The 2011 Official BoC WJC Preview

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 26: Maxim Kitsyn, drafted in the sixth round by the Los Angeles Kings, poses for a portrait during the 2010 NHL Entry Draft at Staples Center on June 26, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

This is about the World Junior Championships. To read about tonight's NHL game and to participate in our thought experiment to see how many readers we can lose in 2 weeks, read Spade's post below.

Welcome to the Official Battle of California World Junior Championship Preview, or the OBOCWJCP for short. The World Junior Championships are fascinating because they're so important to everyone for 2 weeks and then it ends and boom, no one gives a shit. The whole thing is kind of stupid: you take 23 kids who have never played together before, throw them into hotel rooms in a foreign place, make them play a handful of games over a week or so, then use those games to determine their worth as a hockey player and human being. It's really just set up to make Canadians feel like they're cool, which makes it all the funnier when they lose.

That being said, it's still hockey and the World Junior Championships are fun. These kids have a lot of chutzpah and they usually do things you don't see in the NHL because the shit they try would get them put through the boards in the NHL. The crowds are usually roaring and the kids care a lot (if they're not too hungover) and, you know, it's fun.

The best part about the WJC's are the confusing of alliances that inevitably take place. Take, for example, Brayden Schenn. I want him to play really well because otherwise the insane Canadian hockey media will claim he's a Scientologist or something, but I want Canada to lose because, again, it's really, really funny when they lose. Alternatively, I want Team USA to win but I want Chris Brown to break his leg because he's from Texas. It's complicated and that's what makes it great.

To help clear up these tangles in alliances, I thought I'd give you a guide on who to cheer for and who to boo (hint: boo the guy from Texas). Or, I'll tell you who to cheer for and you'll do as you're told. Go junior players! Go hockey! Go USA! Fuck Canada (not you, Schenn)!

 

Team USA! USA! USA!

Players from California: Mitch Callahan, Whittier, CA; Emerson Etem, Long Beach, CA

NHL Prospects We Care About: Charlie Coyle (SJ), Kyle Palmieri (ANA), Emerson Etem (ANA), Derek Forbort (LA)

Why You Should Cheer For Them: Because they're the United States, dickhead.

They're the home team, they're the defending champions, they have the largest penises (presumably). The American team also has the most Californians with 2: grinder Mitch Callahan and speedster Emerson Etem. Callahan is a Detroit prospect who is, in a word, an asshole. He has developed a scoring touch of late, however, and will likely make an impact, either good or bad, at some point in this tournament. You'll remember Emerson Etem from last year's draft, when the speedy winger was passed over by many before finally being drafted by the Ducks late in the first round. Etem has continued his progression from roller hockey player to NHL scorer, as he's averaged over a point a game for the Medicine Hat Tigers while also working on his defensive game.

The US also has the most NHL prospects from the 2 teams that matter and also Anaheim. The Ducks have the aforementioned Etem and Kyle Palmieri. Palmieri will start on the 2nd line with center Charlie Coyle, the Sharks' 1st round pick from last draft. Backing those 3 up on defense will be Derek Forbort, a player whose name I still can't say without sounding like a doofus. Forbort (see?) got off to a great start for the University of South Dakota before getting Mononucleosis and missing a few games. Forbort is a  smooth-skating defenseman that has a great first pass and can use his size to stave off plays in the defensive zone. He's raw, though, and he could be exposed in this tournament. I'm worried for him.

Team Canada

Players From California: None

NHL Prospects We Care About: Brayden Schenn

Why You Should Cheer For Them: You shouldn't.

 

Team Russia

Players From California: None

NHL Prospects We Care About: Maxim Kitsyn (LA), Igor Bobkov (ANA)

Why You Should Cheer For Them: Because you're a big fan of comedy.

Team Russia is always one of my favorite teams to watch because of how goofy they are. Think about Sergei Gonchar, Alexander Semin, or Ilya Bryzgalov; now they think about how they were when they were 19. Whether it's splitting 2 defenders before passing back through those 2 defenders instead of shooting, wiping ice off the blades of their sticks instead of backchecking, or yelling funny little phrases when they score, Russia is always the height of comedy. The Kings' Maxim Kitsyn looks like Ivan Drago before they pumped him full of steroids and the Ducks' Igor Bobkov... well, if you can't find the hilarity in a man named Igor Bobkov then I'm afraid we can't be friends. The Russians will probably lose in hilarious fashion because that's what they always do and it'll be awesome.

 

Team Sweden

Players From California: None

NHL Prospects We Care About: None

Why We Should Cheer For Them: Team Sweden is expected to be one of the favorites for this tournament and has a fast, talented team. However, they have no players from California and no prospects we care about so... fuck 'em.

 

Team Finland

Players From California: None

NHL Prospects We Care About: Sami Vatanen

Why You Should Cheer For Them: You have a love of two-syllable first names and three-syllable last names.

Fuck these guys. No offense to our Finnish readers but your team is boring and no one likes you. The problem with the Finnish men's team is that they are filled with marginal NHL'ers and European league players that somehow manage to beat the teams people actually care about; this phenomenon is compounded in the World Juniors because half of these guys won't even become marginal NHL'ers and European league players and they'll still probably beat the US today. Go to Hell, Finland and also Sleza!

Sami Vatanen, who is (of course) an Anaheim prospect, was an international sensation at last year's World Junior tournament for doing this (for the love of God please mute your computers before playing):


Jesus Christ, an Anaheim-owned Finn who has apparently been taking lessons from Scott Niedermayer? We're all fucked.

 

Team Germany

Players From California: None

NHL Prospects We Care About: Konrad Abeltshauser (SJ)

Why You Should Cheer For Them: No idea, I've never heard of any of these guys.

 

Everyone else sucks and I hate them.

 

Today's games on NHL Network:

Russia vs. Canada, 1 PM

Finland vs USA! USA! USA!, 5 PM

 

Blogs to Follow:

Puck Worlds (SBNation)

TSN Site

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