Here’s the TLDR from the WCoH. The semi-finals start Saturday. Finland, and by extension Sebastian Aho and Teuvo “Taco Targaryen” Teravainen aren’t in it. Neither is Team North America and that is really, really sad.
Here’s the good:
Aho and Taco were relatively decent players on a very bad Finnish team. They didn’t have many chances to make impact plays, and none were converted (Finland scored all of 2 goals in 4 games at the World Cup). Yet Teravainen flashed some impressive speed and an ability to push the game like few other Finns did. Aho, likewise, continued to show the hockey sense and playmaking ability that have many believing the 19-year-old will be an impact player for the Hurricanes from day 1. Both also showed some decent two-way ability which, seeing as the Finns played in their own zone most of the time, was probably the area I was most impressed with. Still, because Finland sucked, they now come back to Canes Camp a few days early, and that can’t be a bad thing.
Here’s the bad:
Both Aho and Taco are really small. Teravainen has about 6 pounds on Aho, and both weigh in under 180 pounds. They can both still make an impact in the NHL, but Aho especially needs to put on about 10-15 more pounds of muscle before he realizes his full NHL potential. Teravainen has the speed to mitigate his size a bit better, but they both get knocked off the puck pretty easily. I didn’t see any next-level shooting ability from either of them either, and the Hurricanes are really hurting for players not named Jeff Skinner who can put the puck in the net
Here’s the random:
I see a lot of potential in a Taco-Lindholm-Aho line, but I also see that as a one-year thing. The reason being is that Sebastian Aho is the PERFECT linemate for top prospect Julien Gauthier. Gauthier, to be at his most effective, will need someone who can get him the puck in the right spot. That is Aho. I have this little fairy dreamworld where a top line of Aho and Gauthier centered by a higher-level Elias Lindholm will lead us back to Lord Stanley’s door. Hey, it could happen.
Here’s the funny:
Tweet from Phil Kessel towards the end of Team USA’s 6-1 blowout loss to Canada.
Other Cup Notes
Sadly, Team North America was eliminated after the Finns were knocked off by the Russians earlier on Thursday. Easily the most fun team to watch in the tournament, the under-23 squad beat a very good Sweden team in their final game, but that five minute stretch of hologram Matt Murray really came back to bite them as Ovechkin and the Russians advanced.
The semi-finals will have Team Russia taking on Team Canada, on Saturday at 7 pm, and then Team Sweden taking on the surprise story Team Europe on Sunday at 1pm. The winners start a best-of-three finals series on Tuesday.
Team USA went 0-3 in the tournament following a 4-3 loss to a terrible Czech Republic team. Nobody responsible for creating/coaching that team (yes you, Tortorella) should be part of Team USA again. Ever.
Is anyone else way too excited for Hurricanes preseason hockey on Monday? Go Canes!