I’m no insider, nor do I have any insider information, but I can all but guarantee that Canadian head coach Benoit Groulx’s message to his players today was “don’t take Denmark lightly”.
Denmark, coming off their first ever victory at the World Juniors in a surprise shootout win over Switzerland, is relegation material. Canada should win, and it shouldn’t even be close, but we’re past the round robin and into the elimination games. You can’t put anything less than your best effort forward and you can’t take anyone lightly.
You’ve probably heard from the talking heads that Denmark’s goaltending could shine, or that Danish star Nikolaj Ehlers could overpower Canada’s defence, or that Denmark’s power play has been lethal. Stop. Don’t listen to that nonsense. All of those things are true, but it won’t be enough. This is probably going to get real ugly, real fast for the Danes.
By now, you know everything you need to know about Team Canada’s lineup. It’s three lines of unbelievable scoring potential, a very effective shutdown line, and six tough and talented defenders. Their “weak area” goaltending has been very good. They’ve scored more goals (21 in four games), and have allowed fewer goals (4), than any other team in the tournament. They’re just so, so good.
Max Domi – Sam Reinhart – Anthony Duclair
Jake Virtanen – Connor McDavid – Curtis Lazar
Nick Paul – Nic Petan – Robby Fabbri
Lawson Crouse – Frederik Gauthier – Nick Ritchie
Josh Morrissey – Madison Bowey
Darnell Nurse – Shea Theodore
Sam Morin – Joe Hicketts
Denmark’s only win of the tournament came in a shootout against the Swiss (who are now in the relegation round). They’ve scored 10 goals in four games, which is respectable, and have allowed 15 goals against, which is not respectable at all.
I scoured the internet for Denmark’s lines and couldn’t find a thing. Then I turned to Twitter for help, and guess what? I got a whole bunch of smartass answers. Even less surprising is that several of them came from my fellow TLN writers.
— content curator (@bobbycappucino) January 2, 2015
@thejustinfisher just go with *sen-*sen-*sen x4
— Raphael Delaghetto (@YakovMironov) January 2, 2015
@thejustinfisher Ehlers and Eller and then 11 pylons.
— Buddy’s fat cousin (@Snatchera) January 2, 2015
— Thomas Bakai (@thomasbakai) January 2, 2015
@thejustinfisher Does it even matter? All you need to know is that Ehlers and Bjorkstrand will be on the same line.
— Yannick Brot (@yannick_b1997) January 2, 2015
But guess what? Apparently the IIHF keeps this info on hand (though, not very well organized), so here’s the Denmark lines as I understand them.
Nikolaj Ehlers – Mads Eller – Oliver Bjorkstrand
Emil Rasmussen – Mikkel Aagaard – Matthias Asperup
Nick Olesen – Marcus Nielsen – Jeppe Holmberg
Andre Pison – Alexander True – Kristian Jensen
Mathias Lassen – Mads Larsen
Anders Krogsgaard – Sonny Hertzberg
Daniel Nielsen – Victor Eskerod
Canada is going back to Zach Fucale (with his tournament leading .975 SV% and 0.50 GAA) after Eric Comrie helped them beat Team USA 5-3 on Wednesday. This isn’t a bad decision by any means – Fucale is Canada’s guy – but it’s a little odd that Comrie has gotten as much ice time as he has. I doubt we’ll see the Tri-City Americans goaltender again this tournament.
For Denmark, it’ll be Georg Sorensen between the pipes, who’s sporting a respectable 3.70 GAA and .908 SV% in four games so far this tournament. If Denmark plans of upsetting the Canadians, Sorensen will need to stand on his head for about sixty straight minutes.
What to Watch For
- A blowout
- Total domination
- I’m sorry, but it’s true