Friday, January 05, 2007


The End of the WJC

I did not forget about the World Junior Championships. I just felt it would be best to give a final recap of the events instead of putting up a ton of daily posts on the tournament. Plus, I haven't been able to see any of the games, so a daily update would not have much content. In any case, the 2007 World Junior Championships have ended, and you can view all the stats and scores from, under tournaments and U20.

Canada defeated Russia to win the Gold Medal 4-2. Canada won Group A and had a bye before facing the United States in the semifinals. Canada won a very close semifinal 2-1 in a shootout (ASIDE: I frown upon using the shootout to decide a playoff game. At any level and in any sport, actually. That includes FIFA, too.). Russia won Group B, also had a bye, and decisively defeated tournament hosts Sweden by a score of 4-2. Russia takes home the Silver Medal.

The United States defeated Sweden 4-2 to take the Bronze Medal in the tournament.

Canada's Carey Price was named the Best Goaltender and the Most Valuable Player of the 2007 WJCs. America's Erik Johnson was named the Best Defenseman of the tournament, while Alexei Cherepanov of Russia was named the Best Forward. Three players led the scoring race in the tournament with 10 points each: Erik Johnson (USA - 4 G, 6 A), Mikko Lehtonen (FIN - 4 G, 6 A), and Perttu Lindgren (FIN - 2 G, 8 A).

The final rankings of all 10 teams in the tournament are as follows: Canada, Russia, USA, Sweden, Czech Republic (took 5th after defeating Finland 6-2), Finland, Switzerland (led the relegation group), Slovakia, Germany, and Belarus. By virtue of coming in 9th and 10th place, Germany and Belarus will be relegated to Division 1 for the 2008 World Juniors Championship. From Division 1, Group A winners Denmark and Group B winners Kazakhstan will take their spots in next year's tournament.

There's the final results of the tournament, let's look at how the Devils' prospects did at the tournament:
  1. Jeff Frazee, G, USA - He apparently got hot just when USA needed to win. Frazee ultimately played 5 games, finished with a 4-1-0 record with that one loss being a shootout loss. He compiled a 1.72 GAA and saved 93.88% of all the shots he faced. Good job, Frazee.
  2. Sean Zimmerman, D, USA - Zimmerman has played in all of USA's 7 games. Given he was selected for his defense, it should not be surprising to see he had no points during the tournament. He did finish a +1 with 6 PIM.
  3. Nicklas Bergfors, F, SWE - Bergfors was expected to put up quite a few points, considering how well he was doing in Lowell with 10 goals and 9 assists in 24 games. Unfortunately, the stats say he disappointed. In 7 games with Sweden, he has only produced 2 assists and finished the tournament +1 with 18 shots. Again, I didn't see the games, so I don't know if he truly was a disappointment or not.
  4. Alexander Sundstrom, F, SWE - Sundstrom managed to score 2 goals in Sweden's 7 games. He also had 2 PIM and ended the tournament with a +/- rating of 0. For a guy selected in the last round of 2005 draft, that's pretty good. Maybe he'll become a player in the future?
  5. Alexander Vasyunov, RUS - Vasuynov finished the tournament with 2 goals and a +4 in Russia's 7 games. I'm not sure how vaunted he is now, so I don't know if that's good or not.
I wish I saw the games because what little I have seen of the WJCs in prior years are usually packed with exciting hockey. Regardless, the WJCs are done, Bergfors will go back to Lowell, Zimmerman will go back to Spokane, Frazee will return to the nets for Minnesota, Sundstrom will go back to his team in Sweden, and Vasyunov will return to pay in Russia.

I saw all of Canada's games and the USA-Germany game, so I can give some insight on the Devils' prospects.

Frazee - Looked very solid once he got the starting job. The shootout loss was tough, but he had a good game up until the SO, where neither goalie looked too good (final score of the SO 5-4 after 7 rounds).

Zimmerman - Rarely noticed him. For a defensive defenseman, this could be a good thing, as I didn't see any mistakes.

Bergfors - Looked decent, nothing spectacular. He made a few nice plays, but didn't stand out.

Sundstrom - From what I saw/heard, played a solid two way game.

Vasyunov - Looked really dangerous at times, completely invisible at others. Barely saw any ice time in the 3rd of the Gold Medal game, which I didn't understand. He played well enough to get some time, even on a short bench.
Thanks, Anonymous Guy! I appreciate the analysis.

Generally, defensive defensemen aren't supposed to make mistakes in coverage; so it's understandable if he didn't stick out. It's not a sexy, eye-opening job unless he makes spectacular shot blocks or takeaways or hits or whathaveyou. So, I think, that is a good thing.
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