Connor McDavid is really, really ridiculously creative with the puck and competitive to boot, but you know that already. The better question is whether Canada seizes on its triumph at the IIHF world under-18 championship which was cemented by Sunday's riveting 3-2 gold-medal game win that snapped Team USA's four-year reign.
McDavid and mates winning in Sochi counts as significant. It represents a reboot of sorts, winning a tournament where it's typically struggled just three months after its 14-year medal streak was snapped at the more prestigious world junior championship. (No doubt there were some fans who panicked after the bronze-medal game boondoggle after realizing Canada has only five potential returning players). So one shouldn't get too hung up on Canada being outshot 35-12 by the U.S. since it was dealing with an obvious fatigue factor. There was some luck involved, but there always is, and Canada went wire-to-wire at 7-0 at an event which is just as competitive as that other teenager tournament that commands centre stage the week after Christmas. One should also keep in mind that this spring is actually exceptional for the number of 16- and 17-year-olds who were unavailable to coach Don Hay due to either injuries or competing in the OHL, QMJHL or WHL playoffs.
Canada does not collectively thump its chest over its performance in the U18 the way it did when the country was dominating the world U20 (aka the world junior or WJC) from 2005-09. It might want to start toning up those pectorals, though.
Granted, he typed while blushing, this is only brief and superficial. But here's a look at the last five WJC gold medallists and the results their U18 national teams had each of the two previous swings.