Canadians easily outmatch Norwegians
CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency
|Norway's goaltender Lars Volden reacts after giving up a goal to Canada. (REUTERS/Brendan McDermid)
BUFFALO - Norwegian goaltender Steffan Soberg performed what amounted to an MMA tap out.
After Team Canada’s Brayden Schenn drifted one by Soberg to make it 5-1 Wednesday night around the 15-minute mark of the first period, Soberg picked himself up disgustedly from the ice and made a beeline for the Norwegian bench.
There wasn’t any delay, no time for Norwegian coach Geir Hoff to put out the hook.
Soberg just hooked himself.
“I had a rough start. Eight shots (actually it was 12), five goals. It was hard to come back and have a great game after that,” said Soberg. “Nothing was working for me today. I was a little nervous.
“They took their chances and scored on most of them. It’s a good team. A hard game for us. It was hard against such a good team.”
Watching Canada pummel the Norwegians doesn’t do anybody any good, really, expect maybe for the Canadian fans who got to see their team score a bunch of goals, but what glory is there in beating up on Norway?
It’s like making Buffalo jokes.
Like scoring on poor Soberg Wednesday night.
Wednesday is hump day, both in the real world and in the insulated environs of this world junior championship. With Canada’s predictable thumping of the overmatched Norwegians, the games from here on in are much less predictable, starting with Canada’s New Year’s Eve game against Sweden which will determine which team will advance straight to the semi-final and which will have to play a quarter-final game.
Form has held for the most part, but from here on in, it will be interesting to see how the pre-tournament favourites - Canada and the defending gold medallists from America - handle the injuries and suspensions which have poked holes in their respective lineups.
The misconducts and suspensions have been almost as numerous as chicken wings. Canada’s Zack Kassian got an extra game for his shoulder hit to the upper body area of Czech Peter Senkerik. Kassian missed Wednesday night’s game against Norway because of his automatic one-game for incurring a match penalty after Senkerik was carted off the ice on a stretcher. IIHF disciplinarian Dan Marouelli tacked on another game meaning Kassian won’t be around for Friday night’s game against the Swedes, either.
“That’s the risk you take having a guy like Kassian on your team,” said one NHL scout. “That’s the way he plays. He was running around looking for that kind of hit earlier in the game and just missed a couple of times. The challenge for the coach now is to make sure he doesn’t cross the line and hurt his team.”
It’s not a stretch to say Kassian’s hit was of the predatory nature. He nailed Senkerik - who had his head down - after Senkerik had gotten rid of the puck, though in real time, it wasn’t much after he had moved it.
I don’t have a problem with Marouelli giving him an extra game.
After researching a series on concussions and their long-term impact on concussed players - especially young players - it’s clear to me the message needs to be sent hits to the head area of an intentional nature have to be eradicated.
Kassian and anybody else can still lay on the body - please, do - just don’t hit the other guy in the head.
The Americans look like they could be without Jason Zucker - another victim of a hit to the head - and forwards Brock Nelson and Jeremy Morin. Canada faced Norway without Kassian, defenceman Calvin de Haan and forwards Jayden Schwartz and Cody Eakin, a late scratch.
Sweden could be without forward Gabriel Landeskog, who’s been battling an ankle sprain and the flu.
With apologies to the kids from Norway and Germany, now the tournament gets interesting.