Tavares By The Numbers
19 reasons to root for JT
19. Age he will be during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, should Steve Yzerman show a little faith in the under-20 crowd (because lord only knows his whole "team of veterans" strategy worked SO well last time when he shafted Crosby...) --> also the number he's wearing #19 for Team Canada. He wears #91 in Oshawa.
18. An age he will never be whilst playing a regular season NHL game, despite being the most highly touted Canadian prospect since Sidney Crosby.
17. Age at which he first played for Canada in the WJC - he didn't make the cut for the U20 team when he was 16. In an interview he once said it was humbling not to make the team at 16, and that it really drove him to perform so he'd make it the following year (maybe that's why he went on to do #16...)
16. Age at which he scored 72 goals on the OHL breaking Wayne Gretzky's CHL record for number of goals scored by a 16 year-old.
15. He was only the second fifteen year-old to play in the OHL under exceptional player status; the first was Jason Spezza.
14. Number of points he's scored so far in the five games he's played in the 2009 WJC.
[If Wikipedia is to be believed, which -for the record- IT IS NOT, he's scored 24 points (16G, 8A) in 20 games with the Junior National team. This would be great if it were true, but it can't be true because a) he's only scored 12 goals and b) according to the game reports he supposedly scored 1 goal in the 2007 Super Series, where he also notched 7 assists - but the scoring report for the tournament has him at 9 points (1G,8A). If those are added to his 4G,1A performance in the 2008 WJC and his 8G,6A in the 2009 WJC, that actually puts him at 28 points (13G,15A) - 3 shy of Eric Lindros' record 31. Except that somewhere in there, there's an extra goal. Personally I think it's the goal at the SS... but I can't find SS scoring reports to make sure. And, yes, sadly enough, I DID spend over an hour on the net looking for them. --> If you have the ACTUAL numbers for the SS and the 2008 WJC, PLEASE let me know, and where you found them - and then go correct Wikipedia because it is WRONG.]
13. Number of goals scored for the Milton Icehawks in the Ontario Junior A Hockey League when he was fourteen years old.
[That was in addition to his 15 assists and all of that in only 20 games since he spent most of that season playing for the Toronto Marlboros Minor Midget AAA team where he accumulated 158 points (91G,67A). Sick, eh?]
12. Number of goals he's scored in international competition on the junior national team (as of Jan. 3rd 2009) - meaning that he is now tied for the record with Eric Lindros and Jeff Carter. [incidentally, Eric Lindros, like Tavares, played for the Oshawa Generals whilst in the CHL]
11. Number of minutes I missed in the Oshawa-Kingston game in October. I only got to see 49 minutes of jaw-dropping game... but 49 minutes is better than none. I still got to see him score the most unreal goal. From ice level. And met him after the game. And stupidly didn't get him to autograph the Team Canada jersey in my bag. Because it completely didn't occur to me.
10. It's Day 10 of the WJC (Jan 1st doesn't count as a day since there were no games). Let's make today a perfect 10.
9. Hockey's Future (which usually does prospect rankings) doesn't have a ranking for Tavares. I think they're being chicken shits and they don't want to peg him as a 9.5A. But that's just me.
8. Number of goals Tavares has scored so far in the 2009 WJC, including a hat-trick during the Canada-USA game in New Years Eve.
7. Number of point he earned on January 25th, 2007 against the Windsor Spitfires. Seven. Points. Four goals. Three assists. Step aside Gretzky... nope, a little further, that's good.
6. Number of assists accumulated so far this year at the WJC.
5. Number of days by which his birthday missed the 2008 Entry Draft cut-off.
4. Number of seasons he's been in the OHL. (He's 18. Do the math and let your jaw drop - for those of you who don't know, usually you have to be 16 by Dec. 31st to participate in the OHL priority selection, which, for the record is NOT the Bantam draft... I know it's confusing.)
3. Number of times he has represented Canada internationally.
2. Lowest possible place he'll go in the 2009 Draft (and unless Victor Hedmen scores a hat-trick and the game-winner to get Sweden gold today, it's unlikely Tavares will go this low...)
1. Number of goals he has to score today to set a new record for goals scored in junior level competition. Do it. I have money on it (or I will if anyone is willing bet against the second highest scorer in the OHL).
In other WJC news: PK Subban, Nikita Filatov and Canada believe in divine intervention.
In the words of the ever-lovely Puck Daddy: "Filatov 3:16 says that Canada is God's team. And the ever-humble Canadians basically agree." No shit. 5.4 seconds? That's not playing smart, that pure luck. Even Pat Quinn agrees: "Two nights we got out by the skin of our teeth, and that's hard to do if you're Bob Clarke."
If Stefan Della Rovere can keep his ass out of the sin bin for at least 50 minutes of the game, JT can score a couple goals to get Canada's adrenaline going and Canada can get ahead by 3+ goals by the end of the second, we stand a chance. If Canada wins, it will be because of a ridiculously lucky bounce and 'heart'. If Sweden wins, it will be because they make yet another textbook-Swedish comeback in the third period.
Mer's prediction: I wrote one. Then I deleted it. I'm that superstitious. Ya'll know who I WANT to win anyways. All I'm willing to predict is a 5-4 score and a game-winner late in the third.
Also, if you're Canadian, or live in a place with a CHL team, check this out. Down at the end of the article. You may want to go. I know I'm tempted to go stalk Pat Quinn... ;)
NOW, one last time before I head out for the Russia-Slovakia game...
LET’S GO CANADA, LET’S GO!!!
Breathe Mer, breathe...