Two games they hate

PAUL FRIESEN, SPORTS COLUMNIST

, Last Updated: 10:36 AM ET

There are two types of games Melody Davidson hates coaching.

Tonight is one of them.

"I hate playing Finland in the semifinal game," the Team Canada boss said yesterday. "Every year it seems like we have to."

The challenge lies in the Finns' trapping style. They hang back, clog up the neutral zone and make it difficult to get anything going, usually at the expense of their own attack.

"They'll sit back and rely on us to be impatient," Davidson said. "It'd be great if they came at us hard. We respond better to it sometimes than a more passive forecheck."

By the way, the other game Davidson worries about is the first one of a tournament like the world championship.

That's the game that usually sets the tone for a team, and if it doesn't go well, it often leads to trouble.

Canada won its opener here, 9-0, over Switzerland.

HAIL THE KIDS: Davidson had plenty of praise for younger players such as Meghan Agosta, Gina Kingsbury and Sarah Vaillancourt, who've been shuffled from line to line and received various amounts of ice time.

"I've been so proud of them in terms of their maturity," the coach said. "They don't miss a beat. And whether their shift is 10 in a row or one in 10, I know what I'm getting out there."

All three have chipped in offensively, too, something Kingsbury says is crucial to take pressure of stars such as Hayley Wickenheiser.

"If you put all your eggs in one basket, you end up short in the end," Kingsbury said.

EGGS OF ANOTHER KIND: Team Canada got a surprise visit from the Easter Bunny yesterday morning, thanks to the staff at their hotel.

"On our whole floor there were Easter eggs and little signs," Davidson said. "Most of us forgot it was Easter, to be honest with you."

Not Wickenheiser, who handed out eggs to her son, Noah, and a handful of other kids who were at a team family-and-friends breakfast.

"She scattered them all over, and we paired up the older ones with the younger ones and had a little Easter egg hunt in our breakfast room," Davidson said.

SHRUNKEN MEDAL? Davidson and a few players wear a permanent reminder of last year's Olympics around their necks, in the form of a small pendant shaped like a gold medal.

"I wear it all the time. It's part of me and part of what we're about," she said.

The pendant looks like a mini version of the Turin gold, complete with a hole in the middle.


Videos

Photos