by Corey Pronman
Final Score: 5-1 Finland Shot Totals: 44-29 Finland
Panthers Joonas Donskoi: 1G and 2 Pts
Red Wing Teemu Pulkkinen: 2A
Final Score: 10-1 Canada Shot Totals: 43-32 Canada
Lightning Brett Connolly: 1G and 2 Pts
Predators Ryan Ellis: 3A
Sabres Marcus Foligno: 1G and 2 Pts
Panthers Erik Gudbranson: 2G and 3 Pts
Panthers Quinton Howden: 2A
Blue Jackets Ryan Johansen: 2A
Canadiens Louis Leblanc: 1G and 2 Pts
Kings Brayden Schenn: 4G and 5 Pts
Notes and Thoughts from the day:
- Both games today were pretty much dominated by the victor for a large portion if not the whole game. In these kinds of games, scouts get good looks at the players’ skating and puck-moving ability seeing as one side usually has possession for a significant portion of the contest. However evaluating things like hockey sense, game intensity etc. somewhat goes out the window when the game’s result is determined before the second intermission.
- You knew it was coming, but after Canada manhandled Norway the cries for an 8 team tournament came out. Here’s my response to the issue: It’s not happening and please stop asking for it. The IIHF has a set structure in place for not only the U-20 tournament in Buffalo, but five other ones at separate divisions of the tournament. There are over 40 nations that play IIHF U-20 hockey in the six U-20 tournaments with promotion and relegation through the divisions done in each tournament. Amending the upper divisions’ ten teams to eight would require a restructuring of the entire U-20 Championship. It’s not out of the realm of possibility, but it’s much more complicated than, “Let’s just remove two teams.” The knee-jerk alternative would be to put something like an extra bye in the Div. 1 level for their playoffs, except they don’t have a playoff system they simply do a round-robin of the six teams. My point being, the ten teams thing isn’t going away anytime soon. Just about everyone playing, watching or who knew the Canada-Norway game was going on knew how the game was going to turn out. If you don’t like watching blowout hockey, don’t tune in.
- Three suspensions came in today from the IIHF for hits to the head during games on the 28th. Zack Kassian got a game for his hit on Petr Senkerik, Peter Hrasko got two for his hit on Jerry D’Amigo and Martin Marincin got three for his hit on Jason Zucker. Based on IIHF’s strict standards on head shots the length of all these make sense, in fact I’m surprised Marcinin an Oilers prospect and one of Slovakia’s top players, didn’t get more. His elbow/hit on Zucker was vicious and Zucker was completely unsuspecting.
- Panthers’ Joonas Donskoi has quietly had an excellent tournament thus far. He’s a solid skater and puck-handler who doesn’t have a very high ceiling, but has enough of a skill set to be a notable prospect. He was selected 99th overall by Florida in 2010, but I though going into the draft there was a partial argument for him to go in the mid to late second round.
- 2011 eligible Tobias Rieder coming into tonight had been very quiet. As a 17 year old in a U-20 competition it isn’t exactly a knock on him but it was nice to see some offense from him today as he flashed some skill on the lone German goal of the day.
- Coyotes’ first round pick Mark Visentin was solid in his first action between the pipes. He hasn’t played real game action since the pre-tournament games so it was impressive that he was focused and on point. Visentin was consistently in the right position and staying square with the puck. He may not end up playing again barring an Olivier Roy breakdown, but he’s the kind of goalie who will prepare himself as much as he can mentally and physically should he get the call.
- So ya…. Brayden Schenn is alright.
- As aforementioned due to the blowout nature of the game, the environment isn’t ideal for player evaluation. However some players on the Canadian backend, such as Dylan Olsen and Simon Despres definitely didn’t have their best games. With Calvin De Haan hurt they had to log a lot of minutes, but they still weren’t the headiest players out there.
Two days of preliminary action remaining before the medal round. The most notable game on the 30th is the Czech Republic playing Sweden. Will continue my coverage of the tournament on twitter and here at Hockey Prospectus. For all thoughts, questions, comments and/or concerns feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.