The hockey world converges this time of year for one of the best and most competitive yearly international tournaments with the World Junior Championships taking place this year in Atlantic Canada with Moncton and Sidney Crosby’s home area of Halifax serving as the hosts this year.
Below, a complete and comprehensive bit of coverage for the Pittsburgh Penguins involved:
That blank space is the list, the Pens are one of two NHL teams (Toronto being the other) that have no prospects involved this year. Though they could potentially draft some of the younger draft eligible players involved, the past two drafts have seen very few high picks in Pittsburgh, and thus unsurprisingly they don’t have any of the best 18-19 year old players in the world right now.
The hockey is always inspired, and national pride is on the line. I’ve lovingly lifted a nice writeup of the schedule from Habs Eyes on the Prize for the competition for your awareness:
The first phase involves two groups of five teams playing a round robin to decide positioning for the playoff portion. Eight teams make it to the quarter-finals, while the bottom team from each group gets set to play each other in a relegation series.
December 26, 2022
12:00 PM AST / 11:00 AM EST: Finland vs. Switzerland
2:30 PM AST / 1:30 PM EST: Sweden vs. Austria
5:00 PM AST / 4:00 PM EST: Latvia vs. United States
December 27, 2022
12:00 PM AST / 11:00 AM EST: Finland vs. Slovakia
2:30 PM AST / 1:30 PM EST: Germany vs. Sweden
5:00 PM AST / 4:00 PM EST: Switzerland vs. Latvia
7:30 PM AST / 6:30 PM EST: Austria vs. Czechia
December 28, 2022
5:00 PM AST / 4:00 PM EST: Slovakia vs. United States
7:30 PM AST / 6:30 PM EST: Canada vs. Germany
December 29, 2022
12:00 PM AST / 11:00 AM EST: Latvia vs. Finland
2:30 PM AST / 1:30 PM EST: Sweden vs. Czechia
5:00 PM AST / 4:00 PM EST: United States vs. Switzerland
7:30 PM AST / 6:30 PM EST: Austria vs. Canada
December 30, 2022
12:00 PM AST / 11:00 AM EST: Slovakia vs. Latvia
5:30 PM AST / 4:30 PM EST: Germany vs. Austria
December 31, 2022
12:00 PM AST / 11:00 AM EST: Switzerland vs. Slovakia
2:30 PM AST / 1:30 PM EST: Czechia vs. Germany
5:00 PM AST / 4:00 PM EST: United States vs. Finland
7:30 PM AST / 6:30 PM EST: Canada vs. Sweden
The top seed from Group A plays the fourth seed from Group B, the second seed of Group A the third seed from Group B, and so on. These are all single-elimination games, with the losers’ tournament coming to an end, and the winners moving on.
January 2, 2023
12:00 PM AST / 11:00 AM EST: Quarter-final 1
2:30 PM AST / 1:30 PM EST: Quarter-final 2
5:00 PM AST / 4:00 PM EST: Quarter-final 3
7:30 PM AST / 6:30 PM EST: Quarter-final 4 (reserved for Canada)
January 4, 2023
3:30 PM AST / 2:30 PM EST: Semifinal 1
7:30 PM AST / 6:30 PM EST: Semifinal 2 (reserved for Canada)
January 5, 2023
3:30 PM AST / 2:30 PM EST: Bronze Medal Game
7:30 PM AST / 6:30 PM EST: Gold Medal Game
This event won’t have any steam behind it for interest regarding the Penguins this year, but it is still a fun tournament during the holiday times.
And, if you enjoy the WJC’s or are going to spend some time with it in the next few weeks, you really can’t beat Habs EOTP for coverage. As with some other SBN hockey blogs that do a great job , but they specifically crush it each and every year, even with writeups and rosters for six of the top countries. Definitely worth checking out due to the great level and vast amount of articles available there.
In the bigger picture for the Pens, the WJC’s could be seen as a measuring stick for how Ron Hextall needs to rebuild the cupboards with high-end young players for the future. Next year 2022 first round pick Owen Pickering might have a chance to make an always loaded Team Canada blueline that’s stacked with first round picks, and the Pittsburgh 2023 first rounder (and maybe even second rounder!) could also be participating. That usually depends on the country and the depth the player finds himself. Right now for the Pens that won’t exist until Hextall uses the time it naturally takes to build the system back up.