It's Boxing Day, a day historically dedicated to boxes, or boxing, or cats? I don't really know. There's probably a Wikipedia article explaining it and you can go find it, but what we all do know is that in these times it's dedicated to the first day of the IIHF World Junior Championship tournament, and unlike last year, there are two Toronto Maple Leafs prospects on team Canada and one of them is the captain: Fraser Minten.
The tournament begins today in Sweden with Minten as captain and Easton Cowan in the ranks of the Canadian team. They also both faced the first of many difficult challenges yesterday before any puck had dropped.
If you need some reference materials, here are our reports on these two from the summer.
Today's Canada vs. Finland game starts at 8:30 a.m. ET on TSN.
The Marlies play their traditional Boxing Day Classic against the Belleville Senators at Scotiabank Arena today. The Marlies had a real rough patch through November but have turned it around recently and held their ground in the North Division. Another win tonight would also be a big help to hold their place in the standings.
The Marlies lost to the Senators in their last game on December 22, so a revenge win is on hand.
The NHL has another day off, which is an increasingly questionable decision. Basketball and football of course don't have a competing international tournament at this time of the year, but the media coverage and the attendance of the NFL and the NBA Christmas Day games is quite remarkable this year, while the NHL sits out for three days, totally silent.
It's not for me to decide what's important to the players, but I think they also cannot complain about the salary cap while also keeping a tradition to give up what are now some of the most revenue lucrative TV sports days of the season. Though maybe now it's too late and they will never be able to compete.
You can say that the NHL is more concerned with making New Year's Day their own with the Winter Classic instead of a day on around Christmas, but then... do you even know what teams are playing in that game this year, which is only a few days away? It's Vegas @ Seattle, for the record.