After a strong start to the World Junior Championship, Connor McMichael has been promoted to Team Canada’s first line.
The Capitals’ 2019 first-round pick was placed on the left wing and skated with center Barrett Hayton, Canada’s captain, and right wing Nolan Foote during Canada’s 4-1 win over Team Germany, Monday.
Team 🇨🇦 warm-up lines
McMichael – Hayton – Foote
Foudy – Dellandrea – Cozens
Lavoie – Thomas – Dudas
Byfield – Mercer
McIssac – Smith
Byram – Bernard-Docker
Bahl – Addison
Scratches: Rodrigue (healthy), Lafreniere (left knee), Veleno (suspension)
— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) December 30, 2019
McMichael also skated on Team Canada’s second powerplay unit.
Team 🇨🇦 PP units
Hayton – Foote – Cozens
Byram – Veleno – McMichael
— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) December 29, 2019
McMichael was officially promoted to the first line Sunday during Team Canada practice. The London Knights’ leading scorer replaced Alexis Lafrenière on the top line after the likely 2020 first overall pick suffered a right leg injury during Canada’s game Saturday against Russia.
Alexis Lafrenière goes down after a scary collision with the Russian goaltender. pic.twitter.com/S5hLEHdk9P
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) December 28, 2019
Terrible. Alexis Lafreniere appears to twist his right leg/ankle and is helped off the ice. Looks serious. pic.twitter.com/JeVrc7tyfY
— Steve Kournianos (@TheDraftAnalyst) December 28, 2019
An MRI revealed no fractures or torn ligaments, but Lafrenière was held out of Monday’s game against Germany. His participation in the tournament moving forward is still to be determined.
Lafrenière’s agent Emilie Castonguay told Bob McKenzie:
We are having the MRI results reviewed by doctors both in Minnesota and Montreal to make sure we are making the right decisions. Alexis wants to play more than anything but that decision will be taken based on his long-term future and to not risk anything. It is simply too important. If there is any risk to aggravate the injury or expose a weakened knee to any further injury, he will not be taking that risk.
During the Germany game, McMichael had two shots in 19:54 of ice time.
He has one point, a goal, in his first-ever U-20 World Junior Championship. He called playing for Team Canada “a dream come true.”
Connor McDa– Connor McMichael pots Canada's first goal of the tournament! 🇨🇦 #WorldJuniors pic.twitter.com/jvaRku728u
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) December 26, 2019
Headline photo: IIHF headshot
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