Americans one loss away from disaster

TERRY KOSHAN

, Last Updated: 8:53 AM ET

LEKSAND, SWEDEN -- The United States is on perilous ground and captain Taylor Chorney knows it.

The U.S., among the pre-tournament favourites at the 2007 world junior championship, is 0-2 and plays Slovakia, also 0-2, this morning.

"If we lose we are basically going home," Chorney, the U.S. captain and an Edmonton Oilers prospect, said. "I don't know if it is a good thing, but there is a sense of desperation that we have not had so far.

"We know it is now or never. Now that we have our backs against the wall, we have to be desperate."

As long as the U.S. is losing, the second-guessing will continue regarding the decision to leave Bobby Ryan and Mark Mitera at home.

Both played last year, but apparently that was not good enough for a country that has won the world junior exactly once.

There's a chance U.S. coach Ron Rolston will use goalie Jeff Frazee, who has watched the first two games from the bench, in place of Jeff Zatkoff.

DRAFTING A SURPRISE: Germany D Korbinian Holzer is one of two Maple Leafs draft picks participating in the tournament. The other is F Leo Komarov of Finland. Of the NHL teams based in Canada, the Edmonton Oilers, Ottawa Senators, Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks each have four picks playing. The Calgary Flames have one, Canadian backup G Leland Irving. Edmonton has Andrew Cogliano (Canada), Alexander Bumagin (Russia), Fredrik Pettersson (Sweden) and Chorney. Ottawa has Tomas Kudelka (Czech Republic), Vitali Anikeyenko and Ilya Zubov (Russia) and Brian Lee (U.S.). Montreal drafted Canada G Carey Price, Sergei Kostitsyn (Belarus), Pavel Valentenko (Russia) and Juraj Mikus (Slovakia). Vancouver has Canada D Luc Bourdon, Juraj Simek (Switzerland), Mario Bliznak (Slovakia) and Daniel Rahimi (Sweden).

Let the bidding begin: Starting today, hockey fans will have a chance to bid on Canada's game-worn sweaters, helmets and gloves from the world junior at www.ebay.ca. The auction will end Jan. 8. Proceeds go to Hockey Canada.


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