World Juniors prepare for playoff rounds
Much is being made of Canada's injury situation. Too much in fact. Have a gander at what TSN is saying today, the day before Canada squares off in its first do-or-die situation against the Czechs or Fins.
Injuries are threatening to do what no team has been able to accomplish thus far at the world junior hockey championship — derail Team Canada's gold medal hopes.Hardly. Granted, Cam Barker being diagnosed with mono is somewhat of a loss, but he is the only 18-year-old defenseman on this team and wasn't playing on the top two pairings. The other 'threatening injuries' that the media have referred to are a light shoulder strain to Brent Seabrook and Jeremy Colliton's continued absense with a sprained knee. Seabrook has yet to miss a game and is said to be fine for tomorrow, and Colliton, at best a role player on this squad, hasn't even played a game yet. So much for pressing injury concerns.
The thing is, there isn't much of a story for the Canadian team until they (finally) start playing in a game that matters. Canada has outscored its weak opposition 32-5 through the tournament's first four games, piling in a ridiculous number of meaningless goals against WJC lightweights like Germany. It's almost too bad, however, that Canada's round robin grouping is so weak, as the team won't get a true test of its measure until they are in an elimination game. For all the confidence that these blowout wins have given this team and its fans, it will mean little if the Czech Republic manage to eke out a slim victory tomorrow.
Canada has to refocus entirely for the semifinals, as one poor game and they will be remembered as the greatest team that wasn't. That, and not some minor injury problems, is the narrative for this team.