Gold Medal Final
VIENNA - The members of Team Canada didn’t run and hide, but that’s no their style.
Minutes after the Czech Republic beat Canada 3-0 in the gold medal final of the world hockey championship, the Canadians met the media and they could not hide their emotions.
You could see the disappointment of falling short of a third straight world championship on their face, and you could hear it in their voices.
In a country where gold if the color that counts, there was no solace in silver.
“We'd have loved to have chipped in offensively and get on the board but hey held strong, they played well,” said Team Canada captain Ryan Smyth. “We fell short.”
“It is very frustrating. I think the way we played tonight wasn’t in our favor. It is disappointing,” added Dan Boyle. “Maybe another team would be happy with a silver medal but we did not come here for that. We came here for gold.”
Joe Thornton fell short of winning his third title in nine months. He was a member of Team Canada in the World Cup and won a Swiss league title while playing for Davos.
“It is disappointing,” he said. “Every time Canada comes to these events we are usually on the other side of the event. We wanted to win this badly.”
The Canadians were looking to make it three straight world titles for the first time in 53 years but the Czechs wanted nothing to do with it. They wanted to make their own history and the gold was the first for them since 2001.
Canada outshot the Czechs 29-27 but Tomas Vakoun was equal to the challenge for the shutout. He was helped by a mobile defence that turned in a strong game.
None of Canada's forward combinations could apply concerted offensive pressure. The Czech defence corps, comprised of solid NHL veterans including the Kaberle brothers Tomas and Frantisek, was outstanding. When shots did get through to Vokoun, the Nashville Predators' goalie yielded few rebounds.
The Canadians walked away with some individual hardware.
Thornton was named the tournament MVP. He led the tournament with 16 points (six goals, 10 assists). The line of Thornton-Rick Nash and Simon Gagne combined for 41 points and finished 1-2-3 in scoring, 16, 15 and 10 points respectively.
Wade Redden was named the top defenceman, while Vokoun for the honor as the top goalie and Russia’s Alexei Kovalev was the best forward. The all-star team was: Vokoun in goal, Niklas Kronvall (Sweden) and Marek Zidlicky (Czechs) on defence, and Thornton, Nash, and Jaromir Jagr at forward.
“It’s a feather in my cap,” said Redden.
The worlds served as a platform for Nash to serve notice that he’ll be a mainstay on Team Canada for years to come.
“It is a dream come true to play for Canada and hopefully I can do it for years to come,” said Nash.
Nash wasn’t wearing his silver medal but not many members of Team Canada were wearing it either.
“If it was gold I would.
Despite finishing second, Canada retained its No. 1 status in IIHF world rankings.
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Brad Pascall Vice-President, Hockey Operations