|Canada comes undone in final ; Shaky goaltending, coaching blunder key in loss to Russians
05.01.2002. Campbell, Ken. Toronto Star
is oh-so-difficult to celebrate a silver medal. No matter how much you
accomplish, you cannot help but feel a sense of emptiness and failure.
It's very tough to scream, "We're No. 2!" at the top of your lungs.
Last year, when Canada finished the tournament with a win in the
bronze-medal game, there were smiles and hugs all around. This year
they did themselves one medal better and there were nothing but tears.
One day these young men will look back on what they did and feel a
sense of accomplishment, but not yesterday, not today and not tomorrow.
Canada lost the gold-medal final of this world junior championship, but
they went down with their guns blazing. The reality is that they lost
5-4 to Russia in large part because of questionable goaltending and a
very, very bad coaching decision. They had the skill to win this
tournament and the fact that they scored 40 goals was a testament to
Russia 5, Canada 4
They helped prove that under the right circumstances a Canadian team
could be creative and fun to watch. And maybe they helped a cynical
hockey nation believe in itself again.
"We have no reason to hang our heads," said Canadian captain Jarret Stoll. "I wish we could keep this team together forever."
The Canadians had a minor dispute with the officials, claiming they
should have been awarded a penalty shot in the final seconds of the
game. They said Russian goalie Sergei Mylnikov deliberately knocked the
net off its moorings with four seconds left and the rules state that a
penalty shot is awarded if that happens in the final two minutes of a
Canada held leads of 2-0 and 3-1 in the game, but was done in by a
disastrous second period in which the Russians scored three times to
take the lead. Alexander Frolov, Stanislav Chistov, Alexander Polushin,
Iouri Troubatchev and Anton Volchenkov scored for Russia. Chuck
Kobesaw, with a pair of goals, Brian Sutherby and Scottie Upshall
replied for Canada.
After most things went so right, here are five things that went wrong for Canada in the final:
GOALTENDING: For the second straight season, Canada was betrayed by a
goaltender when it needed him most. Pascal Leclaire allowed more goals
in the gold-medal game than he had in his previous four games in the
tournament combined and four of the five Russian goals went between his
"I don't think it was my best game of the tournament," Leclaire said.
"I gave it everything I had and I tried my best. I will learn from
these things and hope they never happen again."
COACHING STRATEGY: Stan Butler did an outstanding job of building this
team and basically threw away the Canadian Hockey model that slots
players into a ghost roster and gives them narrowly defined roles. He
allowed his team to create and play on instinct and for that he should
But he made a terrible blunder in the final that proved a pivotal
factor in Canada's defeat. There is no way to justify his decision to
send Stephen Weiss out for a defensive zone faceoff in the third period
of a tie game when Weiss had missed the previous game with a
hyperextended elbow on his shooting hand. Predictably, Weiss was
cleanly beaten on the faceoff by Ivan Napraev, who got it back to Anton
Volchenkov for a shot from the point that beat Leclaire.
What on earth was Weiss doing on the ice in that situation?
"Our doctors cleared Stephen to play and we put him on the ice," Butler said.
Weiss said after the game that his elbow felt "all right," but added he had trouble shooting and handling the puck.
And when Canada was pressing for the tying goal while on a power play
and with their goalie pulled in the final minute, Butler elected to
have Nick Schultz and Dan Hamhuis at the points and left perhaps his
best player yesterday, Jason Spezza, sitting on the bench. Surely,
Butler knew that his defencemen had no goals in the tournament to that
point and the prospect of them scoring one then was slim.
BOYES' LINE DRIED UP: Going into the final, the Canadian team had come
to rely on the line of Maple Leafs prospect Brad Boyes between Mike
Cammalleri and Jared Aulin for the lion's share of the offence and the
three entered the final as the tournament's top scorers. But while they
had their chances in the offensive zone, they failed to score, largely
because, for some reason, they refused to shoot the puck. "In this last
game here I didn't really show up," Boyes said. "I didn't do what I
came here to do."
DEFENSIVE PLAY: Canada had gotten a lot of mileage throughout the
tournament from its workmanlike, if unspectacular, blue-line corps, but
the defence was shaky in the final. Polushin swooped around both Jay
Bouwmeester and Hamhuis- the checking job by Bouwmeester was
particularly dreadful- then had time to go from backhand to forehand
before putting the puck over Leclaire. On Troubatchev's second- period
goal, Mark Popovic was knocked cleanly off the puck by Igor Grigorenko,
who got it out to a wide-open Troubatchev.
NO KILLER INSTINCT: Throughout the tournament, the Canadians had done
an excellent job of imposing themselves on the game and not allowing
their opponents to dictate the style. They did that early in the
gold-medal game and established a two-goal lead, but shortly after they
began to sit back on their heels and let the Russians come to them. The
terrific passes that had marked their play to that point started
bouncing off sticks and going into skates and they let up on the
relentless forecheck they had established earlier in the game.
"No idea," Stoll said when asked about the second-period letdown. "No comment on that."
Первая страничка молодежных чемпионатов мира 2002 года
|Подгруппа А - подробнее
Чехия, Словакия, Швеция, США, Белоруссия
|Подгруппа В - подробнее
Россия, Канада, Финляндия, Швейцария, Франция
|За 9-10 места - подробнее
Белоруссия - Франция
|1/4 финала - подробнее
Словакия - Швейцария
США - Россия
Канада - Швеция
Финляндия - Чехия
|За 5-8 места - подробнее
Словакия, Швеция, Чехия, США
|1/2 финала - подробнее
Швейцария - Канада
Финляндия - Россия
|Финал - подробнее
За 3 место. Финляндия - Швейцария
За 1 место. Канада - Россия