Keep up to date on all the news and injury reports from the World Junior Hockey Championship.
Team Canada and Team Denmark both stayed off the ice this morning. Mackenzie Blackwood, who will serve the final game of his suspension tonight, was the only player skating. He worked with goalie consultant Fred Brathwaite and assistant coach Trevor Letowski.
Julien Gauthier, who missed yesterday's practice, rejoined his teammates at the rink this morning for some off-ice work. "He seems better today," said head coach Dave Lowry. "Moving forward we're preparing as if he's playing. We'll evaluate him after the warm-up and see how much energy he has." Gauthier said he either has a stomach virus or food poisoning, but wasn't sure. "It's tough to eat, but it was better this morning," said Gauthier, who picked up an assist in Saturday's loss to the Americans. "I was able to eat more, but we'll see. I can't really tell yet." How is his roommate dealing with it? "I'm alone now," Gauthier said with a sheepish smile. "He already changed rooms."
Mathew Barzal sat out Canada's first pre-tournament game and was on the bubble to make the team, but is slowly earning the trust of the coaching staff. "When Mathew's skating he's creating a lot of offence," said Lowry. "He has a very good understanding of how we want to play and his game is getting better every day. He's a very dynamic guy and when he has the puck on his stick, he creates offence and makes guys better." Barzal said it was a relief to find out he made the team. "I'm just thankful for the opportunity," he said. "But you can't get complacent with a team like this, there's so many good players and you want to show the coaches and the staff that you can be an impact player."
Barzal is teammates in Seattle with Denmark forward Alexander True and the two met up four nights ago, before the tournament started, to discuss how things are going. "He's a great guy, who's having a good season so far. I hope he gets drafted," Barzal said. "But, obviously, there's no friends on the ice and we'll play each other hard. He's kept it pretty quiet. He hasn't given me too much information (on Team Denmark)."
Lowry watched Denmark's upset win over Switzerland last night and offered up the following scouting report: "They don't give you a lot and they stay in games, they keep it close, they have good goaltending and a couple skilled individuals." Lowry's message to players was to move on after the sting of the opening loss. "We want to stay in the moment and today we have a tough game, good opposition coming off a big, emotional win and we'll have to be ready to go early."
Canada went 1-for-2 on the power play on Saturday, but failed to score on a five-minute advantage that stretched from the end of the first period to the start of the second. "We talk about the power play and a lot of times it's a direct reflection of five-on-five play," said Lowry. "We had concerns at the end of the game about not shooting enough at even strength and it's the same on the power play. We had puck possession. We had good control. We had decent looks, but we were always looking for that perfect play."
Canada (0P) vs Denmark (3P) - 1PM - Group A
CAN beat DEN 8-0 last year
CAN is 3-0 all-time vs DEN, outscoring them 22-3
DEN (lost to CAN in QF in 2015):
scored 2G in 3rd pd to win opener 2-1
6 players with 1PT
CAN (won Gold in 2015):
3rd time in program of excellence era (1982) lost opening game, did not medal previous 2 times (84&98)
2GA in final 3:18 in opener, lost 4-2
Strome and Barzal 1G each