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WJC: US Cruises to 8-0 Win In Opener

I feel like a bad person for watching that game the whole way through. From the very opening faceoff - when the US's Sean Kuraly broke in and scored less than 20 seconds into the game - it was clear that Germany was completely overwhelmed, as the Americans romped to an 8-0 win in their first game at the 2013 World Junior Championships.

Eight different American players scored: Kuraly (Miami), Jacob Trouba (Michigan), Alex Galchenyuk, Riley Barber (Miami), Shayne Gostisbehere (Union), Ryan Hartman, J.T. Miller, and Seth Jones. For what it's worth, the +8 goal differential puts the US in first place in Group B, as Canada had a +6 differential in their game against Germany.

Johnny Gaudreau did not score, though he did register 5 shots on goal and seemed to come on stronger as the game went on. Gaudreau's line, with Miller and Rocco Grimaldi, was expected to be the US's #1 line in the tournament, but the two most effective units were Kuraly-Galchenyuk-Barber and Cole Bardreau-Blake Pietila-Ryan Hartman. It seemed like in the first period Gaudreau's line was having some problems establishing chemistry and spacing, with Gaudreau and Miller bunching up a couple of times on the power play and creating awkward passing angles. I expect these guys to get better as the tournament goes on.

Galchenyuk, Barber and Kuraly are going to be fun to watch during this tournament, I think. Barber and Kuraly have great chemistry as both play at Miami and are having strong seasons for the Redhawks. Galchenyuk, meanwhile, is Straight Filthy, and demonstrated why the Montreal Canadiens drafted him #3 overall by showing his great vision, speed, and shot. I have to imagine he'll be extra pumped to play in this tournament, as his family is Russian and he spent some of his youth in Russia. His goal, the third of the night, was probably the most impressive highlight of the night; here's a look at all 8 goals.

USA - Germany (8-0) WJC 12/27/12 All Goals & Highlights (via JonesHighlights)

A mild concern for the US was the number of penalties taken in the game (7 total), but they managed to kill off all of the penalties.

Goaltender John Gibson wasn't tested much but when he was, he looked sharp and made some solid stops.

Overall, it seems like the US's big strengths are overall team speed and the dynamism, playmaking and shooting ability of their puck-moving defensemen. Gothisbehere, Jones, and Connor Murphy all look poised to have tremendous tournaments.

Hopefully the Americans saved some goals and some energy for tomorrow, as they will take on the host Russians at 9 AM in an absolutely huge game. Let's hope it brings another US win and Gaudreau's first goal of the tournament.

It's probably a good sign that my #1 complaint is about the NHL Network broadcast, but I must say, it was pretty poor. To be fair, it's hard to make a fair judgement as the NHL Network's original broadcasts of US games come on right after simulcasts of TSN for the other games; TSN's coverage in Canada is about the best hockey production you'll find anywhere, and they sent all their A-teamers for World Juniors.

It seemed pretty clear to me that the announcers weren't even at the game and were calling it from a studio back home - and if they weren't, the audio feed needs a lot of work to sound less detached from the rest of the arena sounds. They basically just took all of TSN's graphics (right on down to "tweet about this game at #TSNWJC") and slapped an NHL Network logo on there. And most annoyingly to me, they once again hired announcers who have the obnoxious tic of almost always referring to the US team as "Team USA," even though we'd never call a team Team Boston College or Team Notre Dame, and we usually don't call other national teams "Team _____." But for whatever reason, American announcers say "Team USA" over and over again. It's like nails on a chalkboard to me.

Am I the only one who gets really annoyed by this? I'm willing for it to be a one-man crusade. If we're going to refer to our national teams by a goofy, cartoonish name, I say we go all out with "Team America." (F Yeah!)


In the day's other action, Switzerland thumped Latvia 7-2.

Group A Standings

Switzerland - 1-0-0-0, 3 pts., +5 GD
Finland - 1-0-0-0, 3 pts., +4 GD
Sweden - 1-0-0-0, 3 pts., +3 GD
Czech Republic - 0-1-0-0, 0 pts., -3 GD
Latvia - 0-2-0-0, 0 pts., -9 GD

Group B Standings

United States - 1-0-0-0, 3 pts., +8 GD
Canada - 1-0-0-0, 3 pts., +6 GD
Russia - 0-0-1-0, 2 pts., +1 GD
Slovakia - 0-0-0-1, 1 pt., -1 GD
Germany - 0-2-0-0, 0 pts., -14 GD

Tomorrow's Games

2:30 AM - Czech Republic vs. Finland
4:30 AM - Slovakia vs. Canada - live on NHL Network
7:00 AM - Sweden vs. Switzerland
9:00 AM - USA vs. Russia - live on NHL Network