The Malik Report
by George Malik on 12/26/13 at 10:18 AM ET
Updated 10x at 4:21 PM: Red Wings prospect Anthony Mantha had a helluva game at the World Junior Championships in Malmo, Sweden today, scoring a hat trick in Canada's 7-2 win over Germany. Jake Paterson also stopped 22 of 24 shots for Canada, and the Canadian Press reports that the game was a bit of a rout (the IIHF's website posted a recap, too):
Anthony Mantha scored three goals, all set up by linemate Jonathan Drouin, as Canada got the world junior championship started with a one-sided 7-2 victory over Germany on Thursday.
Josh Anderson, Bo Horvat, Sam Reinhart and Nic Petan also scored for Canada, which is 12-0 all-time against Germany at the IIHF under-20 event.
Dorian Saeftel and Janik Moser had first-period goals for the Germans.
The announced crowd of 1,831 was mostly fans dressed in Hockey Canada jerseys at the 5,800-seat Isstadion, the smaller of the two tournament venues, but they made plenty of noise.
If you have TSN in Canada, you can watch the entire game online, and the NHL Network's covering most games in the U.S., but as I have neither network, I can only link you to TSN's clips of Mantha scoring the 2-1 goal, the game-winning 3-2 goal and the 6-2 goal.
Yahoo Sports' Neate Sager states the obvious about all the suggestions that Mantha is a "bubble boy" whose competition level isn't up to snuff...
The tournament is about peaking during the medal round and, suffice to say, Team Canada has plenty to tweak and fine-tune. Among the few half-conclusions that can be drawn is that, for one, the mind reels at how hat-trick scorer Anthony Mantha ever could have been a bubble candidate for the final squad. Secondly, the youngsters registered, with Connor McDavid getting two assists in his international debut and receiving at least three gold-hued chances that were denied by Team Germany goalie Marvin Cüpper.
And Sager praised Paterson's performance:
Goalie Jake Paterson (two goals on 23 shots) faced perhaps one Grade-A chance and came up with a sprawling kick save during the second period. Neither marker was on the 19-year-old. The first came on a redirected point shot off a faceoff that Petan won. The second was after that aforementioned Adam Pelech giveaway.
Update #4: IIHF.com's Lukas Aykroyd has added quotes to his recap:
At 10:41, Canada made it 2-0 on its second man advantage, with Mantha whipping home a rebound past the prone German netminder.
"Everyone knows Anthony can score goals, and he definitely showed that tonight," said Horvat. "He’s a special player. He can put the puck in the net."
Captain Leon Draisaitl got behind the Canadian defence a couple of minutes later but couldn’t outwit Paterson in close.
Canada looked defensively suspect at times, enabling the Germans to get the equalizer at 15:59. A completely unguarded Moser took a cross-ice pass from Dominik Kahun and put it into the open net on Paterson’s stick side.
Mantha restored Canada’s one-goal lead with 2:24 left in the opening frame, cutting around the net and scoring on a backhanded wraparound.
Anthony scored three goals and Jake Paterson picked up the win as Canada defeated Germany 7-2 in Malmo, Sweden.
The 6-foot-5, 204-pound Mantha, the Red Wings’ top pick in the 2013 entry draft (20th overall), is having an outstanding final junior season with Val-d’Or. He leads the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with 35 goals and 73 points (17 more than anyone else).
Paterson also is in his final junior season, with the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit, where he is 11-9-2, with a 3.64 goals-against average and .900 save percentage. The Red Wings selected him with their second pick, 80th overall in the third round, in the 2012 entry draft.
Canada's next group stage game is Saturday against the Czech Republic.
Update #6: Sportsnet's Patrick King posited a set of "takeaways" from the game...
MANTHA MAKES HIS CASE: Strange as it is to think one of junior hockey’s top scorers wouldn’t be included on the roster, Anthony Mantha proved Brent Sutter right with a hat trick. There’s not a defensive situation Mantha will be entrusted to defend, and his sometimes indifferent appearance can be deceiving, but there’s no denying his skill set, an asset Canada just couldn’t overlook.
Mantha doesn’t move with much urgency, which is one of his critics’ biggest complaints, but when he anticipates the play and positions himself perfectly to unleash his quick shot, the puck generally finds the net. His playing style is reminiscent of Brett Hull’s in that his goals come from being at the right place at the right time, an element of his game that isn’t credited enough.
Mantha is often criticized for not using his big frame for throwing checks. He used it perfectly on his second goal by shielding the defender before spinning away from him behind the net, creating the separation to get the open look. His first and third goals were the perfect example how quickly he can corral the puck and pick a corner. Given what Mantha brings, his inclusion on this roster is more than justified one game in.
STARTING JOB STILL UP FOR GRABS?: Jake Paterson earned the first start due to his play in two exhibition games. Paterson did little to give a nation so depressed by its goaltending in this tournament confidence with an early goal less than two minutes in. The Germans won a faceoff to Paterson’s left, and the point shot was tipped slightly in front before sneaking five hole. Although a tipped shot, Paterson didn’t appear to get a great read through traffic, which was his downfall in pre-tournament games.
There’s no such thing as a cemented starting job in this tournament, and Paterson probably didn’t do enough to keep Zachary Fucale on the bench. The goaltending situation isn’t likely resolved one game in.
And TSN posted a video of the players' Christmas dinner because Santa paid the team a visit!
Update #7: The Canadian Press offers a recap with quotes, and it's all about Mantha:
“It’s a great feeling,” the lanky, six-foot-four right winger said. “For me, personally, I had to get a big game going and I think that’s what I did.”
It helped that Mantha was on a line with perhaps Canada’s most dynamic playmaker in Jonathan Drouin, who assisted on all three of his goals — two on power plays and one at even strength.
But Mantha, the grandson of former NHL forward Andre Pronovost, scores wherever he plays. He had 35 goals in only 32 games with the Val d’Or Foreurs before joining Team Canada two weeks ago for the run-up to the world juniors. He has 85 goals in 99 games over the last season and a half.
Coach Brent Sutter said what clinched his spot was that ability to put the puck in the net, which there is not a lot of on this squad compared to past world junior teams. Sutter hopes a crash course in 200-foot hockey will make the Detroit Red Wings prospect a more complete player as the tournament goes on.
“He can score goals, but there are other aspects of his game he needs to continue to work on,” said Sutter. “Things I’ve talked to him about one on one. It’s simple. It’s being a competitor in all three zones and making sure he’s responsible in all three zones. Not just for this tournament, but for him to be a good pro. Especially with the organization he’ll go to in Detroit. That’s what they expect there. You can’t just play the offensive side of the puck.”
Sutter said Mantha wants to learn and feels he is already “a better player now than when he joined the team 11 days ago. That comes from our conversations. He understands that he’s not going to get on the ice if he’s only going to be a power-play guy.”
He got a passing grade in two-way play against the Germans, who were overmatched but took advantage of some early Canadian sloppiness to keep the score close through the first 15 minutes of play.
Update #7.5: TSN also had Jamie McLennan break down Jake Paterson's play.
Update #9: Via RedWingsFeed again, Yahoo Sports' Sunaya Sapurji penned an article about Mantha...
It’s definitely obvious for anyone who has seen Mantha tear through the opposition this season with the Foreurs. He leads the entire Canadian Hockey League in scoring with 35 goals and 38 assists for 73 points in 32 games. The last time Canada had a player score a hat trick at the world junior tournament was two years ago – to the day – when Mark Stone recorded one against Finland in Edmonton.
“It’s a great feeling,” said Mantha. “For me, personally, I had to get a big game going today and that’s what I did.”
“He can certainly score goals,” said Sutter after the game. “But he needs to continue to work on the other side of it and doing the things he needs to do (defensively). That’s all part of becoming a good player and that’s all part of having consistency. … We need him to be a complete player and work on his complete game.”
The knock against Mantha for his lack of consistency isn’t new. There are times in seasons past where the 19-year-old would tear it up one night and float around the next making him frustrating to watch given his talents. The talk of his effort – or lack thereof – became heightened during the June NHL draft.
So was the criticism levelled at him warranted?
“It was fair,” said Mantha. “But I think I’m taking that off my name and I’ll continue to do so.”
The turning point, according to the native of Longueuil, Que., was when he was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings – 20th overall – and attended his first NHL camp. It was there where he really took notice of the kind of work ethic and dedication required to make it as a pro. He admits it’s still a work in progress and he’s hoping a good world junior tournament will help temper his critics.
“I’ve worked on it,” said Mantha, the grandson of former NHLer Andre Pronovost. “It’s huge because one little mistake over here could cost you the game. So for me it’s really to keep is simple and make every detail count.”
"I warned you, but did you listen to me? Oh, no, you knew it all, didn't you? Oh, it's just a harmless little bunny, isn't it? Well, it's always the same. I always tell them--"
Oh, wait, I mean, I told you so.
And the IIHF posted a THIRTY-MINUTE highlight clip from the game:
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.