Woe, Canada indeed.
Whenever Canada fails to deliver gold at the World Junior Championships, at first there’s disappointment, then anger, then blame.
The stages of grieving are exacerbated when Canada flames out as badly as it did this year. Canada failed to qualify for the tournament’s semifinals for the first time since 1998 with a 6-5 loss to host Finland on Saturday, capping off a disappointing tournament where the perennial favorites won only twice in five games.
So who deserves the blame?
According to social media, the blame most squarely falls on the shoulders of three individuals: coach Dave Lowry, goaltender MacKenzie Blackwood and forward Jake Virtanen, who was expected to be one of the team’s leading scorers after being loaned to the national team from the Vancouver Canucks, yet finished the tournament with only one assist in five games.
The anger being directed at these three individuals is so palpable that a petition has begun circulating for prime minister Justin Trudeau to ban Lowry, Blackwood and Virtanen from re-entering Canada.
Canadians may have the reputation for their politeness. But if you lose to the hated American team and blow the World Juniors, all bets are off.