Friday, December 16, 2005

The shifting age of Canada's world juniors

From the Canadian Press story posted on TSN.ca: "The average age is 19 years one month 28 days."

From the lede of Bob McKenzie's column on TSN.ca: "This is pretty much an 18-year-old team."
Huh?

What McKenzie goes on to say is that the 18 year olds on this club are going to be some of Team Canada's biggest contributers. Still, 10 of the 22 players named today are 19 year olds, some of whom will be key cogs — especially up front and in goal, where both netminders Justin Pogge (a Leafs draft pick) and Devan Dubnyk (an Oilers pick) are 19.

The team's greybeard is captain Kyle Chipchura, who turns 20 in February, a big, hard-nosed prairie boy that Canadians are going to love watching lead these youngsters.

Where this team's youth will really show is on the blueline, which may also be where this team struggles. There's a lot of firepower there, but looking at a kid like Medicine Hat's Kris Russell, who, though undoubtedly talented, is only 160 pounds. Cam Barker, who played this season with the Chicago Blackhawks, and Sasha Pokoluk will definitely provide some muscle, but there's no Dion Phaneuf here.

UPDATE Apparently Switzerland is fielding two entries this year. If that's not sloppy, I don't know what is (the missing team is Latvia, who I'll be seeing a lot of in Kamloops as they're part of Group B).

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