Team USA’s quest for gold is fulfilled.
The United States took out defending champion Sweden 3-1 in the gold medal game of the World Junior Championships to win their first gold since 2010. Panthers prospect Rocco Grimaldi scored twice and fellow Florida prospect Vince Trocheck iced it with an empty net goal late in the third to seal the game.
Ducks prospect goalie John Gibson played strong once again in goal stopping 26 shots on his way to earning the tournament’s MVP award. Gibson is the first goalie to be named MVP since 2008 when Canada’s Steve Mason took those honors.
All in all, four Team USA players landed on the all-tournament team with Gibson, Jacob Trouba (Winnipeg), Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary), and Jake McCabe (Buffalo) earning honors. Canada’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Sweden’s Filip Forsberg (Washington) were also named to the team.
Well, the NHL’s two new initiatives for ’15-16 seem to be going swimmingly.
Not long after Ottawa successfully made the second-ever coach’s challenge, fans got their first look at 3-on-3 overtime.
And what a look it was.
In the span of 137 seconds, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers combined for eight shots on goal, a few breakaways, some tremendous saves — including one on a penalty shot — and, finally, Jason Garrison‘s game-winning goal on a breakaway from center, giving the Bolts a 3-2 win.
It was, in a word, fun.
Lots of fun.
A quick sampling of reviews:
Of course, not everybody was a fan:
Now, to temper things a bit — this was the first time we’ve seen 3-on-3 with something on the line, so there was a novelty factor at play. There’s also no guaranteeing future OT sessions will be as exciting as this.
But none of that takes away from the fact 3-on-3 made for appointment viewing, and immense entertainment value. The prospect of future games like this? That’s pretty exciting.
Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.
Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:
Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).
The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.
Update: Bergeron stayed in the game, but B’s head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with the hit. Following the game, he called for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to look at it…