Every year, around Christmas, as the NHL is winding down for their break, the hockey world turns towards the World Juniors. For many hockey fans, it's one of the highlights of the hockey calendar. It is also a huge moment in the careers of a lot of young players. Few of the players that take part will become NHL superstars, even if many make it. For some, it's a highlight of their entire careers.
That won't be the case for the 2022 edition:
Nothing much to say here but it sucks. For the players, their families, the fans, everyone. Some of these guys will never get another chance to do this, at least at the junior level. That extends to coaching staffs as well, who don't return every year. It is also a big money-maker for the host city and the rights holders, a big hit at a time when hockey revenue is down across the board.
They did say they’ll try to have a tournament later this year, likely in the summer. We will see.
Jack Hughes and Jesper Bratt each had a goal and two assists in New Jersey's 4-3 win over Buffalo. For Bratt, he has 27 points in his last 25 games, just an unbelievable stretch from the young winger. As for Hughes, he had six shots on goal and seemed to be attacking the net with regularity. Not that he has to do it all the time, but having that dimension just makes him that much more dangerous.
It is my last Ramblings of 2021 as Ian has tomorrow's and then we're rolling the calendar. Looking back on this year in hockey, it was been, in a word, absurd. We had the intra-divisional play season last year that was off-and-on all season long with COVID outbreaks. Then we had playoffs stretch well into July. The 2021-22 season started this year relatively problem-free, but the last month or so has been a disaster for a lot of teams.
Of course, the absurdity brought a lot of good. We saw Connor McDavid go absolutely supernova at the end of last season, a run that we haven't seen in decades. We also saw a Canadian team head to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since the aughts, and the rise of numerous young stars like Makar, Kaprizov, Fox, Shesterkin, and Tkachuk, to name a few. We saw Trevor Zegras setup one of the most unique goals