January 25, 2021

World Juniors 2021: See the first four storylines

When Christmas comes, the hockey world knows that the IIHF World Junior Championship is in a corner. This year, Christmas Day really marks the start of the competition.

Ten teams are vying for national pride and pride rights towards a bubble, while at the same time setting the gold medal strictly. There are some big differences this time around compared to previous matches and some new snow related storylines should keep an eye out when the buck drops in matches.

Take a quick look at the first four things to look for.

Top four storylines for the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championships

How does COVID-19 affect competition?

One of the biggest storylines before anyone went to Edmonton, Alta, was how Covid-19 affected so many teams. Germany, the United States, Canada and Austria all lost key players, while the Swedes lost not only players, but most of them coaching staff. When the Germans and Swedes came to the bubble, they had to extend the isolation because both teams were unfit to play.

Sweden got out of the bubble and had some procedures under their belt – even when the majority of the team was stuck in their private hotel rooms was conducted by a team doctor. However, the Germans have been crushed, resulting in only 14 skaters and two goalscorers for at least the first two games of the tournament. Those games were already a lofty task as your team’s first two teams competed against Finland and Canada.

Can Canadians push the Kirby Doc loss?

When they met Russia on Wednesday, Hockey Canada slipped into the only song for world juniors. Captain Kirby Doc clashed with a Russian in the neutral zone and left the game – then the match – with a 1-0 victory over the first contender to win gold with a wrist injury.

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This is a huge waste of time for Canadians as the Touch is a good NHL after spending the 2019-20 season (then bubble hockey) with the Blackhawks. He was ranked in the top row and was expected to be a key figure in the team’s attacking machine.

So how will Canada respond? The list is incredibly deep, and now, 19 of the 24 players have been drafted in the first round, but was a leader on the touch bench and in the locker room of head coach Andre Turikney.

Canada does not have a difficult team status, so they will not feel doc loss when they face Finland or until New Year’s Eve in the playoffs. Time will tell how they will respond.

Will Cole dominate the ghosts of Cowfield 2020 behind him?

Cole Cowfield made a difficult trip to the Czech Republic last year. The expectation was high that the American would dominate the competition. Instead, he scored two points in five games as the team was knocked out in the USA quarterfinals.

According to Dave Starman of the NHL Network, Cowfield has been rated for recovery since last January, and he was very ready to go into the team’s exhibition game.

How he goes is how USA hockey will go for the next 12 days. One of the eight who returned from a disappointing squad last year, all eyes will be on him to showcase the talent he brings to the University of Wisconsin and the Montreal Canadians one day. For now, a small drive to prove Neysers wrong is never a bad thing.

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Who is the young star of this year’s competition?

Many young people want to show their identity and show off their high quality skills for NHL scouts (like fans watching from a distance). There is a young genius Brad Lambert in Finland who is already considered the best choice in 2022.

As for the draft coming up in seven months, American Matthew Benier, Swedish netminder Jesper Wallstedt – who wants to follow long net miners from Scandinavia like Henrik Lundkivist – and Stanislav Schwartz, the Czech Republic’s solid defender.

Turning the head of the draft hits as any player rises to the top is always a fun side note to matches.

World Juniors 2021: Latest News


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