June 10, 2023
Canada must manage emotions amid large crowds, expectations at World Juniors |  TSN

Canada must manage emotions amid large crowds, expectations at World Juniors | TSN

TSN SportsCentre reporter Mark Masters covers the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championships taking place December 26-January 14. 5 in Halifax, NS, and Moncton, NB Team Canada skated at the Scotiabank Center in Halifax on Sunday.

The pressure is increasing, but so is the excitement.

“We can play hockey on the 26th,” said the Team Canada head coach Dennis Williams. “It’s fun. In front of a full house. It gets loud. It’s going to be a great environment. Who has it better than us at the moment? I wouldn’t trade it anywhere else. We’re together as a group and represent Canada and play the best game of the world.”

Team Canada is always a favorite at World Juniors, but expectations are even higher this year. Eight players are returning from the August team that won gold in Edmonton and 10 overall with World Juniors experience.

“We have a talented group,” said the winger Brennan Othman, who led Canada by three goals in the three games leading up to the tournament. “We have a group that has gone through a lot of adversity and tension like this in the past. We have three guys that have played in the NHL that we can lean on, but we’ve all played in big games and big moments.”

Seattle Kraken Center Shane WrightArizona Coyotes winger Dylan Gunther and defenseman for the Los Angeles Kings Brand Clarke was loaned to Hockey Canada for the World Juniors.

Othmann also points out that 12 players from this team have already won gold together at the 2021 U18 World Cup. This event took place in the midst of the pandemic in Texas. This tournament will be played to a full crowd as the World Juniors return to the Maritimes for the first time since 2003.

“It’s going to be huge,” Forward said Connor Bedardwho is Canada’s youngest player at 17. “We watched the last game and that was just before the tournament. I can’t imagine what will happen next. We’re really looking forward to that.”

“You have to deal with those emotions,” Wright warned. “You want to make sure you’re harnessing the energy of the crowd and getting excited and looking forward to the game, but you also don’t want to get too excited or too energetic.”

The Czech team also expects a boost from the energy in the building.

“I played at Cape Breton as a junior and we played a lot here in Halifax,” said the goalkeeping coach Ondrej Pavelec. “I know what this building can be like and that’s why we play hockey, right. That’s what we tell the players. It’s maybe once in a lifetime and get excited. Enjoy. Enjoy every moment of the game.”

Williams called the players together for an encouraging chat after the morning skate. The message?

“We’re in the next phase and it’s important to be relaxed, but we also have to make sure we’re ready to fight out there for more than 60 minutes,” said the coach. “We can’t take any team for granted. We have to get every line going. We have to get every D-pair going and our goalkeepers going. We have to go one step further.”

Before leaving the ice, Williams made a point of passing the fourth row players Colton roof, Caedan banker, Zack Ostapchuk and 13th forward Reid Schaefer for some final instructions.

“I just want them to play the way we told them to,” Williams said. “Play the game right and play the game hard and play it in the O zone and wear down the teams and do a good job in the D zone. Your game will never be judged by scoring. If they play the game right then they will have those opportunities for sure and they are very skilled but their strength is the size, she leans on the players and uses her big bodies to really lean on our opponents and do a good job to open up time and space for our next lines. They really got that and did a great job in the precomp games.”

Günther lost his balance and slipped into the end boards in the last practice of the morning skate. He immediately went to the bank to speak to the sports therapist Kevin Eliot. He pointed to his left arm and then went into the dressing room.

“I haven’t spoken to anyone,” Williams said. “I know he ended up walking away from there, but I don’t have an update.”

The captain wasn’t worried.

“Oh, he’s fine,” Wright said. “He’s fine.”

At the end of their skate, the Czech players huddled together and began barking.

“Everyone on the team is hungry,” says Kelowna Rockets forward Gabriel Szturc explained. “We are ready to go.”

There are 18 players in the Czech squad with World Juniors experience.

“This group has been together for a long time and they have the chemistry and they do, so we have to bark too,” Pavelec, 35, said with a smile. “I’m too old for it. I’m not that old, but I’m too old for it. But it’s a new league. One of the coaches in the NHL said it was a young dumb league. I think it was. ” cakes [John Tortorella]. Someone said that and I agree.”

Canada played the Czech Republic twice in the summer and won 5-1 in the preliminary round and 5-2 in the semifinals.

“They’re playing a tough game,” Bedard said. “It’s pretty defensive I think. They catch well. They have a lot of skill too. I’m sure they’ll come out flying.”

“Very disciplined team,” said Williams. “They play good systems. They protect the inside. It’s going to be a really good challenge. They have size. They have skills. They made the difference in terms of power play.

Canada extended a 4-0 lead in the summer’s semi-finals before the Czech Republic fell to two points in the third period.

The Czech Republic took a 3-1 lead on Boxing Day last year before Canada returned 6-3.

“They work hard,” said Wright, who made his world junior debut in the game a year ago. “They are always among the hardest working teams I have ever played against. They always fight. They always make sure they are in the game. They never give up at all.”

After arriving in Halifax last night, defender for the Cleveland Monsters David Jiricek went ice skating with Team Czechia for the first time on Monday morning. It is listed as a game decision.

“He doesn’t look tired,” Szturc said with a smile. “He looks hungry.”

“He’s an experienced guy,” Pavelec said. “He’s played really well this year and did well in the summer. We’re playing Canada so it’s a big game. He wants to play and we’ll see the decision.”

To make matters worse, Jiricek’s gear didn’t arrive with the player. But agent Alan Walsch tweeted Monday afternoon that the bags had made it to Halifax.

“He has a very good shot,” remarked Szturc. “He’s a very dangerous player in PP so I think he’ll score a lot of goals.”

Goalie for the Tri-City Americans Tomas Suchanek gets the start against Canada. He played them twice in the summer.

“The goalkeepers are always under pressure,” said Pavelec. “Probably more if you play Canada because you know what you’re getting. But he’s ready for it. He’s played those games before.”

“It’s going to be great,” said Suchanek. “I like to play with a lot of people [watching].”

Suchanek opened the tournament in August as the Czechs’ reserve goalkeeper, but his 52 saves against Canada in the group stage earned him the first job.

Bedard faced Suchanek in the summer semifinals. What does it take to stop him on Monday night?

“A lot,” said Suchanek, laughing. “You have to be ready. You never know when he’s going to shoot and it’s really hard. Just read it well and hopefully it hits me.”

Othmann has been wearing a cage since receiving a high stick in his face in Wednesday’s group stage match against Slovakia.

“I think this will be my last game with it,” said the New York Rangers prospect. “I tried my mouthguard this morning and it seems to be much better on my gums. Only my tooth is a bit sensitive now. I think it will be my last game with it and then I will put the visor back on.”

Lines on Team Canada’s skate on Monday:

Roof – banker – Ostapchuk

Del Mastro-Zellweger

Gaudreau begins

#Canada #manage #emotions #large #crowds #expectations #World #Juniors #TSN

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