Everyone but Mikael Backlund was in action today as the IIHF World Championship kicked off.
Team Canada and Sean Monahan
Bad news: Team Canada did not have a good day. They fell to the French 3-2 in the shootout.
Good news: Sean Monahan could not in any way be blamed for this. In fact, due to Canada's less-than-desired performance, head coach Dave Tippett may reevaluate his players and lines, and Monahan could benefit from that.
Monahan, the 13th forward in the first game, played the least out of all Canadian skaters. He finished with 3:01 of ice time over four shifts, and didn't play at all in the third period. (Fellow 2013 first rounder Nathan MacKinnon received 17:55 of ice time.)
What Monahan did accomplish in his little ice time was all positive: he won all four faceoffs he took, and had a shot on goal in the second period. He was not on the ice for any goals against, so this wasn't a benching: he was simply the extra guy.
Tippett did have one more use for Monahan, though, as he was Canada's second shooter in the shootout. Monahan went five-for-nine in the shootout in his first NHL season. However, he was unable to score in this game. Monahan tried to slip the puck five hole on Cristobal Huet, but the French goaltender beat him.
Canada will likely be adding another forward to its roster as more teams get eliminated from the playoffs (the Rangers are facing elimination tonight, and they have a couple of impressive Canadian forwards), so Monahan's fate remains to be seen. Hopefully he'll get more ice time when Team Canada plays Team Slovakia tomorrow. Puck drop will be at 11:45 a.m. MT.
Team Switzerland and Sven Baertschi
Bad news: The Swiss were shutout by the Russians, 5-0.
Worse news: Sven Baertschi suffered an upper body injury and is likely going to miss some time.
Tough break for Flames&src=hash">#Flames Sven Baertschi, who left Swiss game today with upper body injury. Swiss coach Sean Simpson: "It does not look good."— Darren Haynes (@DarrenWHaynes) May 9, 2014
Baertschi was taken to the hospital. He did not play in the third period.
Over the first two periods, everything Baertschi did was looking good: in 10 shifts and 7:05 of ice time, he got two shots on net, and wasn't on the ice for any goals against. (The Russians scored three goals in the first period, when Baertschi was still playing.)
The Swiss are set to take on Johnny Gaudreau and the Americans tomorrow at 11:45 a.m. MT in what was sure to be the most exciting round robin matchup for Flames fans, but it sounds unlikely Baertschi will be able to play. Which sucks. So much. The Flames' new GM, Brad Treliving, is at the tournament, and Baertschi may have lost an opportunity to impress him.
Baertschi was going to be on the silver-winning Swiss team in last year's World Championship, but had to withdraw due to injury.
Team USA and Johnny Gaudreau
Bad news: That depends on if you hate Americans or not, because Team USA defeated host Belarus 6-1.
Good news: EVERYTHING, because Johnny Gaudreau is a tiny magical hockey being.
Monahan is one of the youngest members of Team Canada and saw little ice time. Gaudreau is one of the youngest members of Team USA and played 17:28, the most out of all American forwards. He was also the highest-scoring American with a goal and two assists, so, you know, he got the chance to earn it and he did.
Top shelf snipe. Here's to us seeing lots of those in his NHL career.
Gaudreau only got two shots on net, but whenever he was on the ice, the puck was following him around. The kid seriously has it on a string. He's really, really good. And remember, the knock on him has always been his size - that's why he went in the fourth round - but he's playing against men now, and continuing to thrive.
Gaudreau and friends get to play the probably-Sven-Baertschi-less Swiss tomorrow morning at 11:45 a.m. MT on TSN2. They play at the same time as Team Canada, so be sure to get a second screen set up, because Gaudreau is a guy you definitely want to watch.
Team Czech Republic and Jiri Hudler
Bad news: Well, nothing.
Good news: Jiri Hudler is allowed to play for his country again, and he got an assist for his efforts in a 3-2 OT win over the Slovaks.
Hudler played 13:51 in the Czechs' first game, eighth in ice time out of all forwards, although he was tied for fourth with 20 shifts. He had the primary assist on the Czech's opening powerplay goal (our old friend Roman Cervenka had the other assist - good for him!) and had two shots on net.
The Czechs have tomorrow off. Their next game is against Mikael Backlund and Team Sweden on Sunday at 11:45 a.m. MT.