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NFL CANADA


What are your thoughts on the world junior team?
Mon, December 15, 2008

Jordan Eberle woke up in his hotel room yesterday, flicked on the TV and watched what more than million other Canadians saw the night before: His heroic game-saving goal with 5.4 seconds left and his shootout goal that helped Canada defeat the Russians in the semi-final of the world junior hockey championship.

Then he checked his cellphone. Full of congratulatory text messages from friends and family back home in Regina.

Then he tried to forget about it.

"That's over," he said after practice yesterday, "and I don't think anything matters now because we've got the gold medal to play for."

Really? Let's just bask a little longer.

"My roommate (Zach Boychuk) and I watched it a couple times," Eberle said of the TV highlights. "Just an amazing play by Ryan Ellis to keep the puck in the zone and just the way it unfolded was pretty neat."

Angelo Esposito, who scored a nifty short-handed goal against Russia, also admitted he gets a little rush when he sees himself score on TV.

"It's always cool to see your goal on TSN," he said.

Eberle, an 18-year-old Oilers prospect, showed poise that belied his age with his clutch performance in front of the TV cameras and the 19,327 fans at Scotiabank Place.

He was first up for Canada in the shootout, and he had a plan -- deke the goalie high to the blocker side.

"I knew what I was going to do. We went over some stuff with the goalie coach, but for the most part, throughout the game you see what the tendencies of the goalie are. You kind of have your move picked out beforehand, then as you're coming in at the last second, if the goalie changes where he is or is too far back, you can change it."

HAD A PLAN

John Tavares, who was up next and also scored, has a similar philosophy.

"It's kind of just reading the goalie and see how he reacts," said Tavares, who leads the tournament with eight goals. "You always try to have an idea of what you want to do, but I don't think you want to make a permanent move where it limits your chances."

Coach Pat Quinn, who ends most his practices with a shootout competition -- making the losing side do pushups -- said he likes his team's chances in a shootout.

There was a case -- think Lillehammer, 1994 Olympics -- when Canadians dreaded shootouts.

"When it (international hockey) went to the shootout, 15-20 years ago people would certainly have picked the Russians to win," he said. "The Russians really pride themselves on that individual skill and that one-on-one stuff and all that sort of thing, but they didn't know we'd have some of those kids come through here, too. They should have remembered from two years ago with (Jonathan) Toews being so magnificent (in the semi-final vs. Team USA)."

Tonight, Eberle and the rest of Team Canada don't care how they win -- shootout or not -- as long as they have the gold medal around their necks at the end of the game.

And they'll have a little more time to savour those highlights.



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YOU SAID
45 Comments

Hey Mike Bane, I lived in Finland for two years and hockey is bigger than soccer over there. Why don't you do some investigating before you make stupid comments. Oh, and by the way, the World Junior Hockey Championships is even more popular in Finland and Sweeden than it is here.
Mark S., 2009-01-06 13:11:15

And...hockey is inferior why? How can you back up that it's a second-rate sport in Sweden? It seems pretty popular there.

For the record, the Swedish team should be ashamed of themselves and their actions make them look like pansies...Glad they got their butts handed to them.
Aaron, 2009-01-06 12:33:29

Mike B Have you ever been to Sweden? Hockey is their top sport my friend. Are you Canadian? Maybe you should take the time to read your post before sending it. Your language is brutal just like Swedish meatballs and hockey. Canada rules. People get behind your team and volunteers who give their time and effort to make us all proud.
Ron, 2009-01-06 12:22:51

To Mike Bane. Come on man, what a stupid comment...
Jerome Labbe, 2009-01-06 12:20:53

Hockey is a second rate sport in Sweden??? Amazing how all those NHLers from there managed to go right from the soccer pitch to the ice.
Roy, 2009-01-06 12:13:49

when all is said and done canada is still the best. fabulous effort including some luck here and there but that is hockey. very pleased for esposito, he was outstanding. remember the cha started the program of excellence back in the 80's when we were getting our asses kicked on the international scene and the proof is now in the pudding so enjoy it now cause the rest of the pack is getting closer and slowely getting better.
gord, 2009-01-06 12:07:28

Team Canada got very very lucky against the Russians, some of the top drafted defenceman for Canada were terrible,Pierre Mcquire as a commentator is the most irritating colour man going, everything Canada did was unbelievable, fantastic,unreal, holding the puck in on the blueline and backhanding it in along the boards was described by Pierre as a great play, a skill set that the scouts were looking for,I've seen the same play in tyke, give it a rest Pierre,the Stanley Cup was won by a team that has more International players than any other NHL team so lets not get to full of ourselves,Canada was 4.5 seconds away from being a runner up and then what would we be talking about Pierre.........
Ed, 2009-01-06 11:58:49

Canada won, no question about that, but runing over the goalie twice wasnt pretty and should leave abitter taste. And no im not a comunist or from the east i just like clean hockey...
Patrik, 2009-01-06 11:53:37

Not the exciting game I was hoping for but a great outcome. The boys need to learn to remove their hats when the national anthem is being played. Can't wait to see P.K. play for the Habs. Tavares in a Leaf jersey would make me throw up.
Shawn, 2009-01-06 11:43:49

Wow! Canada, a country obsessed with hockey was able to beat a team from a country where hockey is a second rate sport. Big deal! If Canada wants to be respected in the world stage, it has to dominate in soccer. Dominating a sport that only we seem care about is pointless.
Mike Bane, 2009-01-06 11:35:03

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