by Corey Pronman
Happy New Year to all our readers! What better way to kick off a new year then with hockey stats, scores and prospect notes?! Well at least that’s what I tell myself…
Final Score: 6-0 Finland Shot Totals: 43-17 Finland
Wild Erik Haula: 2G
Red Wing Teemu Pulkkinen: 2A
Final Score: 6-5 (SO) Sweden Shot Totals: 42-34 Sweden
Islanders Calvin De Haan: 2A
Oilers Curtis Hamilton: 2G
Blue Jackets Ryan Johansen: 3A
Thrashers Carl Klingberg: 2G
Kings Brayden Schenn: 1G & 2 Pts
Final Score: 8-3 Russia Shot Totals: 36-18 Russia
Capitals Evgeny Kuznetsov: 1G and 3 Pts
Capitals Dmitri Orlov: 1G and 3 Pts
Blues Vladimir Tarasenko: 1G and 4 Pts
Final Score: 2-1 USA Shot Totals: 42-26 USA
Notes and thoughts from the day:
- Whatever tidbit of salvation Slovakia could have regained for the tournament, was lost from the word go in their game versus the Fins. Finland thoroughly dominated the puck possession, shots and chances totals. The three most notable players for Finland were Erik Haula, Teemu Pulkkinen and Joonas Donskoi. I’ve discussed Donskoi and Pulkkinen in previous notes, but in bears repeating that the two of them have been terrific throughout the tournament. Donskoi is a solid all-around player, while Pulkkinen has some electric tools with a shot that will score goals in the NHL if he makes it to that level. Haula who since being selected in the 7th round in 2009 by Minnesota, has been a fine offensive weapon in the USHL and NCAA. He moves well, is a good physical player with decent hands and showed some nice finish roofing a backhand while being pressured.
- Thrashers’ Carl Klingberg was terrific in this game. He’s an above-average skater who really jetting all over Canada with a good shot that is hard and accurate and was evident in his two goal display. His frame is filled out well and he shows no restraint from playing physical. He was a well deserved player of the game for Sweden.
- Red Wings’ Calle Jarnkrok didn’t have the multi-point night he had the day before, but he still looked like Sweden’s best offensive player talent-wise. His all-around movement is very smooth and efficient and he showed the puck skills to dangle around several Canadian defenders. Detroit fans should be nothing but pleased with how Jarnkrok has performed in Buffalo.
- On the other hand I have been less than impressed with Simon Despres in this tournament. His hockey sense is still an issue and even though he’s made strides in that department it’s still a concern. While Despres he has a pretty high ceiling, he’s a while away from reaching it until his decision-making improves. Today’s game versus Sweden was just a prime example of this.
- I’d comment on the goaltending during the Canada-Sweden game, but this is a family site. Lehner had an occasional good moment or two though and it’s obvious his best asset is his body.
- There were a lot of impressive performances for the Americans versus the Swiss such as Toronto’s Jerry D’Amigo, New Jersey’s Jon Merrill, and NY Rangers’ Chris Kreider. However the most impressive American in my opinion was San Jose prospect Charlie Coyle. Those who’ve read here before probably think I’m getting paid by his agent by how much I’ve written about him, but the guy keeps on turning in quality performances. He’s a plus physical player, with hands, finish ability and even showed an acceleration burst I haven’t seen much from in the past. D’Amigo did a lot of the little thing right, he won battles, forechecked well and showed above-average defensive awareness and hustle on the backcheck. Merrill was the steady defenseman he’s been all tournament, and Kreider showed some of the explosiveness that his game possesses, although there was the odd moment where he made a mad decision or errant pass.
- 2011 prospect Sven Bartschi had a good bounce back game against the Americans. He’s been an invisible perimeter player for the duration of the WJHC, but today he got involved physically, forced turnovers, played well on the PK-even at one point causing a turnover on a 5 on 3 kill that resulted in an odd-man break. The skating and puck skills are already there, but if he can bring those added elements it will surely help his draft stock.
- Team Russia has been underwhelming just about all tournament, but they came to play versus the Czechs in a must-win situation for their tournament lives. They gave up an early goal quick to go down 1-0 in the opening minutes, but from that point on it was all Russia. Their top players such as Kitsyn, Kuznetsov, Orlov, Sobchenko and Tarasenko played to the level that has come to be expected of them and the game was wrapped up after eight goals through forty minutes. It’s a shame to see Ducks prospect Igor Bobkov stapled to the bench after being to the opening night goaltender versus Canada as I was hoping to catch more of him, but it looks like Russia will ride Dmitri Shikin until the end.
And with that the preliminaries are over. I will be writing up a column previewing the medal round, as well as wrapping up the tournament thus far. The tournament breaks on the first, so everyone enjoy your New Year day, watch some nighttime Winter Classic action, and I’ll be back on January 2nd with more on the WJHC.