Canada won't stand Pat
Quinn unhappy with club's effort
By BRUCE GARRIOCH, Ottawa Sun
Team Canada head coach Pat Quinn talks with assistant coach Jacques Martin during a practice for the World Cup of Hockey in Ottawa, August 26, 2004. (Ottawa Sun photo/Jeff Bassett)
Pat Quinn read what amounted to a riot act to his troops last night.
The Team Canada coach wasn't pleased with his club's effort in its final World Cup tuneup, a 2-2 tie with Slovakia at the Corel Centre.
Quinn made it clear he wants to see a better effort from every player when the puck is dropped for real Tuesday against the U.S. in Montreal.
"It just seems like right now we're trying to take the easy way out with everything,'' Quinn said after watching Canada recover from a 2-0 deficit to pull out the draw. ''We were better in the second half of the game, but certainly for the first half we didn't play as well as we're capable of playing and it seemed like we felt that everything was going to come easy.
"We're not working hard enough to go to the net and we're not skating as hard as we should be,'' he said. ''It seemed like every play we made in the first half we were trying to stop up when we were going to the net.
''In the playoffs, you need to play a certain way and we need to have a playoff-type of mentality in our game. That's what we're lacking right now."
The Slovaks were pleased with the tie, but it came at a stiff price. Free-agent winger Peter Bondra broke his thumb and will miss the eight-team tournament.
Canada's potent lineup has produced just six goals in recording a 1-1-1 exhibition record against the U.S. and Slovakia. Quinn continued to juggle his lines last night, but if any Team Canada player is worried about the sluggish offensive output, they're not showing it.
"It's still early. I don't think anybody here is concerned (about the lack of scoring) because we know that we have plenty of firepower in this room,'' said winger Jarome Iginla, who tied the game at 2-2 at 11:02 of the third period. ''We're creating chances and it's only a matter of time before we start cashing in on them. We've definitely got the people here.
"I thought we got better as that game went on. We didn't get off to the kind of start we wanted too in the first period and we talked about that a little bit. We knew that we had to play better in the second period and we did. That's a good sign. Now, we've got to get ready to play (the U.S.).''
The Slovaks jumped out to a 2-0 first-period lead on goals by Vladimir Orszagh and hometown hero Marian Hossa. Slowly, but surely, the Canadians wore the Slovaks down, and Vincent Lecavalier's goal at 7:55 of the second seemed to energize the bench.
Rastislav Stana helped preserve the draw for the Slovaks by stopping 29 shots.
So are the Canadians ready for the start of the tourney?
"Definitely," said goalie Martin Brodeur, who faced 19 shots. "I thought we went out there in the second period and we did a lot of good things. We didn't play well in the first, and we came in the dressing room and talked about being better.
"Right now, it's a matter of getting used to each other and we've still got time to do a little more work,'' he said. ''As a group, we're excited and we're ready to go."