Hockey Fan Forums banner

1 - 1 of 1 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Finns pin second straight shutout loss on Canada
Quinn critical of squad for not playing like a team



TURIN, Italy—Leave it to one of the Finns, the emerging darlings of this Olympic men's hockey tournament, to offer the most cutting assessment of Team Canada's effort last night.

"Honestly, I expected more," said defenceman Kimmo Timonen.

So did a hockey mad nation, one undoubtedly fretting nervously this morning, thousands of kilometres away. So did a coach, a clearly perplexed Pat Quinn, who said his team "looked dopey" as it stumbled through another aimless 60 minutes.

And so did the best players Canada has to offer, who are today clinging to the hope they can find their game, and their scoring touch, before the contests really start to matter.

But with everyone expecting more, Team Canada delivered less.

The Canadians were shut out for the second consecutive game, this time 2-0 by Finland.

After beating up on weak sisters Italy and Germany in the first two games, Team Canada has suddenly become our national soccer team at the World Cup: It can't score or generate many decent scoring chances.

"It doesn't feel good at all. We know we have to get better in a lot of ways," said winger Jarome Iginla. "You look around our locker room and we know we have the talent and ability to score goals, but right now we're being a little tentative. We've got to relax and let our talent take care of it."

On Saturday, when they lost 2-0 to Switzerland, they could blame the embarrassment on the hot goaltending of Martin Gerber. In this game, they had no one to blame but themselves.

An easier shutout Antero Niittymaki will likely never record. Twenty-four mostly routine saves from a team that lacked the ingredient many view as inherent in the Canadian game — a willingness to compete.

"I still haven't seen the things that give me an indication we're becoming a team," said Quinn. "We have some talented kids, we will get there, but we've certainly had a couple of games we don't like very well."

The Canadians — remember, these are supposedly our best — had trouble completing a pass and often looked lost at both ends of the ice.

They were repeatedly outbattled for the puck — the Finns' first goal was scored because Chris Pronger couldn't wrap up Saku Koivu, who is eight inches shorter and 40 pounds lighter — and generally outhustled.

It was as if, and won't this make Don Cherry's collar tighten, Finland wanted it more than the Canadians.

So today at practice, Quinn will try to fix this unfolding disaster.

He'll look again at changing his lines, a process he'll undertake in consultation with his players.

And he'll try to change the mindset of a team that is far too focused on playing as individuals.

The Canadians have already qualified for the single-game, elimination quarter-finals that start Wednesday, but the defending Olympic champs, with a 2-2 record, will finish third or fourth in Group A and face a strong opponent.

They have one more game remaining in the round robin, against the Czech Republic tomorrow.

The Finns, the biggest surprise of this tournament, are 4-0 and have clinched top spot in Canada's group.

"We don't need to panic here," said winger Ryan Smyth. "We know we're representing our country and we're going to do it with great pride.

"I'd like to say, (to the people) back home, we're doing our best. It's just a matter of time right now."

Veteran defenceman Adam Foote, who was on the Salt Lake City team that struggled during the qualifying round of those Games but went on to win the gold, said this team has to get over the jitters and start performing the way it can.

"There's pressure for us and it seemed like when they got the lead, we were playing a little tentative," said Foote. "We have to regroup and just go out there and play hockey. Just go out there and play how we can.

"This is the type of tournament where we have time to fix things. If we're going to do it, we have to do it now."

Added Quinn ominously: "Hopefully you don't take too long or you'll disappear."

But, again, leave it to one of the Finns to offer the most optimistic assessment of Canada's predicament.

"They know this game," said Ville Niemenen. "It's Wednesday that matters."
 
1 - 1 of 1 Posts
Top