Canada wraps up Summer Showcase with loss to USA – Article

PLYMOUTH, MICHIGAN – Team Canada wrapped up the World Junior Summer Showcase with a 7-5 loss against Team USA on Saturday night. The lines are listed below. 

It was the second time Canada lost to their cross-border rivals at the camp. The teams split a pair of scrimmages on Tuesday. 

“At this camp we haven’t been ourselves against them,” said Flames prospect Dillon Dube. “I think we’re a little bit nervous. It’s just tough ending the camp like that. They’re a team we don’t like at all so it’ll be a good battle when we play them in the tournament.”

The next time Canada will play the United States will be on Dec. 29 outdoors at New Era Field during the preliminary round of the World Juniors. 

Canada had eight players with World Junior experience in the lineup on Saturday, including Dube. Tyson Jost, who is dealing with an injury issue and hasn’t been on the ice at the camp, was the only returning player missing.

Canada ends camp with ‘sour taste’ after loss to USA

It certainly didn’t feel like Summer hockey on Saturday night as Canada fell to Team USA in a game featuring plenty of bad blood. It was the second time the Americans got the better of their rivals at the camp, which didn’t sit well with some of Canada’s returning players.

“My mom’s American, but I don’t like the American hockey team,” said Pierre-Luc Dubois, who had a goal and an assist. “Playing against them at the U17, U18, U20 and losing last year to them, even though it’s the middle of the summer, losing is not fun especially against the Americans.”

Joey Anderson (three goals, one assist) and Adam Fox (one goal, three assists) led the way for the Americans. 

Team Canada’s lines in Saturday’s game:

Forwards

Dube-McLeod-Raddysh

Kaspick-Howden-Pu

Smith-Dubois-Thomas

Shaw-Steel-Kyrou

Gadjovich 

Defencemen

Girard-Fabbro

Stanley-Clague

Bean-Makar

Mete 

Goaltenders

Hart (10/14)

Wells (7/9)

WJC Summer Showcase: USA 7, Canada 5

Team USA scored four power play goals on four shots to help the Americans down the Canadians in the final game of the World Junior Summer Showcase.

CANADA’S MAN OF STEEL 

Sam Steel was one of the final two forwards cut by the Canadian World Junior team last year. It was a bitter pill to swallow for the then 18-year-old, who had arrived at the camp as the WHL’s leading scorer.

“It’s tough right now,” a downcast Steel said on Dec. 14, 2016 as he made his way out of the Team Canada hotel. “I’m sure I’ll get through it and hopefully learn from it.”

“He was a hard guy to cut,” said Joel Bouchard, part of Hockey Canada’s management group. “When I spoke to him, he’s the guy that it was hard to cut him, because I felt he really brought his game to another level, which was nice to see. So, I was happy to see him when we met with him this year. It is exciting to see he grew from it.”

Steel used that setback as motivation and is now a leading candidate to be Canada’s top-line centre at this year’s World Juniors. 

“I see a little bit more jump in his game,” said Team Canada head coach Dominique Ducharme. “We saw all his offensive abilities last year, but to be playing at this level and to be playing a complete game and to be playing 15 minutes at five-on-five you need pace and you need that jump and you can see that he’s got that now.”

“It’s a few little things,” Steel said of his development. “You always want to try and improve so I’ve been working on getting stronger and a little faster … Obviously, it was a team I wanted to be on (last year), but, you know, once it happens you can’t do anything about it except just go out and play the best hockey you can.”

And that’s exactly what Sam Steel did. He led the Canadian Hockey League in scoring last season with 131 points in 66 games with Regina. 

“One of the most skilled guys I know at the junior level,” said goalie Carter Hart of the Everett Silvertips, who is a long-time friend of Steel’s. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s up in the NHL next year. He’s got such good vision and a quick release and he’s one of the best passers in the game.”

For now, Steel is focused on achieving his dream of wearing the Maple Leaf at the World Juniors and he helped his cause by scoring a goal and adding two assists on Saturday night. “It would mean a lot,” he said. “This is a team I always wanted to make.”

And he isn’t simply motivated by his own desire to play for Canada. He wants to succeed in order to honour the memory of his older brother Patrick, who passed away suddenly in his sleep in 2011 at the age of 18. Patrick was playing Junior A Hockey in Canmore at the time. 

“We’d always watch the tournament and I’m sure he’d want me to be on that team and try and win a gold medal.”

PART OF THE FAMILY BUSINESS 

One of the stand outs at the World Junior Summer Showcase was American Brady Tkachuk. This fall he will follow in his father Keith’s footsteps by playing at Boston University. And next Spring he’s expected to follow in his brother Matthew’s footsteps by being a top pick in the NHL draft. 

The following is a Q&A with the 17-year-old about what it was like growing up in the Tkachuk family. 

Q: How does your game compare with your dad and brother? 

Brady Tkachuk: “To my dad, I think I got his feistiness. I’m not afraid to go in the tough areas. And for my brother, I like to be around the net, like both of them actually were, I like to make plays in close and in tight to the net.”

Q: How are you different? 

BT: “Probably I’m a little faster then they were, but besides that we’re all pretty similar.”

Q: Like your brother, you play with an edge. What is it that makes the Tkachuks so feisty? 

BT: “I don’t know. It’s just, I’ve been taught from a young age that you don’t have friends out there so you just always compete and play hard.”

What makes the Tkachuk family so darn feisty?

One of the stand outs at the World Junior Summer Showcase has been American Brady Tkachuk. This fall he will follow in his father Keith’s footsteps by playing at Boston University. And next Spring he’s expected to follow in his brother Matthew’s footsteps by being a top pick in the NHL draft. And just like his sibling, Brady is known for playing with an edge.

Q: What was the sibling rivalry like when you were growing up? 

BT: “Usually, when we were younger, he’d win pretty much everything and I’d win maybe once a year and, yeah, everything we did it was always me and him and my little sister joined in later in years, but from roller blading to mini sticks to basketball, you name it, we were always one-on-one with each other.”

Q: Any good memories of when you got the better of Matthew? 

BT: “One roller hockey game a while back I won and usually I never won those so I was pretty pumped and he was not too happy.”

Q: What was it like to spend time around NHL arenas as a kid?

BT: “I got to go in the locker room almost after every home game and be with all the guys. It was awesome and usually on weekends we’d go to practice with him. It was a lot of fun.”

Q: What was it like being in the dressing room? What did you notice? 

BT: “Just being with all the guys. I mean, there was a lot of big names back then like Al MacInnis, Chris Pronger so I didn’t realize it back then, but right now it’s like, they’re Hall of Famers so just to hang with them and get to know them was pretty awesome.”

Tkachuk on sons: It’s nice to know they’re not going to back away from anything

Keith Tkachuk and his son, Calgary Flames’ forward Matthew Tkachuk, join Tessa Bonhomme ahead of the World Junior Summer Showcase game between Canada and the USA to chat about their World Juniors memories and the reason they’re at the tournament; Brady Tkachuk

Q: Do you have a favourite moment? 

BT: “For sure, my dad’s last home game. They had a little ceremony after so my brother and I got to stay on the ice after and just go one-on-one on the rink so it was just us two in the whole arena. It was awesome.”

Q: Did you guys compete? Were you keeping score? 

BT: “There was no net so we were just kind of hitting each other. But, it was a lot of fun.”

Q: What was your favourite moment of Matthew’s rookie NHL season? 

BT: “I only got to see him play once last year and it was at The Joe so it was my last time at The Joe too so it was pretty cool to see him and we got to see him after too so that was probably my favourite memory of him last year.”

Q: What would it mean to you to make the World Junior team? 

BT: “It’s been a goal of mine for pretty much my whole life. I’ve been working for it for the past couple years now. My brother went through it and I got to watch him so it’d be a huge honour to be on this team.”

WORLD JUNIOR SUMMER SHOWCASE RECAP 

In case you missed it, here are some highlights from TSN’s coverage from Plymouth, Michigan: 

Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello talks about the progress of prospects defenceman Timothy Liljegren and goalie Joseph Woll and evaluates Toronto’s off-season moves:

Lamoriello on Leafs prospects: ‘We don’t have room for a lot of them’

Lou Lamoriello is “extremely pleased” with Toronto’s current crop of prospects and hopes they’ll start pushing the team’s veterans soon. The Leafs GM offered progress reports on defenceman Timothy Liljegren and goalie Joseph Woll who are both playing at the World Junior Summer Showcase this week.

Team Sweden head coach Tomas Monten explains how the team is using a different camera angle – “The Eye of the Puck” – to improve their face-off results: 

‘We really sucked’: Swedes use ‘eye of the puck’ to improve on face-offs

After a terrible night in the circle against Team USA, Team Sweden spent a good portion of Thursday’s practice working on face-offs. And in order to show players where they can improve specifically, the team used a small camera attached to the puck and then showed them the video immediately on an iPad.

TSN director of scouting Craig Button believes that Windsor’s Michael DiPietro has a chance to unseat Everett’s Carter Hart as Canada’s starting goalie: 

Can DiPietro unseat Hart as Canada’s starter?

The two leading candidates to start for Canada at the 2018 World Juniors are Flyers prospect Carter Hart and Canucks pick Michael DiPietro. As a returning player, Hart would appear to have the inside track to start on Boxing Day. But TSN director of scouting Craig Button believes that 18-year-old DiPietro has what it takes to challenge him for the job.

Vegas Golden Knights GM George McPhee on why NHL executives have to be careful when it comes to evaluating players in the middle of the Summer: 

How do you evaluate players in the middle of the summer?

Some of the best teenagers in the world have gathered for the World Junior Summer Showcase. But playing intense games after such a long layoff can be tough for those on the ice as well as the scouts in the crowd. Veteran GM George McPhee, who has four Golden Knights prospects in Plymouth, explains what he’s looking for and why the upcoming training camp is so important for his expansion franchise.

Avalanche fourth overall pick Cale Makar hopes to develop into the Canadian version of Erik Karlsson: 

Can Makar develop into the Canadian Erik Karlsson?

Cale Makar is a smooth-skating, offensive-minded defenceman who dominated the Alberta Junior Hockey League before getting picked fourth overall by Colorado. Along the way he earned a lot of comparisons to Erik Karlsson. The 18-year-old sees some similarities and continually watches video of the Sens captain. For now, Makar’s out to prove he can make a smooth transition to the NCAA and World Junior level.

Lightning prospect Cal Foote is following in his father Adam’s footsteps by choosing to play for Canada internationally: 

Finally following in the Foote-steps

Cal Foote was born in Colorado when his dad played for the Avalanche. As a result he wasn’t eligible to play for Canada internationally until after he played two full seasons in the country. So, last year Foote sat out the world juniors as he played his second year in Kelowna. He could’ve chosen to play for Team USA, but he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps.

The nine Canadian players eligible to return to the World Juniors in 2018 are eager to avenge last year’s heartbreaking shootout loss to the Americans: 

“Unfinished business”: Canada starts World Junior quest

Team Canada is proud of how it played last January in Montreal despite the heartbreaking result in the gold-medal game. And yet it remains a bittersweet memory for head coach Dominique Ducharme and the nine players eligible to return for this year’s tournament. And it’s a source of motivation as they begin the quest to go one step further.

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