GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Andrew Ladd's first reaction wasn't to cover his eyes. Nope, since his good buddy and regular Calgary Hitmen linemate Ryan Getzlaf was taking turns on the blueline as a defenceman for Team Canada in Thursday's game with Finland, Ladd wanted to watch every moment.
Kind of like a rubber-necker checking out the carnage of a traffic accident.
"We were more laughing because he couldn't skate backwards," Ladd said yesterday. "He was struggling."
In the third period of the 8-1 win over Finland, the Canadians found themselves a little shy of blueliners.
Already without Cam Barker due to mononucleosis, they lost Brent Seabrook when he re-aggravated a shoulder injury, which took Canada down to five defencemen. Then, Dion Phaneuf was given a 10-minute misconduct to go with a minor penalty, during which fellow rearguards Shea Weber and Shawn Belle were flagged for minors.
Head coach Brent Sutter then turned to Getzlaf.
"I was a little nervous," Getzlaf said. "When guys were coming down one-on-one, it's a little different than one-on-ones back in the WHL. These guys have more speed and skill."
Getzlaf may be known for his offensive skills but he does man the point during powerplays.
"I was surprised but I guess somebody had to go back there, and he has played some in the past," Ladd said. "He's all right from the point in but I don't know about playing in our end."
All kidding aside, Getzlaf actually received some kudos. Not from Ladd, of course, but defenceman Danny Syvret.
"He actually played pretty well for being a forward," said the London rearguard. "He's a pretty talented player up front, so I think we would want to keep him up there. Hopefully, we can stay healthy and keep six in the lineup.
"I never really knew he was a defenceman but at this calibre, anyone can play any position, I think."
Seabrook is expected to play in tomorrow's semifinal but seeing as his shoulder problem could flare up at any time, there's a chance Getzlaf could be on the blueline again. Maybe even against the likes of Russian star Alexander Ovechkin.
"I don't know if that'd be too good for our hockey team," Getzlaf laughed. "If someone else was there to cover for me, maybe. If the time comes and someone has to fill the role (I could) but I'm sure we don't want to do that."