2014 World Junior Update (Day 3)

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Following a pattern in sports through the last decade the World Juniors have seen their tournament get younger. It is a pattern that has come into every sport throughout the last ten years as younger players are having a bigger impact. The same can be said for the 2014 version of the World Juniors where a number of underage players are having their impact in a tournament for young players. The tournament is generally full of 19 year olds who are considered the players who have the most impact for their teams. Teams would put plenty of 19 year olds on their teams while filling out the rest of the roster with good 18 year olds. Over the past few tournaments this has changed as rosters are getting younger and younger and with that are not getting any worse. As the NHL gets younger there are more 19 year olds having an impact which means less 19 year olds are getting their chance in the Juniors. These young players are staying with their NHL teams that leave 18 year olds to fill the rosters and to be the leaders of their teams. This year though, the trend would become even more evident as there are more 2015 draft eligible players than ever. Rosters are not made up completely of these 16-year-old players but there are more than the usual tournament. These players only a few years ago wouldn’t even be considered for a U20 team as they were eligible for the U18 teams and would participate in those tournaments. More and more young players are beginning to show that they can hang with the top players even if they are younger. This year players like Maximilian Kamerer and Erik Cernak are making their teams and showing a glimpse of the future for their countries. Then there are the big three in the tournament this year that will not be considered for the NHL until 2015. Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel, and Pavel Zacha are all considered top draft picks in the 2015 draft and all will be playing in the 2014 World Juniors. For Pavel Zacha the tournament is a chance to show that he can be the first top 10 Czech in the 2015 draft since Jacob Voracek was selected 3rd overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets. As of the beginning of Day 3 Zacah had not had much of an impact for the Czech team earning 0 points and sitting at -1. He would not have much of an impact in their game against the Canadians but still has plenty of time to show why he is considered a top 10 prospect in 2015. For Jack Eichel and Connor McDavid the tournament is a chance to fight for the top draft spot in 2015. Both are considered the best 16-year-old players in the world and they are both being watched closely on their teams. Jack Eichel has had a great start to the tournament as he has earned 3 points including a goal. Eichel is showing tha the has what it takes to be a superstar and if he continues his pace he may just overtake McDavid for the 2015 draft. Connor McDavid is considered the best player since Sidney Crosby and one of only a handful of players to ever receive exceptional status to play in major junior at only 15 years old. McDavid has earned 3 points as well, all assists, but in Canada’s game against the Czech Republic his two penalties were poorly timed. He has shown a bit of inexperience in his play but is still a player that can make something happen and could be ready to make a bigger impact as he gets more comfortable. There are more 16-year-old players this year than ever before as the youth movement is being seen in even the World Juniors. They will be watched closely this year as many will also be back next year and will be considered leaders for their teams at 17 years old. It is a theme in sports for the last 10 years as it is invading every aspect of sports as the youth movement continues in the 2014 World Juniors.

 

Scores:
USA 6 – 3 Slovakia
– The Americans would continue their strong start to the tournament and would bring the Slovaks back to earth as they won their first game by a big score as the Americans took over the top spot in Pool A with the win

Sweden 4 – 2 Finland
– The rivalry was alive and well in Malmo as the fans were there and the hate was on the ice as Sweden took on Finland with the Swedes taking the three points and the bragging rights for
Scandinavian hockey

Czech Republic 5 – 4 Canada (SO)
– the Canadians looked like the better team with more control and more shots than the Czechs but that doesn’t always win games as the Slovakians would take the win by capitalizing on their chances and beating the Canadians for the first time ever

Russia 7 – 1 Switzerland
– It wasn’t really a lot of debate in this game as the Russians easily got past the Swiss and put the Swiss in a bad situation as they continue to look for their first win to avoid the relegation series

 

Standings: 

Pool A:
1. USA (6)
2. Canada (4)
3. Slovakia (3)
4. Czech Republic (2)
5. Germany (0)

Pool B:
1. Russia (6)
2. Sweden (6)
3. Finland (3)
4. Switzerland (0)
5. Norway (0)

 

Day 3:
Germany vs. USA (Sunday December 29th; 9:00 am ET)
– The Americans are looking to continue to dominate in the tournament as they take on the struggling Germans who are trying to surprise and stay alive in the tournament as a loss is sure to guarantee them a spot in relegation

Norway vs. Sweden (Sunday December 29th; 11:30 am ET)
– The Swedes are clearly one of the most talented teams in the tournament this year and they will put it on full display against the Norwegians who are trying to avoid relegation but may be overwhelmed by the hosts

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