Dec27

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Journal Entry: December 27th, 2001

Post-Switzerland game
I was happy with how we played in our game against the Swiss--happier than I was with the way we practiced in the off-day between our first and second games. I started to see some bad things get into our game something like trying to force passes where and when there isn't a pass to be made.

When you have a game that is so much puck possession like this tournament you don't want to give up turn-overs like that--not when they're not being forced. It might be that a player is nervous or over-excited. But it comes down to seeing and thinking clearly. I think that we played better than we did against France. I've said all along and I'll say it again here at this tournament but it's still true: You want to improve in every game.

So far we're on course going into our game against the Russians. I also think we played better against the Swiss as the game went along. I was happy for the way that Olivier Michaud played. There was a stretch there in the first two periods when he was very big for us. Now I can see why the Canadiens like him so much. We made the decision to go with two goaltenders in the opening round. It was part of a decision based on our experience and seeing what other teams that have been successful here have done in the past. I think that we're seeing that part of our adjusted approach work out.

Another thing that we wanted to change in our preparation and approach was getting a couple of extra days in of practice before we left for Europe. It's
usually been a case of a team being announced and then boarding a plane to head to a couple of exhibition games and on to the tournament site right after the final selections have been made. That couple of days in Toronto and the couple of days of practice that we've had in open dates here gives us a chance to work on our special teams. Mark Habschied is working with our powerplay and Mike Kelly is working with our penalty-killing. Those are things that require time in practice and areas that you can improve on tremendously with just a little more time. Those are also areas of the game that are hugely important in tournament play and especially the way the game is officiated at this tournament.

The open days have also given us a chance to see a little more of the teams at this tournament. Mike, for instance, will watch the Russians play Finland while
everybody heads out for dinner and heads back to the hotel. We have our reports on these teams but the important thing is getting the most recent
information.

We're pretty fortunate not just in having ten players returning to this team from last year but to have ten players returning who played in this tournament when
it was played offshore. They're far less likely to get fazed by anything that will happen here. Then when you factor in the number of kids who have played in the under-18 program which plays in August in the Czech Republic, you realize that a lot of these kids aren't impressed or intimidated or unsettled by anything that's out of the ordinary with regards to their environment.

I've been through this tournament too--once as an assistant in Winnipeg in 99 and last year in Moscow. Three out of four holidays, three out of four
Christmas days, away from my wife and kids. I'm going to try to enjoy this tournament as much as I can because it's going to be time to look after the other things that have had to wait.

 

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André Brin Director, Communications | Directeur, communications