Days left until Opening Night January 13th vs. St. Louis Blues at Ball Arena: 17 days
The WJC’s are underway in the bubble in Edmonton after starting on Christmas Day. Yesterday saw a slate of games from Noon MT to 7:30 MT, including the first game for Bowen Byram and Team Canada of the tournament and the second game of back-to-back games for Drew Helleson and Team USA. To start the day was Sweden vs. the Czechs, with only one team showing up to play:
After the Czech’s took a 1-0 lead, Sweden woke up and did not look back, blowing out the Czech Republic 7-1, including this spectacular goal by Elmer Soderblom in the 3rd period:
Elmer Soderblom goes between his legs and makes it 5-1 Sweden.— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) December 26, 2020
What a goal by the big lad. pic.twitter.com/xeuRL75k30
The second game of the day was Germany vs. Canada, with a new captain on the ice after the departure of Kirby Dach after his injury:
UPDATE | Per @IIHFHockey rules, @BowenByram and @Dylan_Cozens will take turns wearing the 'C', and @con91mcmichael will serve as a full-time alternate.— #WorldJuniors (@HC_WJC) December 26, 2020
Despite being unable to play, @kdach77 will remain Team Canada captain.@HockeyCanada | @ImperialOil | #WorldJuniors pic.twitter.com/fpZvpoYrMQ
With new captain Bowen Byram, Team Canada had their own blowout with cosmic proportions against a shorthanded German squad that made this look a baseball score:
Two of the 16 scores came from Avs prospect Alex Newhook who flew past the German defense for this beauty of a goal, his first for Canada and first of the night:
Newhook ended with 2 goals and 1 assist after the 60 minutes, along with points from Justin Barron and Bowen Byram. Barron had 2 assists and Byram with one assist of his own in the blowout of Germany. This has to make Boston College and Avalanche fans happy to see prospects thriving at a high level, and who knows, any one of those three could be part of the Avs roster later in the season.
Bo Byram with the primary assist on Canada’s 11th goalpic.twitter.com/JxKh5HANDv— Mile High Hockey (@MileHighHockey) December 27, 2020
All three Avalanche prospects looked really good in the outing - though it’s hard for anyone on Canada not to. One of the few highlights for Germany came at the expense of Byram as Senators prospect Tim Stützle sent him over the boards into the Team Canada bench:
Stueztle hits Byram into Canada's bench. A little revenge for the Matt Duchene trade from the Senators prospect— Mile High Hockey (@MileHighHockey) December 27, 2020
Finally, to wrap up the day was the USA vs. Austria. The US easily handled Austria 11-0 with another baseball score. The 1st goal of the game came from yet again another prospect Drew Helleson with this lucky bounce to break the deadlock and ultimately would be the game-winner:
Whatever is in the water in Edmonton, it’s causing blowouts. Are we sure they’re playing hockey up there or is it baseball with those score lines? Who knows!
Regardless, with the WJC’s in full swing, this marks the return of hockey. Ever since the Stanley Cup Finals concluded in September, there has not been much hockey until now. Plus, with the NHL starting up in 17 days, the WJC’s are just a teaser of the hockey we will get this upcoming spring and summer.
Veteran forward Ilya Kovalchuk has once again left the NHL and signed a two year deal in the KHL.
Veteran forward Ilya Kovalchuk has signed a two-year deal with Avangard Omsk in the KHL.https://t.co/UeDSK4nF1m— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) December 26, 2020
Kovalchuk, who spent time with multiple clubs last season including the Caps, Kings, and Canadiens, returns to the KHL after leaving the NHL in 2013 for St. Petersburg and then returning in 2018. While it will be shame not seeing the Russian veteran in the NHL for now once again, we wish him well in his home country with Avangard Omsk.
Finally, as the Christmas season has come and gone, we hope you all got some sweet Avs gear for the upcoming season to rep from home! Share what you got in the comments!
Happy Sunday everyone! Have a good rest of the weekend, stay safe, and only 17 days until Avs hockey!