The World Juniors took an unexpected turn last night with the Czech Republic defeating the USA in a dramatic upset, knocking them out of the tournament in a game that featured misconducts and ejections for some very dirty play.

The end result was a 4-2 win that was certainly an exciting moment for the underdogs who ended a seven game losing streak to the USA.

This means that the tournament has come to an unexpectedly early end for the Leafs’ highly-rated prospect Matthew Knies, however it will continue for two more Leafs prospects who also have high potential; Roni Hirvonen and Topi Niemela continue to the semi-finals on the Finnish team, and Hirvonen is clearly playing his top game for Finland.

The four semi-finalists are Canada, Czechia, Sweden, and Finland. The semi-final games will be tomorrow, with the Canadians facing the Czechs at 2:00 p.m. ET and then the Swedes facing the Finns at 8:00 p.m.. Having the Canadians once again play their game in the early afternoon—in Edmonton—instead of at primetime is another scheduling headscratcher, but I’m guessing at this point everyone simply wants this bizarre edition of the tournament to come to an end so they can get ready for the next one which is at the proper time in late-December.

Other News

Maple Leafs, Rasmus Sandin hit contract rut: 'Negotiations are going nowhere' - Sportsnet
"Negotiations are going nowhere," Lewis Gross, Sandin’s agent, told Sportsnet Wednesday during a phone call.

FANPOST: Who will complete the top six role with the Leafs in the upcoming season - TheMannyK
"One key position that still has a question mark looming over it is who will slot in beside John Tavares and William Nylander on the second line to round out the top six. The Leafs have several players within the organization that could be a perfect fit as a top-six forward on the second line."

The puck stops where? Canadians show little confidence in Hockey Canada culture change amid sex abuse allegations - Angus Reid Institute
“While this is clearly seen as an issue by Canadians, only five per cent see sexual assault and harassment as a hockey-specific problem, rather than a sports problem. More than four-in-five (84%) say this is a broad issue to be dealt with in sports culture, even if hockey gets the most attention.”

Newly signed Maple Leaf Victor Mete made a public statement about the ongoing investigations into Hockey Canada and his tangential involvement to the recent events.

Our Top 25 Under 25 will continue this morning with #20, and that will be it for the week. We’re taking Friday off to spend a long weekend relaxing on the Kitten Ranch (there will still be an FTB), but we’ll be back to the list on Monday with... a tie? Yup! Our first of two ties on the list this year. At what point is the second tie? You’ll find out soon enough.