Islanders Jack Hillen and Frans Nielsen doing the Worlds thing last week.
Travis Hamonic's Wheat were blown out by Windsor in the Memorial Cup opener Friday -- they bounced back Sunday with a 4-0 win over QMJHL champs Moncton -- but that hit Hamonic delivered on top 2010 draft prospect Taylor Hall in the opening minute reverberated over the weekend.
First, the hit, posted on YouTube by one islesenforcers, followed by some coverage:
- Hall, to his credit, acknowledged that he initiated contact with Hamonic. It appears Hamonic was ready.
- Hamonic -- as well as Hall's coach Bob Bougner -- agreed, with Hamonic saying, "We just went shoulder to shoulder."
- Hall and Hamonic were WJC teammates, of course -- all part of a web of friendships among several opposing players in this tourney.
- The Wheat Kings are back at it Wednesday to face Calgary, the WHL champs who eliminated Hamonic's team from the playoffs. That should be an excellent one.
Meanwhile, at the Worlds: While John Tavares netted that hat trick in the demolition of Norway, the Islander triumvirate with Team USA had to get busy protecting the U.S.'s return invitation in the relegation round. Kyle Okposo's first period goal and assist (to T.J. Oshie) helped launch the U.S. to a 10-0 rout of Kazakhstan. Jack Hillen logged 15:30 and assisted on the 9th goal. (Brandon Dubinsky, by the way, had a goal and four assists.) Sunday, the U.S. shut out France 4-0, and both Islanders were held scoreless. The U.S. closes out with Italy Tuesday, where a win will assure they've avoided relegation.
Sadly, Frans Nielsen's Denmark squad was beaten up 6-1 by Russia, which added eliminated Penguins Sergei Gonchar and Evgeni Malkin. Denmark's coach had an interesting analysis: "It's easy to analyze why we lost. They were too good. We knew that before the game, and we know it now." Succinct.
Weather permitting, report cards resume later today.