December 26, 2008
World Juniors fever is sweeping Canada right now, as the team is trying to win its fifth straight title in the tournament that begins today. It's always a hell of a show with some great storylines, including good friends and NHL defensive blue-chippers Thomas Hickey and Jonathon Blum facing off when Team Canada plays Team USA on New Year's Eve in one of the most highly-anticipated games.
If there's one dominant storyline for Canada, besides the drive for five, it's the shared spotlight for Oshawa Generals star John Tavares and Swedish defenseman Victor Hedman, the clear-cut top two prospects for next summer's NHL Draft. But Tavares may have stolen some of that spotlight early this week with what has to be one of the highlight goals of the season, on any level.
We've been sent this video, from Canada's exhibition game against Slovakia, a few times over the holiday break. And it just keeps getting more remarkable the more you see it:
Incredible. Here's Tavares, speaking with Sportsnet about the goal:
"I was just trying to put the puck in the net and I felt that was the right thing to do," Tavares said. "I had some hand-eye co-ordination and put it in."
Tavares was flattened to the ice by a Slovakian defenceman before getting back up to celebrate with teammates. "Some of that comes from playing lacrosse and working after practice fooling round. Sometimes those things come into play and help you out. It was a nice one to score. The guys will be bugging me about that one for a few days."
NHL Network will have coverage of the World Junior Championship tournament, including tonight's Canada vs. Czech Republic tilt and the NYE Canada vs. USA game. It's good hockey, so check it out. It's also a chance to see the future of the NHL, as this year-old chat with Bob McKenzie, Gord Miller and Pierre McGuire about WJC explains.