The World Juniors are in full swing, and if you're not watching, you're missing out.
It's some of the most high-octane, exhilarating hockey you will ever see. Three Blue Jackets prospects are representing their countries at the tournament, and all three have found success so far. Yegor Chinakhov's Russia, Mikael Pyyhtiä's Finland, and Samuel Knazko's Slovakia all won their opening games.
Chinakhov, the Blue Jackets' first-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, notched an empty-net goal in his team's opening win over the United States.
Pyyhtiä, who was the Blue Jackets' fourth-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, also scored in his team's first game. Finland registered a 5-3 victory over Germany.
Finland again!— Hockey Daily 365 (@HockeyDaily365) December 26, 2020
Mikael Pyyhti (@BlueJacketsNHL // #114 in 2020) redirects one home to push the FInland lead to 3-0 early in the second period! Original shot assist by Mikko Kokkonen (@MapleLeafs // #84 in 2019)!#WorldJuniors #WJC pic.twitter.com/3QcTDL3q4D
Knazko, the Blue Jackets' third-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, played well as Slovakia defeated Switzerland, 1-0. He had four shots on goal with 21:31 of ice time, but received 2+10 for boarding late in the game. The 6'1" defenseman is only 18, so he'll be eligible for next year's tournament, too. He is also Slovakia's captain for the tournament.
All three prospects will be back in action today for more group stage play. Here's the World Juniors slate for this afternoon:
- Switzerland vs. Finland (Pyyhtiä), 2 p.m. ET
- Canada vs. Slovakia (Knazko), 6 p.m. ET
- Russia (Chinakhov) vs. Czech Republic, 9:30 p.m. ET