Canada Ends Super Series Unbeaten

Canada put the final touches on a masterpiece tonight beating the Russian U20 team 6-1 in the final game of the Canada/Russia Super Series. With the victory, the Canadians finish the series with an unbeaten 7-0-1 record. Lightning prospect Dana Tyrell was scoreless in the game. He finishes the series with 1 goal.

The entire tournament is archived online for viewing at

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I watched the last two periods of the game. Tyrell played very little until the last 10-11 minutes a day when Canada finally had the Russians well under thumb.

I thought he was the second weakest player on Team Canada behind the 16 year old John Tavares. Now, don't take that the wrong way. There's not a bad player on that team and Tyrell didn't play a bad game. Part of the problem, I think, is that he's been only getting 10-12 shifts a game in this series and he's pretty rusty and part of it is that he just doesn't have the experience at the U20 level.

The skill set is pretty much as advertised. When he is decisive, his speed and acceleration are incredible. Unfortunately he seemed a little bit timid to me and was thinking too much rather than reacting and making plays. He's smart on the forecheck but not a physical guy. He didn't play the body at all, just the puck. His best shift came about midway through the third period when he and his line hemmed in the Russians and they eventually drew a penalty. He doesn't stay long in those corners but he gets the job done. Darts in and gets out like St. Louis, and isn't afraid to go in front of the net. Made some smart little plays in the defensive zone too.

A couple of his passes were downright pittiful though, and the few times Russia generated chances he seemed to be on the ice. He was away from the play covering the point men on Russia's lone goal. Bottom line: I'd classify him as a work in progress. He needs to up the aggression level and play with more confidence, especially if he wants to make the Canadian U20 WJC team. I thought Zac Boychuk sealed his spot on the team with his play tonight. Tyrell is still on the bubble though, and Tavares might've fallen off the bubble. There are some damned good players that didn't make Team Canada for this series and Tyrell needs a strong first half of the junior season to protect his spot. If I was Team Canada's braintrust, I'd definitely make a couple of changes just to get new blood in and avoid this team getting too overconfident. The danger in whipping the Russians this bad is one or two of these players might start to think all they'll have to do is roll their helmets out onto the ice at the WJC's to get gold.

One other thing that bothered me tonight: Tyrell was on the ice when Maxim Chudinov (who played like a little punk all night long) took a cheap shot at Claude Giroux after a whistle tonight and touched off a big melee. Dana was right in the middle of it, but rather than grab a guy and give him a good facewash he looked like a deer in headlights. Some big Russian guy eventually grabbed him from behind and hugged him and pulled him to the boards and he looked relieved, frankly, not to have to mix it up. That didn't impress me. As a fourth liner, Tyrell needs to step up there and protect one of the team's star players. That doesn't mean dropping the gloves, but it does mean you give some Russians a little of the glove and a little of the stick. Leadership 101.

Of the potential '08 draftees, I really liked Boychuk and Drew Doughty. Very impressive. Boychuk scored a sick goal from his knees and Doughty is occassionally Boyle-esque on the rush. He goes for it and damn the repercussions.

For the Russians, their goaltender got hung out to dry. Sergei Bobrovsky played his butt off and they just gave him no help. Their d is soft as butter. Their best skater, IMO, was Ruslan Bashkirov. Ottawa may have a good one there.

WJC's will be a good test for the Lightning prospects. Hopefully Tyrell makes it there. Hopefully Helenius will be the starter for Finland. Cunti, obviously, will be one of the stars of the Swiss team. It'd be great if Kevin Quick could play his way onto Team USA too.

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