After the closing of the basic groups at the World Cup, the teams had a day off to regenerate and prepare for the challenging battles in the quarterfinals.
The journalists thus had the opportunity to evaluate the course of the previous matches, the form of individual teams and players, and there was room for brief guesses as to who the fans would see in the semifinals.
The best of the A-group’s ratings came from Switzerland, which was the only one to not have lost a match at the championship. However, the Slovak productivity leader Juraj Slafkovský certainly left the greatest impression on the players.
“Juraj Slafkovský proves that his performance at the Olympic Games by the most useful player in the tournament was not just a flash. Only the 18-year-old winger leads Slovakia’s scoring with nine points (3G + 6A). In Finland, although he will not finish with seven goals as in Beijing, it can be seen how he easily handles the puck, watches the game and competes with men, ” overseas journalist Lucas Aykroyd told IIHF.com.
According to Lucas Aykroyd, the Slovak striker stood out the most in the match against Kazakhstan for two reasons. “I liked the solo he performed on the penalty shootout in the 4: 3 victory over Kazakhstan. His absolute cold-bloodedness with which he overcame the goalkeeper Andrej Šutov. Juraj Slafkovský also praised Petr Cehlárik, who inspired him in this situation, thus showing his willingness to learn from veterans. ”
Ice Hockey World Championship 2022: Kazakhstan – Slovakia (Juraj Slafkovský scores a goal for Andrej Šut)
In July, the Slovak talent will be available at the NHL draft, and after its performances this season, it is clear that it will not have to wait long for a new club. According to Lucas Aykroyd, it would be a huge mistake for the Montreal Canadiens to waste their first election and leave Juraj Slafkovsky to the competition.
“With all due respect to the center, Shane Wright of the OHL, the Montreal Canadiens Scouting Department must have a serious internal conversation about the possibility of drafting Juraj Slafkovsky first. Everything I’ve seen so far suggests that Juraj Slafkovský will be a difference player in the NHL. “
Even the enthusiasm for the game and the future of the young striker is not enough for the overseas journalist to be able to imagine Slovakia in the semifinals at the expense of a stronger favorite. “Finland is playing Czech hockey from the year 2000 and it looks quite invincible. So it’s an easy choice. ”
His colleague journalist Andy Potts shares a similar view. Although he can’t wait for the performance of young Slovak rifles, he believes that the last one will be in the tournament. “I am quite convinced that Finland will deal with Slovakia. On the defensive, the Finns are one class higher, and although I am excited to be able to look at the young Slovak forwards in person, I don’t think they can frustrate the opponent’s progress. “