It was a painful first day at the World Junior Championship after several notable players suffered injuries in opening action Monday.
Perhaps no team was hurt more than Canada after losing forward Devante Smith-Pelly to a broken foot after blocking a shot from Finland’s Teemu Pulkkanen. Smith-Pelly is expected out 4-to-6 weeks, ending his quest for gold at the World Juniors.
The same fate might have fallen on 2012 draft eligible Finnish defenseman Olli Maatta. Maatta was on the receiving end of a crushing hit from Canadian forward Boone Jenner in the first period. Finnish coach Raimo Helminen said that the 17-year-old possibly suffered a concussion on the play, which could end Maatta’s tournament.
A pair of prospects also managed to escape serious injury.
Captain Johan Larsson left Sweden’s opening 904 victory over Latvia in the first period after suffering a thigh contusion. The move was precautionary, according to Sweden’s team doctor Bjorn Sandstrom.
U.S.A forward Connor Brickley also left his team’s 11-3 victory over Denmark in the first period, receiving a cut on his leg by the skate of Denmark’s Nicolai Meyer. The laceration isn’t considered serious and Brickley but isn’t expected to be in the lineup when the Americans take on Finland on Wednesday.