May 6, 2012
Dubnyk gets call against France
By TERRY JONES, QMI AGENCY
HELSINKI, FINLAND - If today is Dubnyk, this must be France.
“It’s my team,” he laughed.
Devan Dubnyk owns France, the team he’ll face Monday in his first ever start, in three appearances at a world hockey championships.
“Shut them out for 13 minutes last year,” said Canada’s No. 2 netminder of his only previous appearance in three straight seasons of answering Canada’s call.
It was 7-1 when he went in. And 9-1 when the game ended.
“I had six or seven shots.”
That was it. Two tournaments. Thirteen minutes. Six or seven shots.
“I played a pre-tournament game, too,” Dubnyk pointed out about last year.
“It was in Paris,” he said. “Against France.
“There were issues with the ice. But we won 3-2. Got the winner with about 45 seconds left. They work hard and play to capitalize on the power play.”
Dubnyk isn’t complaining about getting France again in Canada’s third game of the tournament.
Dubnyk, who turned 26 the day the tournament began, is looking forward to being joined by Jen, his fiance from Calgary on May 10 and is scheduled to be married June 24 in Maui, is not complaining about anything.
“I’m proud to be here and ready to play when given the opportunity. Cam Ward is a pretty good goalie and a good guy to be around and watch how he handles everything.”
But last year ...
“It was pretty disappointing, last year,” he said of his 13 minutes mopping up against the French on a goaltending group featuring James Reimer and Johnathan Bernier.
“I just wanted to play and be part of the group. There are no promises when you agree to be part of this team. I just want to be able to play.
Some figured the Edmonton Oilers’ netminder, who won player of the game honours with an outstanding pre-tournament game against Switzerland in Fribourg, might draw in for the USA game in a back-to-back situation after opening against Slovakia the night before.
Cam Ward, the Sherwood Park product who won the Conn Smythe trophy leading the Carolina Hurricanes to the 2006 Stanley Cup over the Oilers in a seven-game final, isn’t being removed for this one because he gave up five against the Americans.
“Cam is No. 1,” said coach Brent Sutter of his old Red Deer Rebels goalie.
“There’s no reason to get away from that. Cam has got us four out of six points in the standings. But I’m not worried about Doobie. He’s an NHL goalie. He played exceptional in goal for the Oilers down the stretch and he’s played exceptional here, too.”
There’s a bit of history here.
Five months before Ward won that Stanley Cup against Edmonton, Sutter was coaching Team Canada at the world junior and went with Justin Pogge all the way.
Dubnyk didn’t play a minute.
“I played a pre-tournament game in Kelowna against the Czechs and we won 2-1. I was supposed to play the second game of the tournament against Norway, but Pogge, who had a great season going in, was a little shaky and they decided to give him the Norway game to settle down a bit, I guess. And after that he was real hot.
“I didn’t feel cheated. Not at all. I missed a 12-shot game against Norway. And it was a great experience.”
Pogge finished the tournament with three shutouts and a 1.0 goals-against average as Sutter coached Canada to gold for a second year in a row.
The Fort McMurray born Pogge, a WHL goaltender of the year with the Calgary Hitmen, played seven games with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2008-09. He has since been a Bakersfield Condor, San Antonio Rampage, Albany River Rat, Charlotte Checker and this season played 37 games with a 14-13-4 record, a 3.07 save percentage and an .870 save percentage with the Portland Pirates.
Dubnyk, who clearly became the Oilers No. 1 goalie ahead of Nikolai Khabibulin in the past four months, has learned that good things come to those who wait.
He lost most of a year of development when the Oilers went without a farm club one year and spent another year in a three goalie situation.
Dubnyk ended up playing 47 games with the 29th place Oilers with a 20-20-3 record, a 2.67 goals-against record and a .914 save percentage.
“It’s good. I’m prepared for it to be this way. It’s been a fun tournament so far,” he said. “It’s different when you come in as the No. 2 guy. It’s a good thing because you feel you earn your way. And I’m looking at the Olympics.”