Smyth rises to challenge

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:06 AM ET

INNSBRUCK, Austria -- Ryan Smyth was demoted from the second line to the national grind line and busted his butt to prove a point to the other players on Team Canada.

In an attempt to get the still-scoreless Dany Heatley going, coach Marc Habscheid moved Shane Doan into Smyth's spot and put Smyth in his place with Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby. Smyth ended up with a goal and an assist in Canada's second game at the IIHF World Hockey Championships and said it's the way it has to be with this team.

"The coach tapped me on the shoulder between the first and second period and said I was going to play with Draper and Maltby.

"That's it. What the coach says you do, you do. Whatever it takes to win, great. It's called checking your ego at the door and we do that very well with Team Canada."

Smyth has played with the two before, but Captain Canada, who played his 52nd game at the world championships in the 8-0 win over Slovenia, but was kind of fuzzy about when it was.

"I think it was the tournament in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2000. Those two play pretty well together."

Habscheid said playing Slovenia provided an opportunity to try some things after jumping to a 3-0 first period lead. "I just thought that we don't want to be a one-dimensional team. It was an opportunity to try some things. We liked what we saw."

He did admit Heatley not having the puck on his stick much against Latvia and again in the first period against Slovenia, played a part in the decision.

"He needs to score and help us offensively. He's a great player. He's a world-class player."

Morrison, who scored two goals in the game, one with each variation of the line, now has three for the tournament - three more than Heatley, who led the tournament in scoring with eight goals and was named MVP last year after having scored seven the year before.

Heatley is four goals from equalling Marcel Dionne's record of 21 for Canada at the world championships.

"They didn't tell me until I was on the bench," he said. "Doan is more of a shooter than Smytty.

"It doesn't matter who I'm playing with."

Doan says he has no idea if he'll play against Team USA tomorrow with Heatley and Morrison.

"It's early in the tournament and we're trying to find things," he said."I just go where they tell me to go. Left. Centre. Right. I think it was a great test of our leadership with the coach and all the stuff keeping us together."


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