Amazingly, I’ve yet to buy the right package to get NHL Network on my television. I know, I know, I’m totally missing out. I’ve only caught a few games during the World Juniors, and I didn’t get to see Canada play once. That means I missed out on seeing our top two draft picks in action, along with Tavares and pretty much half of the first round of last year’s draft.
However, I did get to see the championship game tonight, which was freaking great. We went to a bar to watch the Fiesta Bowl, which was also great, and the game was somehow on over the Rangers/Pens game. I’m glad it was, because the Pens sucked again and the hockey played up in Ottawa was much better than most of what I’ve seen in the NHL this season.
Canada went in search of their fifth straight championship, and Sweden sure didn’t take it lying down. The checking was rough, the talent on both sides was fantastic, and despite the lopsided final it never really felt like a rout. Canada kept crashing the net and Sweden kept on the counter-attack, but it was Canada that was too much for Swedish goaltender Jacob Markstrom.
The only think I kept thinking while watching this game was this: “I can’t believe this will be in Buffalo in a few years.” I’m still not sure the majority of Sabres fans know how lucky we are to get a tournament like this. The level of play and the amount of international attention the U-20 gets is phenomenal, and so many of the players involved become stars in the NHL. This really is the best group of young hockey players in the world, and before you know it they will all be hanging out in Western New York.
I’m excited already.