Team Russia put up a valiant effort but lost to Canada 5-4 in the World Junior Championship. Silver sucks, but they got an awesome consolation prize. The team stuck around for two days in Toronto and hung out with fellow countrymen Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov after the Caps’ morning skate Wednesday.
It looks like it was fun.
On Monday night, the 2015 World Junior Championship final was held between Canada and Russia, and it was one a hell of a game. After going up 5-1, Canada gave up 3 unanswered goals to Russia in the second period. In the third, Canada bent but didn’t break, holding on until the final buzzer to win 5-4.
The chirping between Caps players was fast and furious on Twitter during the final, though mostly between roommates Tom Wilson and Michael Latta.
Madison Bowey and Team Canada will try to bring Wolrd Junior supremacy to Canada on home soil. (Photo: Hockey Canada)
On Friday, the 2015 World Juniors will be underway in Montreal and Toronto. Two groups of five teams will be battling for ten days to determine the strongest junior team on the planet. It’s arguably the most meaningful and most exciting annual international hockey tournament.
The Washington Capitals will not be well represented at the tournament unlike in years past. After the club decided to not release Andre Burakovsky in a controversial move, only three Caps prospects will be playing at the tournament: Canadian defenseman Madison Bowey and two Czech nationals, forward Jakub Vrana and goalie Vitek Vanecek.
Here’s a photo of Andre Burakovsky not playing hockey. (Photo: @alex_prewitt)
Scratched for the last three games, Caps rookie center Andre Burakovsky seemed like the perfect candidate to play in the World Junior Championship and regain his confidence. Team Sweden head coach Rikard Gronborg added “Andre has clearly stated to us that he wants to participate in the tournament.”
Well, hold up. TSN’s Bob McKenzie tweeted on Thursday night that the Caps don’t plan to let Burakovsy attend the tournament. The Caps themselves say no decision has been made yet.
Photo: Jeff Roberson
Caps rookie Andre Burakovsky was scratched for the first time in his young career on Saturday night. On Monday, Burakovsky skated with the team’s scratches during practice. After averaging a point per game in opening weeks of the season, the dynamic 19-year-old center seems to have hit a wall.
Now it appears the Capitals, who have a ton of veteran depth at forward, are considering letting Burakovsky leave the team in mid-December to play in the 2015 World Junior Championship held in Montreal and Toronto– at least according to Team Sweden head coach Rikard Gronborg.
After Team Sweden announced their preliminary WJC roster, which included an unconfirmed Burakovsky, Gronborg held a press conference at the Swedish Hockey Federation in Stockholm. It aired live on swehockey.se.
Photo credit: Lars Dareberg
Washington Capitals 2013 first round pick Andre Burakovsky was fantastic in the 2014 World Junior Championships. The 18-year-old was a point per game player for Team Sweden, scoring three goals and tallying seven points in seven tournament games.
Burakovsky had two shots in Sunday’s heartbreaking loss to Finland in overtime of the gold medal game.
Kent Jonsson of the local Malmo newspaper Sydsvenska Dagbladet caught up with Burakovsky after Team Sweden’s crushing loss in the Gold Medal game. He was upset.
Photo credit: Francois Laplante/HHOF-IIHF Images
Ever since Malmo, Sweden was named host of the 2014 World Junior Championship several years ago, Swedish prospects have circled this date on their calendars, hoping they could win gold in front of their countrymen. Those are huge expectations for teenagers to bear.
On Sunday, Washington Capitals prospects Andre Burakovsky and Christian Djoos felt the stinging heartbreak that comes with those expectations being crushed in front of their hometown fans, losing in overtime of the title game. Sweden, which was arguably the most talented team in the tournament, fell to Finland in sudden death after Rasmus Ristolainen took the puck hard to the net and scored.
Many players on Team Sweden openly wept after the buzzer including team captain and former Capitals prospect Filip Forsberg. Forsberg, who was traded for Martin Erat and Michael Latta during last year’s trade deadline, was named MVP of the tournament and also to the tournament All-Star team. Though, judging by the photos, it did little to console him.
Sad Swedes are sad.
Andre Burakovsky rushes the puck up the ice. (Photo credit: Francois Laplante/HHOF-IIHF Images)
In the gold medal game of the 2014 World Juniors, Team Sweden faced Team Finland. As the favourites and the hosts, the Swedes probably didn’t expect a cakewalk against arch-rivals Finland, who had embarrassed Canada in the semifinals, but what happened next may have surprised even the Finnish fans.
Suomi kicked the game off with a shocker just 28 seconds in, Esa Lindell opened the scoring. Tre Kronor were increasing the pressure, but it took them more than 25 minutes to tie on a goal by Lucas Wallmark. Not even a minute later, Finland came right back with a goal of their own on a great set up by Teuvo Teravainen, Saku Maenalanen beat Oskar Dansk. The Sweden again took the full control of the game, but had problems finding the net. With only nine minutes to go, a powerplay bomb by Capitals prospect Christian Djoos tied the game and forced overtime.
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