HELSINKI, Finland – The world junior hockey championship hasn't even started yet, but Canada is already
facing mounting adversity.
Jonathan Huberdeau and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored in the shootout Saturday as Canada defeated Sweden 2-1
in the team's final pre-tournament game.
The story afterwards, however, was the status of Canadian centre Boone Jenner, who was assessed a
five-minute major and a game misconduct for charging after a late hit on Jesper Pettersson in the second
The Swedish defenceman lay on the ice in pain and had to be carried off on a stretcher.
Canadian coach Steve Spott said he didn't know if Jenner would face further disciplinary action from the
International Ice Hockey Federation.
“It's out of our control. Ultimately, our feeling is (the hit) was shoulder-to-shoulder,” Spott said. “If
anything, maybe interference or a charge but definitely not something that's worth suspending because
although Boone is an aggressive player, he didn't target anybody's head and he didn't leave his feet.”
If Jenner, who plays for the Oshawa Generals and is a draft pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets, is
suspended for a significant length of time, Canada would have the option to bring over a player to replace
It's something that Spott has already had to deal with after left-winger Charles Hudon of the Chicoutimi
Saguenéens aggravated his back in practice this week and had to be sent home. Mark McNeill of the Prince
Albert Raiders was expected join the Canadian team on Saturday night to take Hudon's place.
Despite the uncertainty, Spott said the team is coming together as Canada's first game against Germany on
Boxing Day in Ufa, Russia, draws closer.
“It's been a good group,” he said. “Unfortunately we've had to deal with some adversity early with Charles
Hudon and now with Boone, but that ultimately makes you stronger.”
Huberdeau used a pretty deke to open Saturday's shootout before Nugent-Hopkins beat Swedish goalie Joel
Lassinantti low stickside on Canada's second attempt.
Mikael Vikstrand was the only Swede to beat Canadian goalie Jordan Binnington.
Jonathan Drouin scored in regulation for Canada, while Alexander Wennberg replied for Sweden.
Spott asked for more discipline after Thursday's 3-2 exhibition loss to Finland but his team again found
itself in the penalty box far too often.
“The effort was great but again we're taking too many penalties,” Spott said. “That's an area that we have
to continue to improve at because we're just putting our penalty killers on the ice way too much and there
are some elite players that are sitting.
“Discipline and staying out of the penalty box is something that we need to address.”
Binnington played strong in goal for Canada, making 30 saves. Malcolm Subban stopped 19 shots in
Thursday's loss to Finland, but Spott said he's been pleased with the play of both goaltenders and will wait
until the night before the tournament opener to name his starter.
“Jordan was really solid but so was Malcolm,” he said. “Unfortunately we took bad penalties in front of
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)