Dec30

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Journal Entry: December 30th, 2001

Today was a weird day because it was our first night game and also the first time that we've played games back to back. It was a bit of a scramble as far as breaking tapes down of our game against Russia the night before, getting the team to the rink in the morning, getting Mike Kelly over to Pardubice to scout the Czech-Sweden game in the afternoon, having the players shut it down for three hours in the afternoon. It was out of the routine that we had and maybe we'll have to go back and look at what we did--we'll have to see if there are any changes that we should make about scheduling practice and meetings and meals.

I don't like how our team responded to playing back to back games for the first time here. I know that the win over Russia was a big game for us, an emotional win, and it might have taken more out of our guys than I realized. It was clear, from 30 seconds into last night's game against Finland, that we didn't have the same energy on the ice. I tried to bring the guys down after the Russia game but it's hard to do when there's so much intensity. No matter what you say to them, they're so high that they're going to stay up there for a while. No matter what you say about the round-robin and every game being equally important in the round-robin, any game against the Russians is something special to Canadian players and a letdown the next game is a danger.

The Finns deserve credit for their victory. They played us tough last year, tying us in the opening round and beating us in the semi-final and they were a very similar team this year. They might play as well together as any team in tournament.

Right now our guys are down but we'll work to get them back up. We're going to go with Pascal Leclaire in goal in our quarter-final game against Sweden. Olivier Michaud has been very good for us and he made the decision tough. From what I've seen the Swedish team is an awful lot like the Finns. They would have beaten the Czechs more decisively than they did yesterday if it weren't for a huge game by the Czechs' goaltender. Like I've said all along this tournament is a four-game regular season and three Game 7s. We have our first Game Seven tomorrow. One part of the tournament is over. The most important stuff is still ahead of us.

 

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