Monday, September 21, 2009
The final entry in "The Lockout Collection" highlights the 2005 World Junior Championships.
Unfortunately, video of Ovechkin at the 2005 World Juniors is disappointingly limited on YouTube, but here is a brief look at the skills put on display during the tournament.
With the NHL Lockout in full force, the highlight of the North American hockey calendar was the 2005 World Junior Championships, held primarily in Grand Forks, North Dakota with some games taking place in nearby Thief River Falls, Minnesota.
The 2005 edition is widely regarded as having the the deepest talent pool of any World Juniors ever held due to the number of great young players who would have, in any ordinary year, been otherwise employed in the NHL.
Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins had already played a a full season in the NHL and certainly would have not been made available by the Bruins mid-season under normal circumstances.
Patrice Bergeron would have remained with
the Bruins had there not been a lockout
Other players who likely would have been in the NHL at the time include 2003 draft picks Ryan Suter and Patrick Eaves of the United States, Dion Phaneuf, Jeff Carter, Brent Seabrook, Ryan Getzlaf, Mike Richards and Corey Perry of Canada, Dan Fritsche of the United States and Andrei Kostitsyn of Belarus.
2004 draft picks Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin of Russia, Canadian Andrew Ladd and Czech Rotislav Olesz all spent time in the NHL during the 2005-06 season and had their debuts delayed by the lockout.
Malkin consoles a distraught Ovechkin following the Russian loss in the finals, a game where Ovechkin was knocked out early with an injury
Other notable players who participated in the 2005 World Junior Championships include Sergei Kostitsyn of Belarus, Ladislav Smid, David Krejci and Michael Frolik of the Czech Republic, Lauri Korpikoski and Tukka Rask of Finland, Andrei Meszaros and Jaroslav Halak of Slovakia, Johan Fransson, Nicklas Grossmann, and Loui Ericksson of Sweden, Alexander Radulov of Russia and Drew Stafford, Ryan Callahan, Phil Kessel and Corey Schneider of the United States.
Phil Kessel impressed for the United States
In addition to those players already mentioned, the assemblage of talent on Team Canada was beyond impressive, and was demonstrated by their march through the tournament, finishing with a perfect 6-0 record to capture the gold medal and a 41-7 margin in goals. Also taking the ice for Canada in Grand Forks were future NHLers Brent Seabrook, Shea Weber, Colin Fraser, Cam Barker, Nigel Dawes, Braydon Colburn and one Sidney Crosby.
Crosby and Ovechkin squaring off at the stellar 2005 World Junior Championships
Bergeron, Crosby and Perry celebrate Canada's 2005 World Junior Championship
Today's featured jersey is a 2005 Russia National Team Alexander Ovechkin jersey. Ovechkin was the captain of Russia at the 2005 World Juniors and his jersey sports the captains "C" as well as the original International Ice Hockey Federation logo patch on the lower back of the jersey, as worn by all the players in the tournament, with the exception of the United States 1932 throwback jerseys.
Ovechkin would finish the tournament third in scoring with 11 points from 7 goals and 4 assists in 6 games, leading Russia to the gold medal game, but was forced out of the contest with a shoulder injury that would keep him out of action for Moscow Dynamo for two months following the tournament.
Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 2005 Canada National Team Sidney Crosby jersey as worn during the 2005 World Junior Championships. His actual game worn jersey was stolen following the tournament by an Air Canada baggage handler in Montreal. It was later recovered in a mailbox in Quebec.
Here is a profile of Ovechkin aired during the 2004 World Juniors. It's a bit short of game footage, but does have an interview with the then 17 year old.
Finally, a compliation of highlights of Ovechkin prior to joining the NHL, which includes some clips of him in his Russian National Team jersey.