Team Canada in great hands ; Goalie Pascal Leclaire shows he can deliver when called upon
03.01.2002. Campbell, Ken. Toronto Star
Maxime Ouellet couldn't deliver the mail for
Canada when it needed him most last year, but he did send an e-mail
this year that helped inspire his successor.
Among the thousands of e-mail messages the Canadian team has received,
one of them was from Ouellet, whose porous performance in last year's
world junior championship semifinal was the main reason Canada did not
advance to the gold-medal game.
"It said, 'Dear Stan: Give them hell. I'm cheering for them and I'm
going crazy and I just hope they can accomplish what I was not
fortunate enough to accomplish,'" said Canadian coach Stan Butler.
The Canadian team is one game away from accomplishing something they
haven't been able to do since 1997, in large part because Pascal
Leclaire gave Canada the kind of goaltending in this year's semifinal
that Ouellet did not last year against Finland. Leclaire stopped 35
shots in Canada's 4-0 victory over Switzerland, earning his second
shutout of the tournament. Included in that were stops on two
breakaways in a tentative first period for Canada and a monster third
period in which Canada was outshot 17-8.
"He gives confidence to our team like nobody else can," said left-
winger Steve Ott, who gave Canada a 1-0 lead with a short-handed goal.
"You could just see the guys feed off his huge saves and the next play
it's all the way down the ice and we're banging for a goal."
Yesterday's game was really the first time in the tournament that the
Canadians have had to rely heavily on their goaltending. Their offence
went dry in the first period and even though they outshot Switzerland
18-9, the Swiss had several great chances that would have put Canada in
a hole had Leclaire not made big stops.
"I don't want to say that I made my team win because that's not true,"
Leclaire said. "I'm not the one who scored goals. I was just trying to
do my job and make my stops."
Leclaire now has the chance to join a legendary line of Quebec- born
goalies who have made significant contributions to Canada's success in
this tournament. Jimmy Waite, Stephane Fiset and Marc Denis (twice)
have backstopped Canada to four of their 10 gold medals with
tour-de-force performances, and Roberto Luongo stopped 40 shots for
Canada in 1999 in an overtime loss to Russia.
Leclaire is well aware of the history, but like every young boy growing
up in Montreal, he worshipped at the altar of St. Patrick. "Even when I
played out in ball hockey I used to pretend I was Patrick Roy," he said.
The eighth overall choice of the Columbus Blue Jackets last June also
has a chance to salvage a very disappointing season so far. Leclaire
was traded to the Montreal Rocket of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey
League this season, but the Rocket have been less than stellar. There
have been persistent rumours that Leclaire could be traded to a
Teams will undoubtedly be looking at Leclaire's experience in games such as yesterday's.
"Obviously I have a job to do here," he said. "And if I do it well it will increase the chances for my team to win."
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