Thursday, December 27, 2012
Thursday Morning Cupcheck - Your Complete Guide to the 2013 World Junior Championship
In related news: hockey? No? You sure? Moving on...
Good morning, hockey fans! Last week we mentally prepared el mundo de hockey for el fin de mundo. This week, since we all discovered the real reason for the ockout-lay, it's time to once again look to someplace other than the No Hockey League for low-hanging hockey column fodder.
Fortunately: hockey hockey hockey hockey hockey!!
Here's a breakdown of all you need to know about the WJC.
Players to Watch: Dougie Hamilton, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Ty Rattie, Brett Ritchie, Mark Scheifele, Ryan Strome, Griffin Reinhart, Morgan Rielly, Malcolm Subbahhell pretty much everyone.
Biggest Strengths: 11 #1 picks on the roster; North American grit supremacy; unrivaled ability to pump up individual stats and whup up on bottom-feeding teams
Most Glaring Weaknesses: Lack of a true checking line; too many skinny defensemen; beady eyes and flapping jaws; inability to stop sucking
Predicted Finish: Fourth place, as usual
Players to Watch: JT Miller, Alex Galchenyuk, John Gibson, Jon Gillies. But really just Seth Jones.
Biggest Strengths: Goaltending; mom's apple pie; red American blood
Most Glaring Weaknesses: Startling lack of even one Canadian roster player; Obama
Predicted Finish: Second place. U!S!A! U!S!A!
Players to Watch: Nail Yakupov, Mikhail Grigorenko, Andrei Vasilevski, Ivan Strokinov
Biggest Strengths: Home ice, a.k.a. "The Twelfth Tovarich"; convenient proximity of mail-order brides; Russian Winter
Most Glaring Weaknesses: Centuries of successfully repelling invasions from the Mongols and Nazis have completely eliminated the "grit gene" from Russian DNA.
Predicted Finish: Third place, according to advance reports coming out of the Russian mafia
Players to Watch: Filip Forsberg, Sebastian Collberg, Victor Rask, Rickard Rakell, Hampus Lindholm, a Møøse
Biggest Strengths: Completely inexplicable ability to shine on the biggest stages; completely explicable ability to look like a team of cold-blooded serial killers
Most Glaring Weaknesses: Sh*t furniture
Predicted Finish: Fifth place, because socialism
Players to Watch: Radek Faksa, Tomas Hertl, Martin Frk, Baromir Bagr
Biggest Strengths: Insatiable thirst for vengeance following Soviet invasion of 1968
Most Glaring Weaknesses: Vowel-trading agreement with Finland fell through at the last second
Predicted Finish: Seventh place, but only losing to Russia by one goal will feel pretty ok, you know, considering.
Players to Watch: Aleksander Barkov, Teuvo Teräväinen, Joel Armia, Markus Granlund, Olli Määttä, Markus Hännikäinen, Ville Järveläinen, Dëthklökï McDïmmübörgïr
Biggest Strengths: Borg-like team cohesion; impervious to pain; historical willingness to kick a little Russian a**
Most Glaring Weaknesses: Ethnic diversity
Predicted Finish: First place, both in the tournament and in our hearts.
Players to Watch: Not a single godd*mn one
Biggest Strengths: Have interests outside of hockey
Most Glaring Weaknesses: Skating, passing, shooting, goaltending
Predicted Finish: Slovakia will take sixth, while the rest beg for scraps
That's it for this week's always-informative Cupcheck. Tune in next week when we take a look at the five things the Dallas Stars will do to bring back the fans after the ockout-lay. The sheer amount of bodily fluids necessary for #1 may surprise you.