While the loss to the Americans at the outdoor game is disappointing, it’s not detrimental to their chances of finishing first in their group. In fact, it doesn’t affect it at all really. Yes, it would have been nice to clinch yesterday with a win over their rivals, but all Team Canada has to do is beat Denmark tonight and they’ll have first in “Group A” locked down.
I’m happy that the outdoor game is done and I’m sure the players are as well. Whether or not you liked the idea of it, and the players seemed to enjoy it, I think everyone can agree that it was a distraction. It’s good that this team can now focus more on playing hockey than worrying about what the weather is.
Tonight offers a great chance for them to get a little confidence back as they’ll take on a winless Team Denmark at 6 pm. Canada won’t have a game on New Year’s Eve, so this will be the team’s last game until January 2nd.
With just one goal in their first two games and thirteen against, it’s safe to say that Denmark won’t be much of a threat to Canada today.
While they don’t offer a ton of skill, they do have three NHL drafted players. Malte Setkov is probably the most notable. He was taken in the fourth round (100th overall) by Detroit this past June and he’s leaned on by Denmark to do his best to shut down the oppositions best scorers.
Up front, they have two drafted forwards. Joachim Blichfeld (SJS) and Nikolaj Krag Christensen (STL) are both seventh-round picks.
Blichfield has been enjoying a nice season with the Portland Winterhawks, posting 30 points in 26 games. Offensively, he’s Denmark’s best player.
While they did keep it close against Finland, only losing 4-1, I don’t think that will be the case tonight. Canada is going with Carter Hart between the pipes, so I don’t expect Denmark to produce anything offensively especially considering how strong Canada’s defence is. Coming off the tough loss yesterday, Canada will be a highly motivated group. I think they’ll score and won’t be in the mood to let up. If that happens, tonight could end up looking more like Denmark’s opening game, when they lost 9-0 to the Americans.
KEYS TO THE GAME
- A good start will be important. Score a few goals early and squash any hopes Denmark might have of pulling off an upset. It will be tough enough for Denmark to win this game anyways, but if Canada can grab a lead in the first five minutes, I’d expect things to snowball.
- Stay disciplined. It killed them against the USA and although it’s easy to stay out of the box when you’re playing a weaker opponent, they need to prove they can go a full game without taking a dumb penalty.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Dillon Dube was expected to drive the Canadian offence at this year’s tournament and while he looked good during the first two games of the tournament, he wasn’t the dominant force I was expecting him to be.
The Flames second-round pick has scored over a point per game in back-to-back seasons and already has 39 points in the first 27 games of this year. He can score and has the ability to take over games, I just didn’t see that through the first half of the round robin.
He appeared to have a bit of an extra jump yesterday against the Americans and he scored a goal off an absolute laser of a wrist shot. I think that might spark the 19-year-old and I’d look for him to look more like returning player tonight against Denmark.