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Captain not happy despite another win

LEKSAND, Sweden -- First place in Group A is a lock, and a bye to a semi-final on Wednesday at the 2007 world junior championship is in the books.

But satisfaction has not yet been guaranteed for Canada, which is 3-0 after beating Germany 3-1 in an immensely dry game yesterday at Ejendals Arena.

"We're not playing that good right now," said captain Kris Letang, who began the season with the Pittsburgh Penguins before being sent back to junior. "We are doing some good things, but we are doing some bad things. I am happy we are first in our side and have a bye for the semis, but we have to be better. There are still too many turnovers and we have to play 60 minutes."

Canada outshot Germany 34-19 before an announced crowd of 1,284 -- most of which was clad in Canada sweaters and yelling their hearts out -- but got the kind of game it figured it would get.

On paper, there is little comparison between the clubs. The Germans have just four drafted players and only three players are developing in North America. But Germany, which is 0-9 against Canada since unification in 1989, spent most of the game doing little to try to score and lined up four players across the blue line. It's not an approach Canada usually sees at this level, but it speaks to the difference in talent.

"I expected it to be tight, but I thought we were able to open it up at times," said Edmonton Oilers prospect, forward Andrew Cogliano. "We can't let up at all. That's something we have to work on."

TorontoSun.com - Terry Koshan - 'We're not playing that good'
 

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I think Canada is playing alright, just the turn overs like Letang said and the penalties they keep getting should be worked on. Although their PK is 1st in the tournament with only letting one goal in so far, they can't keep taking stupid penalties.
 

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Unbeaten record, but far from perfect

Canada at the world juniors
Michael Petrie, Calgary Herald
Published: Saturday, December 30, 2006


Forget about the perfect 3-0 record, Team Canada sees plenty of blemishes in its performance to date at the world juniors.

"We're not playing good right now," captain Kristopher Letang said after Friday's 3-1 win over Germany in Leksand, Sweden. "We need to be better than what we showed. We have to play better hockey.

"We need to improve our physical game, less turnovers, be more disciplined. Lots of things. We do some good things but we do some very bad things. Turnovers are the most important. When you give turnovers against a good team, you're going to be in trouble."

Having clinched first place in Pool A and a bye to Wednesday's semifinal against an unknown opponent, the Canadians will use Sunday's round-robin finale against Slovakia as a tonic to try to cure some of their problems. The bar is high in Canada and sometimes simply winning games isn't good enough.

"We turned pucks over in the offensive zone and tried to make plays that aren't there," said head coach Craig Hartsburg. "You have to be patient over here because these teams turn loose pucks into rushes up the ice quicker than they do in our leagues at home. We need to continue to work on our checking habits and being on the right side of the puck. Little things. We want to play better. We talk about it in the room that we can play better."

Throughout the tournament, Hartsburg has tinkered with his line and power-play combinations -- they were one-for-eight with a man advantage against Germany.

Darren Helm joined Jonathan Toews and Ryan O'Marra on what has become the first line, while Sam Gagner was dropped from a regular turn and only sees limited time on the second power-play unit.

The trio of Andrew Cogliano, Steve Downie and Brad Marchand has struggled but showed some life Friday, including a goal by Downie.

"We had a pretty solid effort," said Cogliano, who assisted on Downie's marker. "We're doing things pretty much right and we could have had a bunch more goals."

FULL STORY
 
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