2008 world junior championship
Down goes Canada
Canada's 20-game win and lengthy shutout streak at the world junior championship came crumbling down in the third period against Sweden on Saturday.
As far as I'm concerned, a loss makes things a little more interesting.
Twenty consecutive wins over four years, and three gold medals in a row, is pretty impressive, but this is a comparatively green entry with only two returning players, and it makes sense there'll be some adversity this time around.
Canada's next and final round-robin game will be a cakewalk against Denmark, who were pounded 10-1 by Sweden in their last game and are headed back to Division I play next year, and a 3-1 record has the Canucks waiting for the outcome from Monday's Sweden-Czech tilt. A win by the Swedes gives them an undefeated record and the top seed in Group A (and a bye to the semi-finals), but a Czech win means a three-way tie at the top between a trio of teams.
In Group B, Team USA is undefeated after a big win today over Russia, and the Americans face Finland on Monday in their final round-robin game. I believe the U.S. has already clinched top spot on that side, which would mean a bye to the semis.
On the outs: Slovakia and Kazakhstan have already been put into the relegation playdown, with Denmark and Switzerland likely soon to join them.
What you need to know, in short, is that the real elimination portion of the tournament doesn't kickoff until Wednesday, and its at that point that some pretty good teams will be walking away empty handed.
That could definitely include Canada, as it's looking like they'll have Russia or Finland in a sudden-death game, and they'll need a better effort than they put in for the third period today.
As I said, things are getting interesting.
UPDATE For reference sake, here's a look at the tie-break format the IIHF uses in this tournament to decide playoff seedings.
UPDATE The Hockey News' Ken Campbell called this year's event a snoozer before it even started.
Labels: world jrs