The World Cup of Hockey is a strange place of quality hockey that we both do and do not want. Case in point, I blame the entirety USA’s shocking 3-0 opening loss to Europe solely on the management not selecting Justin Faulk, when, in truth, I’m very glad he’s not playing and risking injury over a tournament that doesn’t matter. Also I really don’t care about country loyalty, because this tournament is ALL about Team North America. First things first though.
Following our Finnish Canes is Frustrating
First of all, Team Finland might be the worst team in the tournament. North America slaughtered them 4-0, and it was painful to watch. The Finns’ defense is awful. They also refuse to give ice time to Teuvo Teravainen, and that’s just annoying. On the plus side, our boy Sebastian Aho is seeing increasing amounts of ice time, logging over 15 minutes of action. He started out strong, drawing a penalty on Shane Gostisbehere on his first shift, and continued to show some impressive passing skills when he had the puck. The problem was, he rarely had it. Team North America was a puck possession juggernaut, so Aho and the rest of the Finns spent most of the game chasing McDavid, MacKinnon and Co. around. To sum up Aho, here’s a Good, a Bad and an Ugly/Funny
Good: Aho continues to show an excellent motor, and play creating abilities. He set up a couple of nice chances for teammates that weren’t finished, and his puck movement skills are absolutely excellent. He also doesn’t play scared at all, mixing it up on corner pucks with the likes of 6’4” behemoth Seth Jones.
Bad: Aho isn’t Connor McDavid. This is obvious, but relevant, as McDavid made Aho and 3 other Finns look foolish on a weaving drive to the net. Team North America might be the fastest, most skilled team outside of Canada, and they really put Aho’s talent in a bit more perspective.
Ugly/Funny: Watching Aho try to hit people is a bit confusing. He either has terrible aim, or he needs to stop letting them know he’s coming, but he hasn’t finished a hit yet. He’s going to need to put on some serious muscle in the next few years before he can realize his real potential for the Canes.
Elsewhere Around the World Cup of Hockey
- Team USA/Iceland got stomped by Team Europe. I think Team Europe was really underrated going in, due to assumed chemistry concerns, but they dominated the US in every aspect of this game. Team USA is a big team which, while also very skilled, is not really fast. Marian Gaborik, Franz Nielsen and the Europeans easily outskated the US, earning several 2-on-1 and 2-on-0 opportunities, and converting on them. Jonathan Quick got hung out to dry. How’s Justin Faulk looking now USA?
- I didn’t get to watch the Sweden-Russia game yesterday, but apparently it had an amazing ending. Sweden had a 2-0 lead throughout most of the game, before Alexander Ovechkin almost singlehandedly tied it in the final minute. After scoring with 33 seconds left, he had a puck bounce of his glove into the net with 8 seconds remaining, but officials ruled it a hand pass.
- IF YOU WATCH NOTHING ELSE, WATCH TEAM NORTH AMERICA PLAY. Sorry, just wanted to emphasize that. Wow, that is a ridiculously skilled team. You will not likely see the likes of McDavid, Eichel, Ekblad and Matthews playing together again, and it is a fantastic viewing experience for any hockey lover.
- Canada beat the Czech Republic 6-0. Who’d have thought?