Editor, White Cover Magazine
You’re good, Canada, but you’re not that good.
Sunday morning (and 1:30 a.m. in Vancouver is stretching the definition of morning), the Canadians barely held on to knock off the Americans for the millionth time in the round robin of the World Junior Hockey Championship, winning 2-1 and closing the game out shorthanded.
Malcolm Subban was tall and then taller in net, stopping 36 of 37 shots and looking juuuuuuuust a little bit better than John Gibson at the other end. Through the first two games of this tournament, Subban had been Canada’s shakiest — but, not weakest — link. He looked rattled and crackable every time the Slovaks or the Germans carried the puck into Canada’s zone, and fought the puck every time it bounced ever to threateningly through his crease.
But, on Sunday, he was all Canada had. The Canadians two best players — Jonathan Huberdeau and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins — finished the game in the box, proving once and for all that these Canucks are just kids. They’re not always mature enough to keep their cool in tight situations, and one could easily say they only won because the Americans were just as foolish.
Still, Canada failed to convert on 5-on-3 after 5-on-3, and powerplay after powerplay. Gibson and the American defence turned away Canada’s predictable offensive strategy.
You could envision exactly what U.S. coach Phil Housley was saying to his players:
“Boys, this is Canada. They’ll bring it in our zone. They’ll make a drop pass through their legs to their defence. They’ll pass it between their d-men, and then to Nugent-Hopkins because they have a quote to give him four touches per powerplay. Then, they’ll let go a one-timer and miss the net, and we’ll be even strength.”
The Canadians are great. The Americans are faster, but without the conviction. The Russians are stupendous and — even worse for Canada — they haven’t hit their potential yet.
Yes, Canada, you are very good. But, don’t go thinking you’re that good, because the other teams don’t think you are.