canada face Germany in their opener at the World Junior Hockey Championship in Ufa, Russia?
To be perfectly honest, I was planning to simply rely on the PVR and catch the game a little later in the morning.
However, the topic came up during Christmas dinner and suddenly it seemed like a good idea.
A little groggy, I rolled out of bed and made my way downstairs to watch Canada earn a 9-3 victory and improve to 1-0.
Naturally, I paid close attention to Winnipeg Jets’ 2011 first rounder Mark Scheifele and he didn’t disappoint, notching a pair of goals while playing on the top line with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jonathan Huberdeau.
The line was dominant, combining for 10 points (five for Nugent-Hopkins, three for Huberdeau and the two goals for Scheifele).
Although it’s clear Scheifele is still adapting to life on the right wing, he showed good finish and it’s clear that he has chemistry with Nugent-Hopkins and Huberdeau.
All three guys have tremendous hands and are going to be fun to watch throughout this event. They’ll be tough to contain for any opponent.
Players in the event may be focusing on one game at a time, but I can’t wait to watch Scheifele and company go head-to-head against a strong Team USA that features Jets’ 2012 first rounder Jacob Trouba and Seth Jones (projected to go early in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft) on the back end.
Should be an outstanding battle.
A few other quick takeaways from the 9-3 win:
* Like the way Ryan Strome is playing. He’s got great vision and excels on the power play. Thinking he’s going to come up with a couple of important goals in this event.
* Scott Harrington is a rock on Canada’s defence. Lots of blocked shots, especially in the first period, and he’s a steadying force. Going to be interesting to see him match up against some of the skilled forwards for Team USA and Russia.
* Malcolm Subban was steady in net. No chance on the first goal (poor support for Canada on the PK allowed Germany to score a backdoor tap-in) and a bad giveaway from Mark McNeill led to another. No real softies for Subban and that has to bode well as Canada prepares to face Slovakia on Friday in the wee hours in the morning.