The Carleton Ravens played host to Sweden’s U20 national junior team team last night in Ottawa, and the Swedes prevailed with a 5-1 win. A few quick thoughts.
- Adam Larsson is for real. He was the youngest player on the ice tonight, and probably one of the best. There were a couple times when he just rushed the puck from end to end with ease. It’ll be scary to see how dominant he is 2 years from now when he’s draft eligible.
- Mattias Tedenby (I learned tonight that it’s actually pronounced Tee-ah-den-bee) has NHL speed and hands. He’s frickin tiny, but he can skate like the wind and stick handle in a phone booth.
- Jacob Markstrom looked great. He made a number of superb saves. Looked to me like he’s NHL ready.
- You can see the raw potential that Oliver Ekman-Larsson (paired with Adam Larsson) and David Rundblad (paired with Tim Erixon) both have. They both aren’t afraid to jump in on the rush and get involved offensively. Rundblad absolutely crunched Ravens forward Yves Bastien in the 3rd period. It was a Niklas Kronwall type hit.
- Denis Rasmussen, one of the few Swedens who is undrafted, also impressed me tonight. He scored the first goal and was really involved physically.
- Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson didn’t play in the 3rd period. I was told after the game that he has a concussion.
Canucks fans, don’t worry. I’ll have an Anton Rodin article up shortly.
Here are a few quotes that I gathered from interviews last night:
Marcus Johansson (Washington Capitals):
“It was a fun game. We started out pretty well. It’s a different game playing on small ice.”
“It’s not that hard to adjust, but it’s a different game. It’s more straight to the net, we have to keep the puck moving forward. I think that’s the biggest difference, but we’re getting used to it.”
“Yeah, it’s fun. I like it over here. It’s fun to play hockey on small ice and we’re having a good time so I like it.”
“We’re going there to win. We’ve got nothing else on our mind. I think we’re better prepared this year than we were the last two years so we’re feeling good.”
“I’m very excited. It’s a great experience, it’s a big thing and all of us are excited.”
Jacob Markstrom (Florida Panthers):
“I felt pretty good. I was a little bit worried how my legs would feel after the long trip last night, but I felt pretty good. The team played good and I’m happy with what we did today.”
“Of course, every time you go back to Canada you remember the juniors. It was a good experience and a really fun thing to be a part of. I’m really looking forward to this year, and that it’s in Canada makes it even more fun.”
“Every year, I think we have a better and better team. We’re getting closer and closer so I think this is the year for Sweden to take it home. We’ve had two silver medals and we’re not satisfied with that.”
“The rink size matters a lot. It’s a different game here so every opportunity we have to play on a small rink and these kind of games makes you a better player when it’s all going to happen this winter.”
“I just try to take it day for day. This is the last year of my contract with Brynas so I’m just trying to focus on that and do my best. After the season we’ll see what happens.”
Al MacInnis (vice-president of hockey operations for the St. Louis Blues) on David Rundblad:
“Any chance to see him play, we want to take advantage of that. He’s over here for the next week or so and we’re going to catch the next couple games.”
“We actually did see him in Sweden when we were over there for the start of our regular season. Larry Pleau and myself went up to Skelleftea to see him play and he’s off to a good start. There’s a lot of time invested in these players and we just want to make sure they continue to progress.”
“He’s a very skilled defenceman. He plays on the power-play, he’s got an excellent first pass, good vision. Like most young defencemen, he has some things to work on, obviously a little bit in his own end. And like all these 18 and 19 year old guys, they’re going to have to get stronger but he’s developing very nicely for us.”
“You never want to put a timeline on any young prospect, especially the kids from Europe. In most cases, they take a little bit longer to come over to North America, which is fine with us because we consider their men’s elite league a very good league for the kids to develop. It could be every bit as good as the American league so they’re playing at a high level and we want to make sure that when the time comes, they’re comfortable coming over and they’re ready to play. So there’s certainly no timeframe for David at all.”
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