Future still looks bright

JASON HILLS -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:45 AM ET

Edmonton Oilers defenceman Steve Staios arrived home yesterday from Quebec City with his silver medal tucked away in his luggage.

It's not that he is ashamed about showing off the medal he helped Canada earn at the 2008 World Hockey Championships.

But after losing a 5-4 overtime heartbreaker to Russia it's just tougher to swallow.

To Canadian hockey fans, the only colour that matters is gold.

But for Staios and the rest of Team Canada, a silver medal may sting a little, but with this year's team full of young stars, the future looks bright.

"The players we had on the team were all committed and they all worked hard, which made it all the more disappointing when we lost the gold medal," said Staios. "The young guys showed a lot of maturity and professionalism and Hockey Canada is in great shape moving forward."

Canada's Dany Heatley took home MVP honours after his record-breaking goal scoring spree. He tallied 12 goals in the tournament.

Heatley, Ryan Getzlaf and Rick Nash ripped up the tournament as Canada's top line. All three garnered much deserved attention and should receive invites for the 2010 Olympic team.

The blue-line was also filled with youthful exuberance with players like Brent Burns, Mike Green and Duncan Keith stepping up and playing huge minutes. They, too, showed they can don the Maple Leaf and wear it well and they are all in their early 20s.

"These types of tournaments are great experiences for everybody and whether you win or lose, you can learn from it," said Staios, who played in his fourth World Championship.

"Silver is nothing to be ashamed of with the type of talent we played against. It's good to have that feeling going into the tournament nothing but gold is good enough for us."

Jason Chimera played an energy role with Team Canada. He played most of the tournament with St. Louis Blues forward Jamal Mayers and Ottawa Senators play-maker Jason Spezza.

"We went there with one goal and that was to win the gold medal and it's disappointing it didn't happen," said Chimera.

"Looking back on it, it was one mistake. I think on any given day we could beat the Russian team."

Canada held a 4-2 lead heading into the third period, but Russia's Ilya Kovalchuk started and ended the heartbreak as he broke out of his goalless streak by tying the game with just over five minutes to play. His power-play goal came at the 2:42 mark of the extra session after Nash's clearing attempt sailed over Canada's bench.

"That penalty call is something they should talk about and review, it doesn't have a purpose," said Staios.

"I don't want to complain about it, but it doesn't really seem to have any kind of effect on the game and it really ended up costing us."

Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish arrived back in Edmonton earlier in the day after serving as an assistant coach and he felt the penalty call was justified.

"It was right down at my end of the bench, and it was so close, I thought they might err on the side of not calling the penalty, but they made the right call," said MacTavish, who has now coached in two world championships and is still looking for his first gold medal.

"We just got a little tentative in the third period and when you play like that against a team like the Russians, it can come back to bite you.

"With the exception of the third period (Sunday), it was a wonderful experience."


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