Before you read this, I suggest you take a pen and paper, or for those who prefer notes on their smartphone, open the app. Now, spell “maximum dominance”. The set of adjectives describes Team Canada at the World Juniors perfectly, who have outscored their opponents 16-1 in three games on home soil at the Bell Center.
If you look at the first three and four letters of maximum and dominance, respectively, you can read a name that might sound familiar if you’re watching the annual World Junior Hockey Championship. You can’t have “maximum dominance” without Max Domi.
Same thing applies to the maximum dominance displayed by these Canadians. Without the 19-year-old, their power wouldn’t exist. The London Knights forward has been the catalyst behind almost every Canadian win at the tournament so far and is arguably the best player on the team.
After putting up 6 points in 3 pre-tournament games- including a hat-trick against Switzerland in the final tune-up- Domi showed the world his true skills and talents with 5 points in 3 games so far in the preliminary round. He is third in the tournament for points for behind team mate Nic Petan (6) and American Dylan Larkin, who also has 5 points.
Despite Petan leading the team in points with a single goal and quietly putting up 5 assists, Domi is dominating in a different way. On Monday, Domi was standing in the line of fire for multiple Finnish point shots, he was receiving and dishing out hits and was even pinned down by Julius Honka in the second period for 15 seconds before getting up and picking an assist on a Sam Reinhart goal.
“I’m cheering for him when he gets out there because he’s that exciting” said captain Curtis Lazar to TSN following the game against Finland with a huge smile. “He’s out there blocking shots, playing so sound defensively. Then he creates offensive opportunities.”
Lazar couldn’t be more right about Domi. The highly energetic forward has been a leader on the ice and his witty personality is definitely a plus in the dressing room filled with 18 and 19-year-olds.
Playing on a line that features two players that have NHL experience in Anthony Duclair and Reinhart, Domi has certainly been the stand-out and the talking point of this productive trio that has scored 6 of the team’s 16 goals. He scored in the first two games but his best game of the competition was Monday against the Finns.
The aforementioned incident between Honka and Domi in the second was just prior to a sweet tic-tac-toe passing play to set-up Reinhart’s and Canada’s second goal of the game. It started because of the relentless effort by Domi to get back onside and feed Duclair a cross-rink pass before the puck found its way onto Reinhart’s stick and into the back of the net.
His second assist of the evening was insurance marker when Domi picked up the puck behind Juuse Saros‘ net, drove hard towards the goalmouth on an attempted wrap-around, and his rebound found a wide-open Duclair, who had to simply put the puck into the gaping cage. On the play, Domi drew the defensive duo of Mikko Lehtonen, Esa Lindell and center Aleksi Mustonen towards him, leaving Duclair as open as he was.
Domi’s energy and passion clearly resonates from his father Tie, who played 15 seasons in the NHL for the New York Rangers, Winnipeg Jets and Toronto Maple Leafs. For those who remember Tie, will never forget his enforcer role and his never-back-down attitude, even if it meant squirting water at opposing fans over the penalty box.
But one thing we can say for sure is that Max definitely did not get his skill set from Tie. It’s as if all the scoring touch genes in the Domi family were secreted in Tie and only were meant to appear once Max started playing hockey. Seriously, where does this kid get it from?
With one game left at the Bell Center, Max Domi will look to ignite the Montreal crowd into cheers one more time (rare to see a Domi cheered in Montreal) before heading to his hometown of Toronto for the quarter-finals and possibly more. He will skate on the same ice as his father did but will look to have different results than both what his Dad and the Leafs did.
Canada won’t be winning games like they are right now without Max Domi’s maximum dominance.
Thanks for reading! Please take a moment to follow me on Twitter @LWOSNick. Support LWOS by following us on Twitter – @LastWordOnSport – and “liking” our Facebook page.
Have you tuned into Last Word On Sports Radio? LWOS is pleased to bring you 24/7 sports radio to your PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone. What are you waiting for?