No deadbeat repeat

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:54 PM ET

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Braydon Coburn isn't often found at a loss for words. The hypothetical situation, though, sure had the hulking Team Canada defenceman searching for the answer.

Asked if he had any idea what the reaction from head coach Brent Sutter would be if he and his teammates were again guilty of letting up after gaining a big lead, Coburn paused for what seemed an eternity.

"I don't know," the Saskatchewan product who toils for the Portland Winter Hawks finally said. "I'm not sure what his tactics are. He's really cut and dried -- if you don't perform, you don't play.

"I think all the guys realize that and don't want to be the guy letting up."

Consider it a lesson learned then. Twenty-four hours after pretty much falling asleep upon gaining a four-goal lead against Slovakia, Coburn and his teammates found themselves in a similar situation yesterday afternoon against Sweden.

This time, the end result was an 8-1 trouncing during which the Canadians didn't let up.

"From the opening faceoff right through, I thought our game was very complete," said Sutter. "We talked about it after last game, that we had a letdown of 14-15 minutes, but tonight we played from the opening faceoff like we want to, the score was 1-1.

"I give the kids a lot of credit, they played hard and competed hard right from the get-go and, for the most part, we did what we wanted to do as far as our effort and commitment."

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to Sutter hockey.

It's brazen.

It's tough.

It's mean.

And if you don't like it, too bad.

Those who watched the Calgary Flames playoff run know all too well it doesn't matter who you are -- if you're not going to do the job, you'll face the wrath.

Remember back to the spring, Jarome Iginla, Miikka Kiprusoff and and handful of other top players were sub-par and GM-head coach Darryl Sutter made sure everybody knew it in no uncertain terms.

His younger brother is no different.

Which is one big reason his charges all put in 60-minute performances against Sweden at the palatial Ralph Engelstad Arena yesterday.

Actually, to a man, they did one better.

The Canadians didn't just ensure they weren't guilty of letting up on the Swedes. They put their proverbial skates on the throat, grabbed the top rope and shoved down as hard as they could.

"It's part of our identity we're trying to build," said Coburn. "To be a team that's relentless and never let off the gas.

"Right from the start, we were going and their goalie was doing a good job but we just kept sticking to our plan and the guys did a good job of keeping the focus and having that one-goal-game mentality."

Funny how pretending it's a one-goal game can turn into a rout by a converted touchdown.

"The big thing is we can't stop there," said forward Colin Fraser, the Red Deer Rebels captain who knows all about the Sutter expectations. "It's two games down and now we have to look forward to the next one.

"He's only going to play who's going hard. It doesn't matter who you are, everybody plays the way they can, fills a role and goes hard every shift or they won't play.

"Every guy here wants to play, wants to get ice time and it's a huge thing representing your country so you'd better go hard."


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