Coach gets lines crossed

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:50 AM ET

LEKSAND, Sweden -- In his team's final practice at the 2007 world junior, Canada coach Craig Hartsburg made a small move of desperation.

With his group of forwards producing little in the way of scoring chances, Hartsburg flipped his top two centres, putting Jonathan Toews between Brad Marchand and Steve Downie, and slipping Andrew Cogliano between Tommy Pyatt and Ryan O'Marra.

Cogliano has been a disappointment, registering just a pair of assists in five games, not nearly enough from a guy who has been the centre on the first line. The Woodbridge native was taken 25th overall by the Edmonton Oilers in 2005 because he was speedy and could score. He has the speedy part down pat but not the production.

The line of Cogliano with Marchand and Downie had been together since selection camp broke on Dec. 15 and the late change caught Cogliano a bit off-guard.

"It is a little weird, and I guess you have to block it out of your mind," said Cogliano, who plays for the University of Michigan. "I don't think it matters that much. I talked to (Hartsburg) after and he said it does not matter who you play with, the lines might be all over the place."

Canada is a well-oiled machine inside its blue line, with Carey Price's outstanding goaltending and a stifling defence led by Marc Staal and Ryan Parent.

But of the 16 goals Canada has scored in 2007, six have been by defencemen, and one was on a penalty shot by Toews in the round-robin against the United States.

Canada is on pace for its lowest goals total at the world junior since 1998, when it had 13. In the each of the past eight championships at this level, Canada has not scored fewer than 23 goals.

RECORD

If Price registers a shutout, Canada will end the tournament with five goals against. Last year, it set a record with six goals against.

But Hartsburg, who did not seem overly concerned, still defended his tinkering.

"The past couple of games we have not created as many chances five-on-five as we need to," Hartsburg said. "It is not a big deal. There are times you have to make moves like that. We have to have everybody at their best. It does not matter who scores the goals, as long as we score them."


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