Motivation not lacking for juniors

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 11:14 AM ET

A continent away from the world junior hockey championship in B.C., Patrice Bergeron can still almost hear coach Brent Sutter delivering one of his trademark animated pep talks to his Team Canada kids a year ago.

Bergeron -- who was the leading scorer and MVP of last year's Canadian gold-medal win at Grand Forks, N.D. -- is aware the inexperienced Canadians are being made slight underdogs in the annual tournament, which kicks off Monday.

But the budding Bruins star believes you can never underestimate a Canadian team when the fiery Sutter is behind the bench.

"Oh, man, he is such a motivator,"said Bergeron, who had 21 points entering last night's game against the Maple Leafs. "That's what he is all about. He is so intense. He is a great coach. He was so good for me."

MUCH GREENER

This year's Canadian team is a much greener version, sporting only one returnee, Cam Barker. Gone are the likes of Bergeron, Jeff Carter, Michael Richards, Sidney Crosby and Dion Phaneuf, all of whom are in the NHL.

But with Sutter back, Bergeron said, that is reason enough to consider Canada a legitimate contender.

"I think he'll be a factor again this time,"said Bergeron, who was much more eager to talk about Sutter than he was about capturing the MVP award a year ago.

"It was flattering to win, but it's not like I wanted to be MVP," he said."My only goal was to win the gold and we did it. It's a team game and it was a team achievement.

"Looking back, (the experience) was up there with making the NHL as an 18 year old. Playing with guys my own age, winning the gold, I could not have asked for more."


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