A Golden Top Ten Tuesday From The World Juniors:

(Photo by Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images)

Well for the first time in six years the Canadians are gold medalists at the World Junior Hockey Championship thanks to their 5-4 win over Russia last night in Toronto. You have to give full marks to the Russians who could have folded the tents after Canada scored two goals in the opening two-and-a-half minutes of the game or even when they trailed 5-1 midway through the third. Kudos to the Russians for an excellent effort in winning the silver medal!

That all being said here is my collection of thoughts from the holiday tradition in random order;

10 – While being proud of the Canadian team for their success in winning a gold medal in the event I am perhaps more proud of the class and sportsmanship displayed by the Canadians on the ice. Saluting their opponents (i.e. Denmark and Slovakia) after their games and never rubbing the score into their adversaries.

9 – Should the International Ice Hockey Federation consider changing the format of the tournament from 10 teams to 8? That would of course mean fewer games for the tournament which of course would affect the bottom line of the championship but if you are Germany, or Denmark how much fun is the event? As a parent I want to give my children every opportunity to succeed whether it is hockey or anything else that they tackle. Having teams that are looking for moral victories coming into the tournament is like leading the herd to slaughter. I say give those kids a chance to be successful!

8 – Speaking of Germany how upset should the German Ice Hockey Federation be at the Edmonton Oilers? The NHL’s basement dwellers only need to look out for their best interests but you have to think that they knew they were going to be sending Leon Draisaitl back to junior prior to December 25th (the roster deadline for the tournament). It was, of course, made official on the weekend that their first round pick would be returned to the WHL. That being said I get that Draisaitl had competed at the event the past two years but wouldn’t sending him to the tournament given him a morale boost after a rough ride in Edmonton through 39 games, not to mention in the interests of fair play wouldn’t it have bolstered his country’s opportunity for success at the tournament? By the way Germany scored 2 goals and surrendered 17 in four losses at the tournament.

7 – My favorite moment at the tournament has been narrowed down to three. I guess I should have made that plural but it is between; Nic Petan’s Dad being given a new Team Canada hat in the stands by a fellow fan to take to throw on the ice after his son’s hat trick in the semi-final. The Canadian fans chanting, “goalie,” after Denis Godla was overlooked as Slovakia’s player of the game in that game. The last option is the obvious Canadian celebration following the final buzzer and the look of not relief but sheer joy in the faces of the 19 year-old’s on the ice.

6 – Has Denis Godla sparked another debate within the Canadian Hockey League? Following social media throughout the tournament has been very interesting and when he was lights out against Canada Sunday night the call from fans to see his talent in the CHL was very clear. One tweeter alluded to the fact that he would pay just to see Godla on a game-to-game basis. The CHL banned the drafting of import goaltenders as part of their “Protect The Net,” goaltender development model with Hockey Canada prior to the 2013 Import draft. With that sentiment being expressed will the CHL listen?

5 – One man that just gets it is OHL Commissioner and the President of the CHL David Branch. It is going to be very interesting to see what happens when Branch steps down from those roles. I was completely impressed with his pre-game comments to television, when he was asked about the partnership between the CHL member clubs and Hockey Canada in putting the World Junior team on the ice he was quick to recognize the fans. Basically, he recognized the commitment of the league’s fans to be without the stars of his league for a month or more mid-season.

4 – When it comes to comments I was fascinated by IIHF President Rene Fasel not once but twice throwing organizers of the event under the bus. Fasel went on record first saying that Hockey Canada’s pricing was to blame for the very poor attendance in Montreal. He then on a separate occasion referenced a phone call from the mayor of Montreal taking responsibility for the lack luster response to the event in his community. Maybe I am using too much logic here but charging NHL prices is ridiculous but the medal round wasn’t in Montreal!!!! If you recall when the event was in Saskatchewan it was a tough sell for event packages in Regina as not only did they not have Team Canada playing their any of their preliminary round but they also didn’t have any medal or relegation round games. (TO Regina’s credit Saskatchewan’s biggest sports town would come through and support the event) That being said I would be shocked if Hockey Canada does anything at all when it comes to adjusting their plans or pricing for the 2017 Championship, which will also be held in Montreal and Toronto with just the roles of each centre being reversed, as I am sure that having the medal round in Montreal will spur additional ticket package sales.

3 – When looking for a TSN turning point in last night’s gold medal game the one that stands out to me was Dmitry Yudin’s goal celebration in front of the Canadian bench. His tally cut the Canadians lead to 2-1 late in the first period but you could tell that his showboating did not sit well with the players who to a man had a more focused look. Speaking of celebrations I was a little unsure of how to cheer! Without the Pepsi/Hockey Canada, “Eh, O’Canada Go!” I wasn’t sure the appropriate way to root on my team. (Tongue planted firmly in cheek) Whose brutal idea was that anyway???

2 – Speaking of bad I did think it was on the classless side when the fans at Air Canada Centre booed the officials when they were recognized for their achievement in making it to the gold medal game. I thought the entire gesture on the part of the IIHF was a great idea! I’ve said it before without officials there are no games and while you don’t have to agree with their decisions you do need to respect the job that they are trying to do. In short I think you may be a member of the acorn family if you confront, disagree with or are in any way detrimental to an official.

1 – Last thought and if you could choose any player from Team Canada for your current junior team’s roster who would you take? The Eastern media and perhaps OHL teams would be all over Connor McDavid but I would be torn between shutdown defenceman Darnell Nurse and multi-talented Max Domi. Nurse has incredible speed and is a franchise defenceman type that can be used in all situations similar to Chris Pronger, while Domi has a knack for finding the net and is an emotional leader that could be invaluable in a play-off run, especially with the way he can get under the skin of the opposition. With that all being said defence wins championships and I would go with Nurse.