Kukla's Korner

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WJC Final Thoughts

Joe Pelletier is a frequent KK contributor.

- There are only two players in the entire tournament who would be able to make an impact in the NHL immediately - Nicklas Backstrom and Jack Johnson. Jonathan Toews probably could play right away, but he’s still a little slight, as evidenced by his fatiguing in gold medal game. Erik Johnson looked great, at times.

- Steve Downie is going to be boom or bust. He’s a dirty, a-hole version of Henrik Sedin. In other words, he’s got great hockey sense, but I hope someone gives it to him when he makes the NHL.

- I know Vancouver fans are excited about Luc Bourdon, and with good reason. But no one seems to remember the Canucks passed on Marc Staal (and for that matter Anze Kopitar). Staal might not have the same high end potential, but he’s the kind of guy championships are won around.

- The Canucks should definitely look at getting Kristopher Letang out of Pittsburgh though. Those two had great chemistry.

- For the life of me I’ll never understand why some people insist the game is more exciting on big ice. It encourages a far more defensive game stance, and less clean hitting. Top teams in the world like Canada and USA could compete on Lake Huron and the game will be exciting, but good lord put average teams out there (ie at the Spengler Cup) and what a boring game. At least there’s a ton of advertising on the ice and jerseys to keep me interested.

- Was I the only one thinking of Marc-Andre Fleury when Carey Price started stickhandling late in the game with the empty net at the other end?

- I found TSN and the fans to be quite two faced about Canada’s shootout victory over the USA. An Instant Classic. Greatest World Junior Game Ever. Compelling Theatre. Great Drama. All very true, but if Canada lost in the shootout, you can imagine the media or public reaction would not be so endearing.

- I don’t know the final numbers, but it appeared that Sweden did a great job hosting and attending this event. Too often this tournament is ignored by anyone outside of Canada. It is often the best hockey on the schedule until Stanley Cup playoffs time.

- Here’s hoping the speediest of recoveries for Swiss player Marco Maurer, who suffered a serious neck injury a freak collision with Finland’s Tuomas Huhtonen. Last report I saw says he’ll need at least 6 months to mend.

- While the IIHF refereeing standard is obviously lower than that of the NHL, this may have been the first tournament, held in Europe anyways, where I did not constantly shake my head at the phantom calls.

Sweden may have been on top of the hockey world in 2006 with World and Olympic gold medals, but they relied on the old, and I mean old, guard to do it. This is the eighth year in a row Sweden has finished out of the medals. Tough times are ahead for the world’s current #1 ranked hockey nation.

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com