Stan Butler's Diary

DAY SEVEN, MOSCOW - Jan. 1, 2001
Day off/New Year's Day

First of all let me say that, as a coach, you want to win every game. But, having said that, there are some that are clearly more important to win than others.

With the format of this tournament you can afford the odd sub-par effort in the round robin. As long as you finish no worse than fourth out of five teams in your pool, you are guaranteed a berth in the quarter finals.

Think back to the 1999 tournament in Winnipeg: the Russians finished second in their pool with a 3-1-0 record; then they defeated Finland by one goal in a quarter final, defeated Slovakia by one goal in their semi final and then beat Canada in overtime to win the gold.

My point being that, while the Russians were hardly blowing other teams out, they played well enough to win when it really counted - in the playoff round. I think we have the potential to do the same thing here. I see that the team I usually coach (the Brampton Battalion) beat Mississauga 5-2 the other night. Way to go guys. Derek Smith is running the team while I'm away and I'm sure he's got his hands full.

We have four players in this tournament and another two at a big tournament in Nova Scotia. I've got to say that without people like Scott Abbott (our owner in Brampton) this program wouldn't be what it is. Junior teams all across Canada take the hit in their won/loss record to make their best players available for the World Junior Championship.

I hand it to the different organizations for seeing the big picture and not depriving players or coaches of the chance to experience this tournament. It helps you grow as a player or a coach and, most importantly, a person. Along those lines, I was thinking today about what a great group of people I've been lucky enough to work with here. From the assistant coaches to the players to the trainers and all of the other support people here with us......they've really become sort of an extended family to me very quickly.

I remember that same feeling from when I was an assistant coach in Winnipeg. I also remember how fast the time went by once the tournament got going. I'm getting the same feeling here. Starting today, you will experience either sudden victory or sudden death. Talk about a rollercoaster ride!

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