The GIFies: Tightly Contested Games Dominate Day 3 of World Juniors
Two excellent games and another tidy win for Slovakia who moves to 3-0 in the tournament. Sweden hasn’t given up a goal in the tournament, the USA needed shootout heroics to beat Czechia and Canada struggled to create offense. Most notably, Henrik Lundqvist was honoured for his Hall of Fame induction and he looked every bit the part.
Sniping the Blues
If you missed the morning game, it was high octane. Slovakia beat Norway 8-4 to remain perfect at the World Juniors on the back of Servac Petrovsky and Dalibor Dvorsky tallying four points each.
— Elite Prospects (@eliteprospects) December 29, 2023
Dvorsky’s first was a beautiful give and go and some silky mitts to finish five-hole. The Blues prospect had 2 goals and two assists in this one. The St. Louis Blues prospects are showing out at the World Juniors – sheeeeeesh!
Servac is Serving
this is petrovsky’s world and we sre just living in it pic.twitter.com/3B0PssMU6p
— lubi | wjc era 🇸🇰 (@arberslaf) December 29, 2023
Don’t forget about the Minnesota Wild prospect. He’s looked incredible for Slovakia in this tournament and continues to lead in scoring. 7 points in 3 games, not too bad for the 185th (!) overall pick.
Ice Man, Ice Veins, Ice Cold Celly
The Americans came back from two goals down against Czechia
Isaac Howard wins it and then drops the ICE COLD celly
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) December 29, 2023
Isaac Howard, the guy who wore a white suit on draft day, with the silky set of mitts in the shootout to freeze the goaltender and slide it five-hole for the second time. Doesn’t get much cooler than that. You just know some old curmudgeon is yelling at a cloud about his celebration.
Is That Good?
Lane Hutson had a statement game today against Czechia. At 5v5, he led both teams in:
• Scoring chance assists (4)
• Expected primary assists (0.8)
• Slot passes (6)
• DZ breakups (4)
I think he's back.
— Mitchell Brown (@MitchLBrown) December 29, 2023
If I had a dollar for every time I heard a scout say Lane Hutson was too small to play, I’d have a down payment on a Toronto condo. Scouts were tripping over themselves to say this kid was too small despite him finding a way to dominate at every level. Yes, NHL players are bigger, but Hutson has been small his entire life and continues to find a way to get it done.
Lane Hutson (MTL) finished today's game with 26:16, playing a lot more than normal with Seamus Casey (NJD) out sick. He'll often be USA's top minutes guy, but today was particularly busy for him. Was not on the ice for any of the three goals against.
— Chris Peters (@chrismpeters) December 29, 2023
Not only was he dynamic offensively, he’s been excellent defensively. The USA surrendered three goals and Hutson wasn’t on the ice for any of them. He played HALF the game. If you can draft a defenceman that can play half the game and not give up anything defensively while dominating offensively, that seems like something you should do. But, he’s short or something.
Shove Your Short Goalie Narrative
There is a very prominent narrative amongst hockey people, specifically scouts, that dictates any goalie shorter than 6 feet is incapable of playing in the NHL. Juuse Saros is a very obvious exception. But, maybe we should evaluate the narrative here because Hugo Havelid has played 120 minutes and given up 0 goals. You read that right, ZERO.
I don’t care if Hugo Havelid is the size of an 11-year-old, an NHL team needs to at least see what he can be.
— Tony Ferrari (@theTonyFerrari) December 29, 2023
At some point, the 5’10 goalie with zero goals against making unbelievable saves might be a better option at the draft than a 6’4 guy with an .850. He was passed over twice at the NHL draft and I’m thinking that maybe, some team might want to take a swing at him this year.
If I was the Swedish juniors goalie and Lundqvist was all over the tournament, I too would be busting my ass to not let any goals in.
— Meaghan (@megsd_23) December 29, 2023
Henrik Lundqvist spoke about both goaltenders in the Canada-Sweden game and voiced his support for drafting based on merit instead of height. I’m not a goalie expert, but I’m going to go ahead and trust the analysis of “The King of Two or Less.”
Best Jinx Attempt
Don’t say it…don’t say it.
Sweden's goalie sure is working on a shutout here. One massive shutout. I don't think there was ever a bigger shutout than this shutout.
— Ashlyn (she/her) 🇺🇦 @ashhabsfan.bsky.social (@ashlyn_mac) December 29, 2023
Except Sweden not only got the shutout against Canada, they haven’t allowed a goal in the tournament. Not sure what can be done to jinx a multi-game shutout with multiple goaltenders, but teams maybe want to try and figure that out for the medal rounds.
Save of the Day
When you impress the man freshly inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame for excellence in goaltending, you’re doing something right.
— Staff & Graph Podcast (@StaffGraph) December 29, 2023
This was one of MANY great saves from Mattis Rousseau against Sweden. It was a goaltending clinic and if there is one area where Canada has no worries, it is their goaltending.
Best Supportive Friends
— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) December 29, 2023
Connor Bedard is eligible for this year and next year’s World Juniors after dominating last year. He and Chicago teammate Kevin Korchinski were glued to the TV after morning skate supporting Canada. Canada hoped to have Korchinski for the tournament, but Chicago opted to keep him in the NHL. Given the lack of firepower in the game today, safe to say Canada wishes they had both of those players at their disposal.
Don’t Forget Your Manners, Kids
"Thank so much, appreciate you, have a great day, thank you."
— BarDown (@BarDown) December 29, 2023
Slovakia’s captain, Adam Sykora was raised well. Who tells an interviewer they are appreciated and to have a nice day? Most hockey players give bland answers and walk away before the camera switches, and this guy is giving out well wishes. We love to see it.
— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) December 29, 2023
I mean, it really isn’t close. Leave it to Henrik Lundqvist to show up with the perfectly tied tie, tie clip, 3-peice suit and fur lapels. 30/10, no notes. There is no topping that, so we’re going to end there.
Rachel Doerrie is a sports media personality, businesswoman, and former NHL front office member. Doerrie began her career as a consultant for several teams before joining the New Jersey Devils and, later, joining the Vancouver Canucks as an analyst and video coach. In media, Doerrie has written for some of the top outlets in the industry such as The Athletic, EP Rinkside, and The Hockey News. She created the hit Staff & Graph podcast that has grown into the streaming and video spaces and continues to consult with professional sports teams on data analysis and communications.