What they’re saying: Morgan Rielly

Original source Toronto Sun

What I like about the Canada-Russia Challenge is that it’s giving us a good look at several of the members for Team Canada at the World Juniors, playing together on the same team. We get to know a little about the style that coach Steve Spott is going to bring to the table, and, if any of the first three games are any indication, the Canadians are going to play a very up-tempo game wherein they activate the defence often.

That’s good news for Leafs fans. Morgan Rielly, the No. 5 overall pick from June is on the team and he’s an offensive defenceman with good skating instincts and he looked pretty good in Game Three. Here’s a brief rundown on what people are saying:

Neate Sager of Yahoo! Sports’ junior hockey blog Buzzing the Net gave the defence an overall “B”-grade, despite allowing six goals in Game Three in the 6-5 loss to the Russians, the defence helped contribute to the 42 shots Canada took:

The focus should be more on how Canada went about it than what happened. Ryan Murphy (1G-3A), Toronto Maple Leafs first-rounder Morgan Rielly (an on-the-tape pass to Huberdeau for the 5-5 goal) and Ryan Murray (1G-1A) led a back end that was activated and generated scoring chances throughout the night. It was a welcome chance from the typical Canadian junior team that’s full of two-way and shutdown D-men with the one token offensive defenceman who’s only unchained from the bench on power plays. Canada likely will need that extra gear to stretch opposing defences with the WJHC on big European ice for the first time in five seasons.

There’s the technical side, and then there’s Mike Farwell of Sportsnet 590 referring to Rielly as the “glorious bastard”. Certainly a fun nickname going ahead. Via Mark Masters, Rielly is tied for second in scoring on the team so far, but given it’s a short tournament, I wouldn’t read too much into it:

Meanwhile, Dougie Hamilton and Griffin Reinhart drew out of Canada’s lineup in Game Three, but will return in the fourth and final game that runs tonight at the Halifax Metro Centre. Either Coach Spott is a fan of irony and a Maple Leafs troll or if this is some dreadful coincidence, it appears that Hamilton, Boston’s pick via Toronto and the final piece of the Phil Kessel trade, will be slotting alongside Rielly tonight. Again, via Masters:

There will surely be some fun things said on the Internet if the two have a great game tonight, and a lot of “what could have been” talk. I wouldn’t read too much into it. It’s a gross oversimplification of the repurcussions of the original trade.

The game is on TSN, RDS and TSN Radio tonight at 7 p.m. Eastern/4 p.m. Pacific if you want to tune in and catch Rielly in action. If you don’t live in Canada, I’m sure there will be a few streams available.

Also, for Rielly’s Game Two goal, it comes at the end of a pretty good shift that can be found within this video.

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