Team USA ended the first period of their 2016 World Junior Championship opening game against Canada killing a five-minute major penalty. Top line winger and 2016 draft eligible Alex DeBrincat grabbed a five-minute major and a game misconduct in his first period of international play at any level.
DeBrincat got the penalty for a pointless spear of Flyers prospect Travis Konecny during a slight skirmish in front of the Canadian bench.
Watch the spear below.
DeBrincat done after this spear on Konecny. Not a good look. pic.twitter.com/OxD0WjU20O
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) December 26, 2015
DeBrincat was playing wing on the top line centered by Auston Matthews with Matthew Tkachuk on the other wing. It’s a bad look when the coaching staff had preached discipline heavily going into the tournament, knowing that penalties had been a part of the team’s struggles during last year’s tournament.
DeBrincat showed a huge lack of discipline on that play. It was a spear that came in the midst of a skirmish that wasn’t that physical or contentious.
This also brings us back to the odd choices that Team USA made with their roster going into the tournament. With DeBrincat gone, you’d be glad to have a high-skill player like Jeremy Bracco, Alex Tuch or Kyle Connor available right now. Their options for replacing DeBrincat aren’t necessarily a good match for that line. The team’s 13th forward is Ryan Donato.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.