Monday, April 16, 2012

"An Important 'Czech Mark' for Team Canada"

A good bounce back effort for Team Canada today at the World Under-18 Hockey Championship.

Mathew Dumba had a goal and an assist (for the third straight game) as Canada beat the host Czech Republic 6-2, improving their round-robin record to 2-1.

During a quick phone chat right after the game, Wallin told me he really liked what he saw in what he called a 'game seven' situation for his squad.

"It's early in the tournament to be in that position but things happen that quickly. I thought the guys really responded to the challenge. They stepped up."

"We came off a game the other night against Finland where we were just absolutely rotten."
Wallin told me, in reference to Canada's 4-3 loss on Saturday. "We had guys on their own page and everybody was cheating, not playing systems and whatnot."

Today's was an important win for Canada in that it clinched them a spot in the quarterfinals. It also sets up a showdown for first place in their pool versus the United States. The task will be a daunting one to say the least.

"The U.S. is undefeated in the tournament, they haven't given up a goal yet. They're a team that's been together for two years so they know each other well and are very organized."

That being said, Wallin is confident that his team has what it takes to get the job done.

"We've got a real good group of players. They're great people, they've really gelled well off the ice. But ultimately the game is played on the ice and they have to play together as a team. And today I really thought they took a step in the right direction."

Wednesday's game versus the United States starts at noon Alberta time and will be shown on TSN.

(NOTE - Thanks to Cam Moon for tearing Jesse away from a conversation with Steve Yzerman so that we could have our phone interview. Sorry about that, Stevie!)


As we ended our chat, I quickly asked Jesse for a quick thought on Brent Sutter. It's been an eventful few days for Wallin's mentor and Rebels boss. But as you would expect with all that he's been up to, Wallin didn't have much to say at this time.

"I haven't talked to anyone back there [Red Deer] other than my wife so I've only caught what she's told me and what I've found on the internet. He's an excellent hockey coach and I'm excited that he got the opportunity for the World Championships. He'll do an excellent job there."

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