On Saturday morning, Filip Forsberg and Team Sweden will face off against Riley Barber and Team USA in the World Junior Championships. In the photo above, taken by Grantland’s Katie Baker, you see Forsberg (second from right) and his teammates holding up a newspaper reading, “No More Miracles For You.”
We’ll see about that. Not to be partisan, but I’m firmly on #teamusa come Saturday morning at 8 am. Sweden’s great and everything– with their fish and chefs and Jens Lekman, but it’s USA’s game to lose.
Riley Barber scores his second goal of the game. (Photo credit: Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images).
At 4am EST Wednesday morning, on the other side of the globe, the United States junior national team blew out the Czech Republic, 7-0. Caps prospect Riley Barber had his second big game of the tournament, this time scoring two goals after being held off the scoreboard for the previous three.
Forsberg chases down Markus Granlund. (Photo credit: Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Caps prospects Filip Forsberg and Christian Djoos had a big day as Sweden beat Finland 7-4 on Monday. Though the Swedish team didn’t need a victory to advance (they already guaranteed themselves a first-place finish in Group A when Switzerland forced the Czech Republic to overtime), they took care of business with their nordic rivals, eliminating Finland from medal contention of the 2013 WJC. Forsberg, Sweden’s captain, scored his second goal of the tournament, and Caps 7th-round pick Djoos had two assists.
Captain Filip Forsberg leads his team to a convincing victory over the Czechs. (Photo credit: Andrey Starostin/Scanpix)
On Wednesday, in his first World Juniors game as team captain, Washington Capitals top prospect Filip Forsberg scored a goal in Sweden’s 4-1 win over the Czech Republic. It was Forsberg’s first goal of his WJC career, after getting just one assist during Sweden’s championship run last year.
Kuznetsov poses with the second-place silver platter. (Photo credit: Francois Laplante)
After defeating Canada 6-5 Tuesday, Team Russia returned to Calgary’s Saddledome on Thursday night to take on Sweden in the WJC’s gold medal game. Russia struggled from the get-go and only found their game in spurts during the third period.
The shot statistics tell the tale. Russia went without a shot on goal for the first 12:34 of the game, and at the end of the first period Sweden had outshot them 17 to 3.
The second period was even worse, as Russia managed to throw only one puck on net. By the end of the third period, Sweden held a 50 to 16 shot advantage. The game, however, remained scoreless.
In overtime, after outshooting Russia 8-1, Mika Zibanejad scored the golden goal on a breakaway, giving Sweden its first U-20 championship in 31 years. Caps prospect and captain of the Russian WJC team, Evgeny Kuznetsov, returned to the bench, crouched over, and weeped.
Ovi happy, Alzner sad. Pic’s blurry, but yet so very, very perfect. (Photo credit: Tarik El-Bashir)
Karl Alzner has been hating on everything Russian over the past week. First, he gave us low marks on RMNB’s “Caps Fans and Bad Habits” post. More recently, he bet against Team Russia in the WJC and the only Caps prospect in the tournament, Evgeny Kuznetsov. Why? So he could show allegiance to his Canadian homeland. Deplorable.
And that’s why the humility train made a quick stop at Kettler Capitals IcePlex. Alzner had to wear an ugly Russia jersey from the pits of Alex Ovechkin’s closet. Alzner wore the unsightly thing all practice long and described it as “the worst morning of my life.”
“Canada, I can’t hear you.” (Photo credit: Elena Rusko)
One year ago in the WJC gold medal game, Canada held what seemed to be an insurmountable 3-0 lead over Team Russia heading into the third period. During the second intermission, Head Coach Valery Bragin pleaded with his team to respond, and respond they did. Russia stormed back– riding three assists by Evgeny Kuznetsov to win the gold medal game 5-3 and shock the hockey world.
Entering the 2012 WJC, Russia intended to prove that last year’s win over Canada was no fluke. Despite being the defending champions, the team still held underdog status. Kuznetsov, Russia’s captain and the only returning player from 2011, netted his second WJC hat trick in three games, pushing Russia to a 6-5 win.
After the game, Allhockey.ru’s Andrey Osadchenko spoke to Kuznetsov and filmed his entire Q/A with reporters. Below the jump, I offer a translation.
Before facing Canada in the semifinal round of the World Junior Championship, Caps prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov was asked, ”Do you want to spoil the holiday season for Canada?” Kuznetsov replied, “No, I rather want Russia to keep on drinking.”
Kuznetsov backed up those words with 4 points (assist and a hat trick) in a 6-5 win over tourney host Team Canada. Combining this game and last year’s Russia-Canada game, Kuznetsov has 3 goals, 4 assists, and 7 points. His overall tally in the WJC tourney with one game remaining is 6 goals, 7 assists, and 13 points. The 19-year-old leads the tournament in scoring despite only registering points in only two of Russia’s six WJC games.
Here are the video highlights from Kuznetsov’s big night in Calgary.
Thanks to his nine-point game versus the Latvians, Evgeny Kuznetsov was already the talk of the World Junior Championship before the semifinal game on Tuesday night, but his star-making performance in Russia’s 6-5 victory over Canada has made him the premiere young hockey talent in the world.
The Canadians recovered from a second period meltdown — which ended with them down 6-1– to mount a dramatic comeback in the third with 4 unanswered goals in 5 minutes. The game ended before Canada could close the gap.