It'll be Marty's party

AL STRACHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:55 AM ET

With the North American exhibition commitments out of the way, Team Canada is starting to gear up for the world championship which begins in earnest on Saturday.

As a result, Martin Brodeur, who will be the starting goalie in the tournament, will play the entire game tonight when Canada faces Latvia in an exhibition game here in Riga, Latvia.

"We talked to him and he wanted to do that," Team Canada coach Marc Habscheid said. "We wanted to make sure he had lots of input."

In the first two exhibitions against Team USA, Brodeur played the first half of each game.

"Like everyone else he's a crucial player for us," said Habscheid, "and we just felt it would be a good opportunity for him to play the whole game. He felt that way as well."

INTERESTING TEST

The Latvians should provide an interesting test. Their own two opening exhibition games were played in Germany and they came out of it with a win and a tie.

In front of their always rabid fans in a sold-out building, they'll provide a solid test for Canada and Brodeur.

Some coaches feel that they should make all the decisions, including the ones involving goaltending. Habscheid looks at it another way.

"Marty has obviously got a lot of experience," he said, "and the goaltending situation isn't one I'm familiar with. It's not a position that I played, so I make sure that I'm communicating with him to make sure he's getting enough shots or to see how he feels.

"In terms of the exhibition games, it's important -- because he hasn't played this season -- to see what needs he has, because I can't relate to that because I was never a goaltender."

Communication between a Team Canada coach and his goaltender is not something that has been passed along through the generations. Curtis Joseph could tell you that.


Photos