Caps News: Alzner Back, Johnson in Net Tonight / World Junior Hockey Championship News

January 01, 2009 | Ed Frankovic

Caps Assign Sloan to Hershey

The Washington Capitals have just announced that defensemen Tyler Sloan was reassigned to Hershey meaning that defensemen Karl Alzner will play tonight against Tampa Bay (Verizon Center, 7pm) after missing Tuesday’s win in Buffalo due to a bruised right hand. Drew had a Karl on with him on Wednesday morning’s show so check the WNST audio vault for that one.

Tarik El-Bashir of The Washington Post is reporting that Brent Johnson will be starting in goal tonight despite the fact that Jose Theodore has won four straight games. Johnson was playing very well himself before getting hurt.

Canada Beats US, 7-4, in World Junior Game

In a game I suggested that hockey fans watch last night, Canada knocked off the United States in their World Junior Championship (WJC) matchup in Ottawa, 7-4, but the game was very close with the Canadians getting two empty net goals at the end of the contest. The US had a 3-0 lead in this game only to see possible #1 overall 2009 NHL Entry Draft pick, John Tavares, lead Canada back to victory. Tavares is an incredibly skilled player and he showed his strength as well when he held off a US defender to carry the puck into the empty net last night to seal the win for Canada and get himself the hat trick.

This was an instant classic with the first period having constant action that included some chippiness after Canada cut the US lead to 3-2. It wasn’t clear who was diving or really hurt but it looked to me that the biggest cheap shot came from 2008 Caps 7th round draft choice, Stefan Della Rovere, who went after James van Riemsdyk (2007 1st round and 2nd player taken overall behind Chicago’s Patrick Kane in the NHL Entry Draft by the Philadelphia Flyers) in a scrum near the benches. Rovere also would later take a boarding penalty that was a total cheap shot and should have been called a major penalty The kid clearly has the desire to mix it up and compete but he is going to need to keep his head on straight if he ever wants to contribute at the NHL level. Dumb penalties are a quick way to defeat for teams in the NHL.

As a result of the loss the US will play Slovakia on Friday in the quarter finals of the WJC tournament and if they win they will face Sweden on Saturday in the semi-finals, who possess the other player that could go #1 in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft in defensemen Victor Hedman. Canada, with the win over the United States automatically advances to the semi-finals of the WJC on Saturday. If both the US and Canada win their games on Friday and Saturday they will meet again for the title game on Monday, January 5th. The NHL Network is televising the action.

That is it for now, time to go watch the Winter Classic on NBC in HD from Wrigley Field (1 pm start). I like Chicago to win today over Detroit.