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From the Branches: Marner beats Nylander!

In the last exhibition match before facing the US on December 26, Canada's WJC team beat Sweden, 7-6.

Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Leafs News

Tyler Bozak's miraculous, manufactured sameness | PPP fanpost
"Despite losing Kessel, Bozak has maintained a strong, dependable sameness."

World Juniors

2016 World Junior Hockey Championship preview: Scott Wheeler on Sportsnet 590 The FAN | PPP

World juniors: Canada scores wild 7-6 win in tune-up vs. Sweden | CBC
"Mitch Marner scored with less than four minutes to go to cap the scoring in a wild third period, and Canada edged Sweden 7-6 Wednesday in its last exhibition match before the world junior hockey championship in Finland."

World Junior Championship: Previewing Team Canada | THW
"The World Junior Championship is a staple of the holiday season for those of us residing in Canada. There are so many memories wrapped up in epic games over the years that people will never forget. They include Matt Halischuk stepping up in the extra frame to give Canada an overtime victory against Sweden in 2008."

Will Canada’s team at 2016 world juniors be as good as last year’s? | National Post
"It is not so much a question as an expectation. Every year, the competition gets tougher and yet the expectations on our country’s top under-20 players remains the same: win gold or do not bother coming home." -- What the heck? Surely you don't mean it, Canadian press!

World juniors: 5 Canadian players to watch | CBC
Mason McDonald, Brayden Point (a Bolt prospect!), Jake Virtanen, Anthony Beauvillier, and Dylan Strome.

The Great Canadian Ratings Report: World juniors just what doctor ordered for TSN | Puck Daddy
"How the world juniors do this time around depends on the usual factors: Will Canada make it to the gold medal game? Assuming so, will either Russia or the U.S. provide the competition? Will the games be competitive? Will a star (Mitch Marner) emerge?"

Junior, the CHL podcast: 2016 WJC preview special | Sportsnet
"Jeff and Sam kick off the show by going deep on Team Canada, breaking down the roster position by position: Will the goalies hold up? What are the ramifications of having just one right-shot defenceman? And what will a young forward group mean to the team’s fortunes?"

The Interview: Mitch Marner and Dylan Strome | Sportsnet
They both like to cuddle!

(Most of) USA's best juniors take the stage at WJC | SCOC
You know you wanna read my piece about AMURCA!

It's Christmas Eve...

...Even for us Buddhists, and as traditional as tacky sweaters, here are all of this year's Christmas video creations by NHL teams (so far).

Chicago Blackhawks produced 24 minutes worth of crackling yule log, with wandering cameos from various players. My favorite part is the satanic head of Q rising from the flames. Yeah, I don't know.

Montreal Canadiens produced the most lackluster rendition of Let it Go ever, except for PK Subban. That boy good.

But then PK Subban, all by himself, united Canada in singing Jingle Bells, and the result made my heart grow three sizes. (Subban to the Leafs pls.)


Boston Bruins don't precisely have a Christmas video, but they do have this, which probably embodies them just as well.

The Florida Panthers don't have a Christmas video either, but they have one heart-felt Christmas wish from Jaromir Jagr.

Tampa Bay Lightning might not have a contract ready for Stamkos, but they do offer a set of Triplets under the tree.

The Pittsburgh Penguins did their annual interpretation of a Christmas movie. This one was apparently one of Crosby's favorites.

The Calgary Flames have a two-fer. A strange commercial for the Christmas sweaters, and then a slightly more palatable blooper reel, with a little less secondhand embarrassment.

Our Maple Leafs celebrated Festivus with us yesterday (and if you want your phil of nostalgia, here's a link to last year's Christmas song video).

And apparently the San Jose Sharks public relations department was bored as hell, so they compiled a "behind the scenes" of five of the past seasons' holiday videos. Pretty amazing, and definitely win Best Of for this season's crop.

Last but not least, here's the Solar Bears holiday card!

Have a wonderful December 24th!