So the NHL has decided to announce plans for the NHL World Cup over the All Star Weekend. It will happen every four years in September starting in 2016. This is basically their answer to soccer’s FIFA World Cup.
Credit where credit is due, it is a pretty neat concept overall. The more top-notch hockey played the more better for growing the sport. I’m far less traditional than a lot of people when it comes to ideas and having fun with the sport.
By: Adam Pyde – @Adam_Pyde
But I hate the Young Guns team, or the Under-23 Young NHL Stars of North America team. Or the YUNG GUNZ or whatever.
It just reeks of NHL gimmickiness. Like remember the guardians? Or the Fox glow puck?
To start, I dread the uniform design. I’m a uniform junkie. I love when they look spiffy and traditional. But I see the NHL going “All Star” for this. Neon green and purple? Teal and orange? Glow paint splash rave style? Gotta be young and hip! Rad stuff dude.
Then there comes the roster. I put this together, rather unofficially as I could not find a reliable complete resource for U-21 NHL players, as the current players that will still be eligible come the start of the tournament in 2016.
Granted if it were to be this year, players like Taylor Hall, Tyler Seguin, Ryan Johansen, Nick Bjugstad and Jacob Trouba would be eligible to help fill it out, among a collection of other mediocre NHL talents that form a “huh?” of bit part players. Heaven forbid any of the small pool of players is rehabilitating and injury of the summer and has to withdraw.
It still isn’t quite as strong a roster as I believe people are assuming. Especially in net, where the only options (if it were this season) are John Gibson and Calvin Pickard, both who have spent a lot of time playing in the AHL this season.
Yes, more players will be coming into the league such as Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel and a number of other top prospects. But they’re still kids. What goaltenders are on the horizon? Will they have to make it U-25 goaltenders? What about using some of the young scraps left from Team World?
Do you really think that collection of kids, many of whom still don’t have a concept of pro level defence, can stand up to the attacking players on Team Canada or the US Squad? Or be able to hold zone coverage against a passing game like the Swedes? What about the rushing strength of the Russian team? Can they out system the Finnish or Czech team?
Part of me thinks it would be fun. I love the World Junior tournament because it is like watching a bunch of teens with new drivers licenses being handed the keys to a Ferrari and given an open road. They know what they want to do, but no idea how to rein it in to really do it. That is still the case with a ton of U-23 players.
I just can’t shake this feeling of an ugly disaster that we look back on and go “Why did that ever happen?”
I also feel that if this team was to play Team Canada or USA that there might be some conflict of interest to some players not giving their all. Call this one a hunch based on the inner stupidity of the politics that go on within Hockey Canada and USA Hockey.
What anthem are they going to play after a win? 22 by Taylor Swift? The latest top-40 number one that’ll probably be Katy Perry collaborating with Kanye West? Will they raise a flag with a picture of Avicii on it after a victory? Knowing the NHL, they’d probably think that Gangnam Style was still a thing and play it after a win as they raised a Psy banner.
Furthermore, don’t you think, using this year’s U-23 players, that Seguin or Trouba would rather play for their actual country? Hockey can be volatile and they may never get another chance. I’m sure Jason Spezza figured he’d have made an Olympic team by now.
You can also bet Hockey Canada and USA Hockey would want to ice the best roster possible as they have to beat teams like Sweden and Finland, that aren’t handicapped by an age restriction on their teams.
I’d be more on board with the idea if it was a collection of every nations U23 players, but that runs into issues of stripping the Czech and Finnish teams of their ability to fill out the entire roster.
Or maybe this all works out and the NHL doesn’t screw this all up horribly.