Juniors still 'not playing that good'

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:22 AM ET

LEKSAND, Sweden -- First Place in Group a Is a Lock and the Bye to a Semifinal Wednesday at the 2007 World Junior Championship Is in the Books.

Still, the Canadians -- now 3-0 after beating Germany 3-1 in an immensely dry game yesterday -- are far from pleased with their showing at the world junior hockey championship.

"We're not playing that good right now," said captain Kris Letang, who began the season with the Pittsburgh Penguins before being sent back to junior. "We are doing some good things but we are doing some bad things. I am happy we are first in our side and have a bye for the semis but we have to be better. There are still too many turnovers and we have to play 60 minutes."

Canada outshot Germany 34-19 before an announced crowd of 1,284 -- most of whom were clad in Canada sweaters -- but struggled against a talented German side.

On paper, the two clubs seem miles apart. The Germans have just four drafted players and only three players are developing in North America. But Germany, which is 0-9 against Canada since unification in 1989, spent most of the game doing little to try to score and lined up four players across the blueline. It's not an approach Canada usually sees at this level but it speaks to the difference in talent.

"I expected it to be tight but I thought we were able to open it up at times," said forward and Edmonton Oilers prospect Andrew Cogliano. "We can't let up at all. That's something we have to work on."

Canada got a pair of goals from defenceman Kris Russell while Steve Downie scored his second of the tournament.

Coach Craig Hartsburg kept the players in the dressing room afterward to remind them nothing has been accomplished. There's an underlying sense around the Canadian team, which will play for a medal of some colour, that it has not come close to settling into a groove.

"We need to build," Hartsburg said.

"A lot of that game we passed the test but at times in the offensive zone, there were some decisions that cost us and we had to chase (the Germans) back to our end. We have to be more poised and patient.

"As a coach you want 60 perfect minutes."


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