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Before the WJC began, Andre Burakovsky drew the ire of the Canadian media with comments he made to Swedish media outlet Skanskan.se (via The Toronto Sun) in which he expressed confidence in his Swedish teammates:
I know what Canada brings and if I look at what they have and what we have … I think I can say that we have a better team on paper. Then we'll see how they play and how it goes for us.
In response to his comments, an anonymous article published by The Toronto Sun described Burakovsky as "a cocky prospect" and was quick to point out that Burakovsky said "at goalkeeper … we are much better” while also proclaiming "Canada has no 'skill player.'"
Canadian sensitivities notwithstanding, this son of a former NHL player should not be criticized for feeling confident in his team or for his willingness to share those feelings publicly.
First of all, Burakovsky was merely echoing the sentiments of Ryan Lambert of Yahoo! Sports, who called Sweden "a deep and menacing team, with quality at every position," further describing them as a "juggernaut."
Secondly, Lambert pointed out that Burakovsky was simply making a prediction "much like Seth Jones did last year in correctly proclaiming the U.S. the best team in the tournament a week before it started."
Burakovsky should be criticized for inconsistent play, however. All three of his goals were scored in the same game, during the preliminary round, no less. He was consequently named as the best player of the game for his hat trick against Norway. Furthermore, Burakovsky did not register any points past the quarterfinal round, when he registered two helpers in a 6-0 rout of Slovakia.
The soon-to-be 19-year-old winger finished 16th in the tournament in goals, 19th in assists and 13th in points. As for his assessment of Teams Sweden and Canada, Burakovsky was spot on. Sweden played for the gold medal and Canada played for the bronze, with both teams settling for a consolation prize.
If Burakovsky had contributed to the Swedish effort during the most important game of the tournament, the host nation would have won gold and not just silver.