Hitchcock counting on Canadian will

TERRY JONES, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:35 AM ET

QUEBEC CITY -- Ken Hitchcock is seldom short and to the point when he's talking hockey.

But he was quite contrite here yesterday when talking about Russia going into today's gold medal game.

"They haven't been challenged," he said. "We'll see."

Assistant coach Pat Burns added some verbiage.

"What kind of pressure has their defence been under?

"They haven't been pressured yet. We expected the Finns to go after them, but they didn't. We were really surprised with that.

"What we have to do is cut that gap between their forwards and their defence."

Burns was in charge of finding the flaws in Swedish netminder Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers in the semifinal.

"That was my job and I did a hell of a job," he laughed,

"With Boston, we went against him 14 times and beat him once," he said of having iffy credentials.

Now Canada faces San Jose Sharks netminder Evgeni Nabokov.

"I said, 'You guys are all Western Conference guys. Why are you asking me?' " he said of Hitchcock of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Craig MacTavish of the Edmonton Oilers and Mike Johnson of the Los Angeles Kings.

"You've got two good teams that have a lot of dynamic players," said Hitchcock of the match-up which some say is a great way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the IIHF because talent should triumph over tactics.

"As much as we're excited, we're also curious to see how good our good young players play against their good young players.

"It's going to be a challenge for both teams."

Hitchcock said he believes the difference could be "the way we put our will on people."


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