Monday Musings: Holiday hockey is world juniors, Spengler Cup | Hockey | CBC Sports

Hockey Night in CanadaMonday Musings: Holiday hockey is world juniors, Spengler Cup

Posted: Monday, December 23, 2013 | 08:00 AM

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Canada had earned a medal in each of the last 14 world junior championships until last year. (Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images) Canada had earned a medal in each of the last 14 world junior championships until last year. (Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

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This week's Monday musings deals with the world junior, Adam Pelech, Andre Burakovsky, Spengler Cup, Martin Jones, Alex Pietrangelo and the Malmo Redhawks.

Some Monday morning musings from the NHL and rest of the hockey world to prepare you for the upcoming week.

  • There are 14 games in the NHL on Monday, making it the busiest day this season. Only Vancouver and Montreal will not be in action.
  • The NHL takes a Christmas break on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
  • The World Junior and Spengler Cup tournaments begin in Malmo, Sweden and Davos, Switzerland, respectively, on Thursday.
  • The NHL's holiday roster freeze will be lifted on Friday.

Sutter factor

Can Brent Sutter lead Canada to world junior gold again? When the Canadian junior program was in flux and failed to win gold between 1998 and 2004, Sutter came in and steered Canada to gold in 2005 and 2006 - the first two of five in a row.

But now, Canada hasn't won in its last four tries and had a 14-year consecutive medal streak (five gold, six silver, three bronze) stopped last year. So Hockey Canada has turned to the 51-year-old Sutter again.

Sutter was not happy with his team's work ethic in a 3-0 exhibition game loss to Sweden on Sunday, especially after Erie Otters' Andre Burakovsky, who plays for Sweden, riled up Canada with some bulletin board material last week.

"I know what kind of team Canada will be showing up with and, if I take a look at what they have and compare them to what we have, I would have to say, on paper, we have a much better team," Burakowsky said.

Since his world junior success, Sutter went on to coach the New Jersey Devils and Calgary Flames, but failed to win a playoff series in five seasons. He missed the post-season in each of his three years behind the Flames bench.

Sutter made his final cut on Sunday, sending Nashville Predators prospect Felix Girard of Cap-Rouge, Que. back to his junior team in Baie-Comeau.

Swedish meatball

Sweden is considered the favourite this year, especially now the Predators have loaned it Filip Forsberg for the world juniors. But the last time the world juniors were held in Sweden in 2007, Canada won gold on the strength of Carey Price's goaltending and Jonathan Toews leadership and shootout prowess.

In fact, Canada has won gold the last three times the IIHF world under-20 tournament has been contested in Sweden.

When Burakovsky, a Washington Capitals prospect, spoke up the other day, it was reminiscent of when Peter Forsberg said something similar prior to the 1993 event.

Canadian goalie Manny Legace made sure his team would win gold that year. He was sensational on a Canadian team that included Martin Lapointe, Paul Kariya, Chris Pronger and Chris Gratton.

The 18-year-old Burakovsky was born in Austria when his father Robert played pro there, but was raised in Sweden when his father's career took him there a year later. Robert played 23 games for the 1993-94 Ottawa Senators.

Pelech brothers

Burakovsky is an Otters teammate of Canadian juniors Connor McDavid and Adam Pelech.

Pelech comes from quite a hockey family. The 19-year-old Pelech, a New York Islanders prospect, has two older brothers who play pro. Matt Pelech, 26, also a defenceman, plays in the San Jose Sharks system. Michael, a 24-year-old centre, is a former Los Angeles Kings draft pick who now plays for Utah in the ECHL.

The three players are nephews of Vancouver Canucks general manager Mike Gillis. Their mother is Gillis' sister.

Malmo Redhawks

Two Canadians play for the local Malmo club in defenceman David Liffiton and centre Joey Tenute.

The 29-year-old Liffiton of Windsor, Ont., played junior for the Plymouth Whalers and was drafted in the second round by the Colorado Avalanche in 2003. He played seven NHL games with the Avalanche and New York Rangers.

The 30-year-old Tenute of Hamilton, Ont., was drafted in the eighth round by the Devils in 2003. He played only one NHL game with the Capitals in 2005-06.

Medal count

The world juniors used to be a two-team tournament. It was either Canada or Russia that struck gold. But in the past five years, four different countries have won: the United States, with two in 2010 and 2013; Canada (2009); Russia (2011); and Sweden (2012).

Here is the medal count since this became an IIHF sanctioned event in 1977:

  • Canada 15
  • Russia 13
  • United States 3
  • Sweden 2
  • Finland 2
  • Czech Republic 2

Spengler Cup

Unlike the world juniors, Canada is the defending champ at the Spengler Cup. It's always interesting to find out who is representing Canada at this tournament.

Here's a glance at head coach Doug Shedden's Canadian roster:

Goalies - Chris Mason (Red Deer, Alta.), Allen York (Wetaskwin, Alta.)

Defence - Brendan Bell (Ottawa), Micki Dupont (Calgary), Travis Ehrhardt (Calgary), Geoff Kinrade (Nelson, B.C.), Joel Kwiatkowski (Kindersley, Sask.), Maxim Noreau (Montreal), Travis Roche (Grande Cache, Alta.), Jim Vandermeer (Caroline, Alta.), Derrick Walser (New Glasgow, N.S.).

Forwards - Eric Beaudoin (Ottawa), Alexandre Bolduc (Montreal), Colby Genoway (Morden, Man.), Alexandre Giroux (Quebec City), Darren Haydar (Milton, Ont.), Ryan MacMurchy (Regina), Brett McLean (Comox, B.C.), Glen Metropolit (Toronto), Jacob Micflikier (Winnipeg), Byron Ritchie (North Delta, B.C.), Ahren Spylo (Waterloo, Ont.), Anthony Stewart (Scarborough, Ont.), Jason Williams (London, Ont.), 

Canada opens the event against HC Vitkovice (Czech Republic) on Thursday. The other participating teams include HC Davos, HC Geneve-Servette, AHL Rochester Americans and CSKA Moscow.

Canadian Olympic goalies

Each week, we rank the top contenders for the three goalkeeper spots on the Canadian Olympic team based on their play to date.

1. Josh Harding (Minnesota) - He beat Roberto Luongo in a shootout last week, but now will take a week off to adjust his medication for his multiple sclerosis.

2. Carey Price (Montreal) - He had a rough outing versus St. Louis last week, but won his other two starts.

3. Roberto Luongo (Vancouver) - He hasn't won in two starts since beating Boston on Dec. 14, was pulled against Dallas last Thursday and left with a right leg injury early on Sunday.

4. Marc-Andre Fleury (Pittsburgh) - He now has won five in a row and leads all Canadian goalies with 21 victories.

5. Mike Smith (Phoenix) - He finished last week at 1-1-1, but stopped 88 of 94 shots in games against Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa.

By the Numbers

8-0-0 - Record for Los Angeles Kings rookie goalie Martin Jones to match the best start for a NHL goalie, set by Bob Froese of the 1982-83 Philadelphia Flyers. Jones also is the first goaltender to surrender two or fewer goals in each of his first eight games since 1938-39, when Boston Bruins netminder Frank Brimsek began his NHL career with a 12-game streak.

10-6-3 - Record for the Tampa Bay Lightning since losing Steven Stamkos to a broken leg on Nov. 11.

12-5-0 - Record for the Lightning with Stamkos in the lineup.

- Shots on goal for St. Louis Blues defenceman Alex Pietrangelo in a game against the San Jose Sharks last Tuesday.

11 - Pietrangelo shot attempts blocked in the same game.

0-5-0 - Record for St. Louis against California-based NHL teams this season.

24-2-2 - Record for the Blues against the rest of the league.

167 - Consecutive games for Montreal Canadiens defencemen Josh Gorges until he sat out Saturday's game with a lower-body injury.

Follow Tim Wharnsby on Twitter @WharnsbyCBC

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