There are many yearly traditions that North Americans celebrate for the New Year. Among those are watching Dick Clark, again; Champagne; and the World Junior Hockey Championships. This year, Canada is looking for their sixth-straight gold medal, but it won’t be easy, as they are facing off against their long time rivals, the United States.
Many of you that are unfamiliar with this year’s championships are likely thinking “How could it not be easy for Canada? The Americans finished 5th during last year’s Championships”. Well, the WJC’s aren’t exactly similar to the NHL, when it comes to teams keeping their positions at the top, save Canada. Just look at Russia this year.
As a proud Canadian, I can honestly say that Team Canada seems to be getting weaker and weaker every season. In their last two matches with the United States, the Canadians have been forced to come back, and narrowly defeat their stubborn rivals.
This year, these two teams are meeting each other in the finals. This hasn’t happened since 2004, in which the Americans ultimately won. Now, will the Americans simply walk in and steal the show? Absolutely not, but they definitely have a chance at taking the win from Canada.
In their round robin meeting, the States dominated the play. They won puck races, they out-skated the Canadians, and most importantly, they looked like the better team. To add to this even more, the Americans had a tougher opponent in the semi finals, where Canada only had the Swiss to do away with.
However, Canada also has many advantages headed into the finals. While Canada didn’t bring their A game to that famous New Year’s Eve meeting with their friends in Blue and White, the Canadians still won that game, even playing like crap.
Despite that, to get by the Star-studded offense of Danny Kristo and Jordan Shroeder, plus the towering defense of Brian Lashoff and John Carlson, we all know that the reigning 5-time Champions will have their hands full.
Who will triumph? For me, it is still too close to tell. However, it won’t matter if Travis Hamonic can’t play, or if the U.S.A. will feel too confident. No matter what, we have a classic on our hands, already.