Canada started off the 2012 World Junior Championship with an impressive 8-1 win over Finland, and now draws the Czech Republic. Last night the Czech’s came off their own opening win, downing Denmark by a score of 7-0. The two teams meet for 29th time since 1977, with Canada holding the edge with a 14-6-8 record. While the Czechs showed some success against Canada in the early 90’s, they have not beaten Canada since 1993.

Although each team has only played one game so far, they both come into tonight boasting similar numbers. Both clubs are 100% on the penalty kill (Can: 4/4 – Cze: 3/3) and both have seen success on the power play (Can: 2/2 – Cze 3/4). If Canada wants to continue to show its dominance in this group, it’s probably not going to want to rely on special teams, but rather, show that they can control the game at ES, and use the PP to put teams away.

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The biggest news as far as the lineup is concerned is the injury to Devante Smith-Pelly. After blocking a shot in the game against Finland, Smith-Pelly suffered a broken left foot and will be lost to the team for the remainder of the tournament. The injury doesn’t just leave the Canadians short one forward, but also takes away a formidable role player that is rare. At 5’ 11”and 210 lbs, Devante sticky, compact player. In tgame one and throughout the exhibitition period he quickly showed the impact he had on the physical side with punishing checks that opened up the ice for his linemates.

The loss of Smith-Pelly forced Don Hay to rearrange his lines, namely slotting in Tanner Pearson. As a surprise addition to the team Canada squad, Pearson was asked to assume more of a checking role at the WJC. Now on a line with Michael Bournival and Boone Jenner, Tanner should get the chance to put up some decent numbers. The Czech’s will be a good test for him and his line tonight.

Jaden Schwartz – Mark Scheifele – Brendan Gallagher
Jonathan Huberdeau – Ryan Strome – Mark Stone
Quinton Howden – Freddie Hamilton – Brett Connolly
Michael Bournival – Boone Jenner – Tanner Pearson

Brandon Gormley – Dougie Hamilton
Scott Harrington – Ryan Murray
Jamie Oleksiak – Nathan Beaulieu
Mark Pysyk

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Look for Mark Visentin to get the start again for Canada and he is the incumbant number 1. He played well in the opener and is going to want to be sharp for the big match vs. the Americans when it comes.

Jonathan Huberdeau and Mark Stone put on a clinic against Finland and should be in contention for the tournament scoring lead. Stone with the hat trick and Huberdeau with a goal and three assists will be looked upon again to continue their ways tonight.


The Czech Republic had a horrible tournament last year, relying on a victory over Slovakia 5-2 to get into the relegation round. They are obviously looking to better that placing this time around. With eight NHL draft picks in the lineup, they should make a bigger statement and perhaps return to the form of the more dominant team of the 90’s.

Jiri Sekac – Petr Holik – Dimitrij Jaskin
Tomas Nosek – Dominik Uher – Tomas Filippi
Jakub Culek – Tomas Hertl – Petr Straka
Radek Faksa – Lukas Sedlak – Tomas Hyka

David Musil – Daniel Krejci
Bohumil Jank – Vojtech Mozik
Jiri Riha – Petr Zamorsky
Marek Hrbas

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Petr Mrazek is the number 1 goalie for the Czech’s. he played last night but only faced 12 shots, so he may be good to go again tonight against the Canadians. If not, it will be Libor Kasik to get the call between the pipes.


Everyone knows this game is merely a process in the tournament… A means to an end if you will. As long as Canada sticks to the game plan and does their thing, they should be fine. As stated, the Czech’s haven’t beaten Canada since 1993 when they were formed as an indepedent Country and there’s no reason that trend should change today. Play the Czech Republic and don’t look ahead to the game on New Year’s Eve against the U.S. and Canada will follow the Red path in the above picture. make it too complicated and it could be the blue path.

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  • Just looking at the czech roster … We all know Musil’s pedigree, but I also see that their team has a Petr Straka, Petr Holik, and Daniel Krejci. Does anyone know if those guys are of any relation to Martin Straka, Bobby Holik or David Krejci?

  • Wedgewood starts in net tonight for Canada. The Czechs are a team that should not be taken lightly. From what I saw in their pre-tourney game vs Russia, they are a decent team. They outplayed Russia, outshot them big-time, and if it wasn’t for the Czech goalie’s poor play and the Russian goalie’s lucky play, Czechs would’ve won. Should be a more competitive game tonight than on Boxing Day.

    Live chat for this one??? Hahaha

  • I looked on the interweb and answered my own question. If anyone cares:

    Petr Straka is not related to Martin Straka

    Peter Holik is not related to Bobby Holik, although, interestingly, Bobby Holik is David Musil’s uncle.

    Daniel Krejci is no related to David Krejci.

  • stevezie

    I know Pearson was a surprise pick, and I know he was originally slotted in a checking role, but I don’t know enough about the OHL to understand why. Is he not leading the league in scoring? Does that not suggest a likely pick who will see a lot of time on a scoring line?

    • Vintage Flame

      I think he was a surprise pick due to the the fact that he has never played for a provincial under-17 team, never competed for Canada’s under-18 team, received no invitation to the national junior team’s summer development camp.

  • I went to the Czech Republic vs. Denmark game last night…I was impressed at the turnout (probably 75% full). I focused on Musil as an Oiler prospect mostly, and he’s a big kid compared to everyone…he seems to play a steady game and very sound positionally (only once did he have to hustle back into position). He seemed to be a decent skater, although I would wager that Schwartz will test that to a large degree today. He didn’t see any powerplay time, and his shot was comparable to the “Regher wrister”, but nothing dangerous…more of a defensive dman type who got top minutes on the PK. Anyways, he’s obviously relied upon as Czech’s #1 shutdown guy.

    I was also impressed with a few of his teammates: Holik has some speed and will be a threat to Visentin. But Canada should stomp them pretty badly…

    • Vintage Flame

      Baertschi wears #15 for Switzerland.
      Left in the 1st period of today’s game with what is being called an Upper Body injury.

      He got decked pretty good from the side at the blue line when he wasn’t looking. Went down awkwardly as well. He finished the period but did not come out for the 2nd.

  • Vintage Flame

    Just to correct myself from earlier…

    I went to the Canada vs. Czech game tonight and ran into some Czech fans. They were pretty insistent that Daniel Krejci is the brother of David, but otherwise I think my recon was correct. They didn’t line up with what I had found on the internet earlier today, but there you go.

  • West

    Canada has only played the Czech Republic 14 times in history at the WJHC. They are now 12-0-2 in the times they have played. Czechoslovakia does not equal Czech Republic.