Burakovsky at Team Sweden camp (Photo credit: Claes Hall/Skanskan Dagbladet).
Washington Capitals 2013 first-round pick Andre Burakovsky created a little bit of controversy before the World Juniors in his hometown of Malmo. In an interview to Skanskan Dagbladet’s Christer Cederlund, the shifty Swedish winger said that Tre Kronor is better than the annual favorites, Team Canada.
Here are Burakovsky’s quotes, as translated by friend-of-the-blog Jacob Ware:
Burakovsky: I know what the Canadians bring and when I look at what they have and what we have, I think we have a better team on paper. We will see how they play and how it goes for us.
Cederlund: What do Swedes do better than Canadians?
Burakovsky: Canada has a few “skill players” but the rest are just hard-hitting, grinding guys. We’re more well-rounded, more skill to go with physical play. We also have much better goaltenders.
Sick burn, Andre.
The Canadians, as per their nature, didn’t hesitate to respond. Here’s Mark Masters of TSN:
“We heard that,” said Canadian forward Charles Hudon, a Montreal Canadiens prospect. “It is motivation. I’ve never seen two papers play on the ice. We’re ready for that game and I think they are too.”
However, both of Burakovsky’s junior teammates on Team Canada, wunderkind forward Connor McDavid and behemoth defenseman Adam Pelech, took the comment more lightly than their countrymen:
“He can be a little bit cocky,” McDavid noted with a chuckle, “but he’s entitled to his own opinion.”
“He’s a really good guy,” said Pelech. “I like him a lot. I haven’t talked to him recently, but obviously I heard about the comments and I guess I’ll shoot him a message. I’m looking forward to talking to him about that.”
The impressive part is that Burakovsky backed up his words. The 18-year-old scored the game-winning goal and recorded an assist in a pre-tournament friendly against Canada, a 3-0 shutout for Sweden. Another Caps prospect, 2012 seventh-round pick Christian Djoos played on Sweden’s top defense pairing during the game.
Early in the second period, Burakovsky scored on a fantastic pass from behind by Jacob De La Rose that fooled everyone, leaving the Caps prospect in front of a wide open net. Less than three minutes into the third, Burakovsky added another point, this time an assist Lukas Bengtsson‘s goal that gave the Swedes the 3-0 lead that they were able to maintain for the rest of the game. Burakovsky’s highlight’s begin at 0:45.
Bob McKenzie had some high praise for Caps prospect, calling him a poster boy for Sweden’s high-speed, high-skill game. His analysis can also be found in a video above. You can also watch the full game via TSN.
In the interview with Cederlund, Burakovsky also talked about Lucas Wallmark and De La Rose, his two linemates for the WJC.
“We have played together in the past and played very well,” he said. “We played together in the Ivan Hlinka tournament and racked up points.”
“Jacob has great speed, he’s very strong, can get me the puck so I can maybe score some goals,” Burakovsky added. “Lucas is incredibly smart, makes passes no one else can.”
Well, as evidenced by the game against Canada, the trio is already clicking.