I was impressed by the smarts and the work-ethic of Canadian winger Chris Neilsen. He is very versatile, gives his all for the team and doesn’t ignore any part of the game. 16-year-old defenseman Jay Bouwmeester certainly looks like someone who can evolve into a world-class player. It is very rare that a player who’s 6’4″ can be such a magnificent skater.
Jason Spezza also looked good in the spot duty he got and in hindsight maybe he should have got all the icetime Mike Ribeiro, who was very disappointing, got. Josef Vasicek was a more consistent contributor that Milan Kraft, and deserved the All-Star nod ahead of the more inconsistent Kraft. The choice of Rick DiPietro as best goalie was right on. He was very solid, a true star in this tournament.
Of the 2000-prospects, Marian Gaborik shined, but also his smart all-round center Tomas Kopecky. Dany Heatley will surely be a high-pick in Calgary this summer. He looked better than highly-touted Jamie Lundmark and Mark Bell, picked 11th and 8th respectively, did. Heatley can put the puck in the net and has a deadly shot.
The WJC’s are just two days away. The tournament is set to start in
Skellefteå and Umeå, Sweden, on Christmas Day. This year there isn’t one
team everyone agrees being the clear favourites to win it all, which makes
for a more interesting tournament. The Swedes should nevertheless go into
the tournament as favourites, closely followed by the Russians, Canadians
and Finns, in that order.
Sweden, knowing that it was high time to make a serious bid to win the
gold this year as hosts, has adopted a new strategy this year to help the
players considered for the JWC squad. The main idea is to make sure that no
player warms the bench all season before going to the JWC’s to have a
significant role. So, in coalition with Elitserien club teams the Swedish Ice
Hockey Federation created a rule which allows the players considered for the
JWC’s to leave their Elitserien team on loan if they are not getting into
the lineup there to play for teams in the Allsvenskan instead, which is the
level of senior hockey competition one notch below Elitserien. A significant
number of the players on Team Sweden are players who have benefited from Read more»