In case you weren't paying attention, the World Junior Championships just ended, with USA taking gold in the final match against Canada.
This ends a five-year streak of championships for Canada, and I am looking forward to what Don Cherry will say about it on Saturday night's Coach's Corner segment.
The last call (goaltender interference) against team USA gave Canada enough momentum to tie the game with two late goals--a comeback that was eerily similar to Canada's comeback win over USA on New Year's eve.
USA tried to trap their way to victory, but the lesson here was that these kids did not have enough skill to sit on a lead. As Herb Brooks said, "Play your game." Completely altering the game plan was a mistake from coach Dean Blais. How many times have we seen teams try to hold onto leads by completely backing off, only to allow their opponents right back into the game? The play from the kids was obviously on a lower level than we're used to seeing from professional games, but surprisingly, so was the coaching.
In any case, we saw a different outcome this time as John Carlson scored on a 2-on-1 rush a few minutes into overtime.
One severe complaint was that they spent ENTIRELY too long after the game ended keeping those kids on the ice while they announced MVP's, players of the game from different rosters, and this and that presentation. It was a badly planned ending to an exciting game, and it was unfair to both the winners and the losers of the match to keep them on the ice for five minutes, with only a few of the players actually getting whatever consolation awards that were handed out.
Another aggravation was the NHL network's announcers talking non-stop the entire time during the post-game presentation, so the viewer had no idea what was even going on. Instead of shutting up and letting the events unfold with a bit of insight here and there, the announcers filled every second with useless babble that had nothing to do with what was actually going on. They also kept USA's captain so long in an inane post-game interview that he almost missed the ceremonial handshake entirely. The announcers talked right up to the first few notes of the Star Spangled Banner, and it was infuriating.
In any case, for those that were watching, it was a great tune-up for the upcoming Vancouver Olympics. We'll definitely have a lot on that here as well in the upcoming weeks.