There are a total of eight current Canucks and prospects at the World Championship tournament in Minsk, Belarus, which is nearing the end of the preliminary round. With only some of the games being televised in Canada, you likely haven’t been keeping up with the Canucks’ exploits, so here’s a comprehensive update of all five countries that feature Canucks.
Kevin Bieksa, Jason Garrison, and Alex Burrows
Canada has recovered well since losing their opener against France. They have won five straight since, including an important win over Sweden, who they are tied with at the top of the standings in Group A. With a regulation win over Norway on Tuesday, Canada will clinch top spot, as head-to-head results is the first tiebreaker.
Kevin Bieksa scored the big tying goal against Sweden to take the game to overtime. It was his second goal of the tournament, with his first being an important insurance goal against Slovakia, and he now has 3 points in 6 games.
Jason Garrison returned to the lineup against Sweden after missing the game against Italy with the flu and led Canada in ice time in his return with over 23 minutes. Garrison is second on Team Canada in average ice time in the tournament behind only Bieksa and has 4 assists in 5 games. The pairing receive a lot of ice time in every situation, playing a major role in getting Canada to the top of the standings in their pool.
After leaving Canada’s game against Italy with a leg injury, Burrows did not play against Sweden on Sunday. Fortunately, the official diagnosis is just a bad charley horse, which is such an adorable name for something that can be incredibly painful. It sounds like the name of a cartoon character instead of muscle spasm.
Despite the injury not being as severe as initially feared, Italy’s Joachim Ramoser still received a one-game suspension for the knee-on-knee hit.
As for France, the only team to defeat Canada so far, they’ve continued their winning ways and French forwards Antoine Roussel and Stephane de Costa are second and third in tournament scoring. They’ll finish in fourth, at worst, in Group A, moving on to the quarterfinals, which makes losing to them a tiny bit easier to swallow. But only a tiny bit.
Jannik Hansen and Nicklas Jensen
Denmark has had a difficult and disappointing tournament, winning just two games, with only a game against Slovakia remaining. On the plus side, one of those wins was a massive shootout win over the Czech Republic on Saturday that ensured they won’t be relegated to the lower division for next year.
Jannik Hansen was vital for Denmark in that game, finishing with 2 assists, both on the third period goals that tied the game and sent it to overtime. He played over 23 minutes and was named the best player of the game for Denmark.
Hansen has 4 points through 6 games, good for second on the team in points behind Kim Staal. He’s averaging over 18 minutes per game and is tied for the team lead in shots on goal, with 17.
Nicklas Jensen isn’t quite matching Hansen’s performance, but he did have a game-high 6 shots against the Czech Republic. He currently has 2 points, a goal and an assist, while averaging 15:27 in ice time per game. His lone goal came against Team Canada on a well-placed shot off a 2-on-1, while his assist was on one of Hansen’s goals, on the power play against Norway.
Like Denmark, Switzerland’s tournament has not gone as planned, falling short of qualifying for the quarterfinals with just 2 wins through 6 games. While they managed to give Team USA a scare, carrying a lead into the third period, they couldn’t hold it and have only managed victories over fellow cellar dwellers Germany and Kazakhstan.
Considering Switzerland won silver last year, not making the quarterfinals is a disappointment.
Yannick Weber is averaging the second highest ice time on the Swiss team, behind only fellow NHLer Roman Josi. He has 2 goals and one assist in the tournament, all on the powerplay. Considering his scoring has come with the man advantage, his plus-1 rating is encouraging, as he’s one of only four Swiss players with a positive goal differential at even-strength.
Latvia had a chance to make the quarterfinals, but needed a win over the host Belarus on Monday and fell just short, losing 3-1. That has to be disappointing, since Latvia managed impressive victories over top-tier teams previously in the tournament, beating Finland 3-2 and USA 6-5.
Those incredible wins were undercut by a tough loss to Germany that ultimately is what cost them their shot to move on.
Ronalds Kenins has had a decent tournament for Latvia, with 4 points (all assists) in 6 games. While he hasn’t scored a goal, he’s been getting the puck on net with regularity and is tied for second on the team in shots with 13. Kenins has been playing on the top line with Kaspars Daugavins and Mikelis Redlihs.
Sweden has had a good tournament, losing only to Canada. Unfortunately, Joacim Eriksson has played no part in that success as he has yet to appear in a single game. Instead, he’s been stapled to the bench while Anders Nilsson has received every start in the tournament. At this point, while Eriksson gets to move on to the quarterfinals, it seems unlikely that he’ll get a chance to play.Tags: World Championship