Tuesday, January 02, 2007

World Junior Hockey Championships- Preliminary Round

The World Junior Hockey Championships are well underway. The round robin part of the tournament has completed. Here are its results:

Group A: Leksand,Sweden

1. Canada They have been the class of this group going undefeated and outscoring opposition by a margin of 14-4. Offensively they have been balanced and lead by Kris Russell (Columbus prospect), Steve Downie (Philadelphia prospect) and defenceman Kristopher Letang (Pittsburgh prospect). Carey Price (Montreal prospect) has offered very good goaltending.

2. Sweden The host team who was handed their only regulation loss in their opener against Canada. If they find themseleves winning big in the tournament playoffs it will likely be thanks to Patric Hornqvist (Nashville prospect) and Linus Omark (who is undrafted in the NHL).

3. USA They were handed an opening day loss to Germany and their spot in the playoffs looked quesitonable, but they battled back. They have been led by Pat Kane (2007 draft eligible), Nathan Gerbe (Buffalo prospect) and Erik Johnson (St Louis prospect).

4. Germany They shocked USA at the beginning of the tournament, but cdouldn't grab a playoff berth. They were led offensively by Felix Schutz (Buffalo prospect).

5. Slovakia They were outclassed in the tournament, losing all their games and getting outscored 19-6 in the tournament.

Group B: Mora, Sweden

1. Russia They have been the best team so fart in the tournament going undefeated and outscoring opposition 20-3. Offensively, they have been led by Alexei Cherfepanov (2007 draft eligible) and Alexander Bumagin (Edmonton prospect). Semen Varlamov (Washington prospect) has provided top goaltending.

2. Finland This has been a top heavy offensive team with Perttu Lindgren (Dallas prospect) leading the tournament in scoring so far. Mikko Lehtonen (Boston prospect) has also been scoring.

3. Czech Republic The third playoff team in this group. Vladimir Sobotka (Boston prospect) and Tomas Kana (St Louis prospect) have led the way offensively.

4. Switzerland An also ran, led offensively by Juraj Simek (Vancouver prospect).

5. Belarus Shocked Finland on opening day, but was then overmatched. Led by Sergei Kostistyn (Montreal prospect).

Today, Finland plays the US in a quartfinal and Sweden plays the Czech Republic in the other. The winners meet Canada and Russia respectively tomorrow, with the medal games on Friday.

Why isn't Hartsford giving McArdle any icetime? Seems to me being drafted 1st round 20th overall in 2005 would deem him atleast more than the under 5 minutes he has received so far.
He was just traded to the Vancouver Giants and it would seem they see some value in his abilities and his attitude of giving 150% everytime he's on the ice.
Every member of Team Canada is a top prospect. Many first first round picks just like McArdle. Those who were not picked as early as McArdle might be now if they had the draft to do over again.

McArdle is one of the few forwards on the Canadian team who has scored at less than point per game rate this season on his junior team(s). He has 24 points in 32 WHL games which he has split between Moose Jaw and Vancouver. As one of the lowest scoring Canadian forwards one might expect he gets less ice time than most players. Given that Canada has won all their games they have had little reason to try to switch things up and re-assign ice time.

Had I coached Team Canada I might have given some of the "black aces" a bit more ice time against Germany and Slovakia, but I don't see any reason to fault Craig Hartsburg for keeping Kendall McArdle as a utility forward given the other choices he has available.
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