Deja vu 10 years later
Deja vu 10 years later
Some things haven’t changed since ‘06 Worlds
Looking at the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, let’s check out a few examples of what’s remained the same since the 2006 tournament in Riga, Latvia.
Alexander Ovechkin is still the most dangerous goal-scorer in Russia’s lineup. In 2005-06, the Washington Capitals superstar scored 52 goals as an NHL rookie. This season, the “Great 8” potted 50 to lead the NHL.
As in 2006, Kazakhstan has been relegated at this tournament. Only their route to that sad fate was different here. In ‘06, they played in the relegation round, where they lost 3-2 to Italy, beat Slovenia 5-0, and then fell 3-2 to Denmark. Nowadays, the relegation round no longer exists, so the Kazakhs were doomed as soon as they fell 2-1 to Latvia and were consigned to last place in Group A.
In 2006, the Russians hammered an underdog opponent 10-1 in the preliminary round (Kazakhstan), and they did the same this year to Denmark. (That, however, wasn’t the single biggest margin of victory at the ‘06 tournament. In the now-defunct qualification round, Canada blanked host Latvia 11-0.)
Jussi Jokinen is once again among Finland’s top point-producers. In 2006, the Kalajoki-born winger was coming off his rookie campaign with the Dallas Stars, and chipped in two goals and six assists in nine games. So far at this tournament, the Florida Panthers veteran has totalled a goal and seven assists in six games.
Roy Johansen is still the head coach of Norway. In 2006, the Oslo native led his men in polar bear jerseys to an 11th-place finish. The 2016 World Championship will mark the 56-year-old’s last year behind the bench, as he hands the reins over to Petter Thoresen.
And as in 2006, Canada’s roster includes the most highly touted number one overall draft pick of his era, a center with dazzling offensive skills. Of course, in ‘06, that was Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who led the Worlds in scoring with 16 points, but wound up losing the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s rookie of the year to Ovechkin.
This year, Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers has put on the red Maple Leaf for the first time at the senior level in St. Petersburg. We’ll have to wait and see if McDavid wins the Calder or if it goes to Russia’s Artemi Panarin (Chicago Blackhawks) or the U.S.’s Shayne Gostisbehere (Philadelphia Flyers).
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