DAY ONE, MOSCOW - Dec. 26, 2000
Post Game Report vs. Belarus
We took a few penalties I'd rather we hadn't, but, all in all, how could I be anything but happy with a 9-0 win? Those games are tough for players and coaches. We played hard for as long as we had to. But, who's kidding who, it's tough to keep the intensity level cranked up when you're up 3-0 before the half way point of the first period.
I was really happy for Mike Cammalleri - a guy who I knew from coaching the Under 18 team at the Four nations Tournament in 1999 (he was our leading scorer at that tournament). I was happy for Mike because he's a guy who maybe a lot of people weren't talking about heading into this tournament, but who is a hard working, versatile guy who can score when he gets the chance.
I was thinking today about how tough this tournament is to win. Not only on the ice, of course, but also off the ice. As I was saying yesterday, you step off the plane and you're in a different world. The language is so different. It's not like German or Italian where you can read or understand the odd word. With Russian, you really can't read a sign or understand a word that's spoken to you. If you've never been in that situation before, I can tell you that it's pretty strange. The food at our hotel isn't bad, but it's still not quite what you're used to at home. Today we had spaghetti for our pre game meal. But it wasn't served like you'd normally have it with some kind of tomato sauce - instead it was with a sort of 'mystery' sauce. But the guys are great..... they were so focused. We just had a laugh and got on with it. The hotel is interesting. It's what I'll call 'antique-ish'. I feel a little like I'm an extra in a 1950s movie. But, like I said before, you have to deal with things like different hotels and food and language if you want to win this tournament. I have to remember that players take their cues from coaches - so if I show that I'm coping with the distractions, they'll take that as a cue to do the same.
Speaking of distractions........ we had a great time last night with our team Christmas. The guys all got into it and gave out 'gag gifts' to one another. It really felt like we were a team - lots of laughing and joking. One of the biggest laughs came when they presented me with a dog bone (they gave me the bone because I chew my whistle sometimes during practice). Oh well, they can kid me all they want as long as they go out and play like they did in game one. I didn't see any dogs out there.
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