Hossa skates at high rate
Redden impressed by Hossa's foot speed
By CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun
Snators forward Marian Hossa. (Bruce Bennett Studios)
Slovakia 2 Canada 2
Never one to miss out on an opportunity for self-improvement, Wade Redden skated up to Marian Hossa last night during a stoppage in play.
"Who are you working with to improve your foot speed?" asked Redden.
The Team Canada defenceman had a good vantage point to see Hossa, his Senators teammate and opponent with Slovakia last night, turn it on.
Hossa zipped between Redden and partner Ed Jovanovski in the first period last night and broke away on goaltender Martin Brodeur. Hossa flew in and buried a shot between Brodeur's pads to give Slovakia a 2-0 lead in what turned out to be a 2-2 tie at the Corel Centre.
Redden was saying the other day
knowing how to stop Hossa and doing it are two different things.
"I got spun around and I wound up in no-man's land," said Redden. "You can't give him a step on you."
Hossa said he was coming in too fast to think about trying to throw a deke at Brodeur.
"I just tried to shoot it and I hit the five-hole," he said. "That was big for us to get a 2-0 lead. We spent too long on the ice in the second half of the game. We need quicker shifts. We were getting tired and made some mistakes.
"But we're happy with the tie. Against a talented team like Canada, to tie 2-2 gives us confidence."
They're going to need all the confidence they can get given their mounting injury list.
They lost winger Peter Bondra last night when he suffered a broken thumb and maybe some wrist damage as well when he was hit by a shot. Big Michal Handzus was walking around with his right arm last night in a sling (torn bicep, apparently) and D Ivan Majesky had his finger taped up after breaking it in practice at the University of Ottawa.
The Slovaks will really miss Handzus in the middle where they were already thin. They will save on shampoo, however. You seen the mop on that guy?
HEAR AND THERE: Alexei Yashin doesn't hold -- in fact, never had -- a grudge against Ottawa. The big centre said if the chance presented itself, he'd be willing to come back and play for the Senators again. (Stop your laughing). "Yeah, I'd have no problem with that," he said yesterday. "I'm a New York Islander now and I'm proud to be part of the organization. We've shown some good improvement and are looking forward to taking the next step. I tried to play as hard as I could for Ottawa for many years and now I'm trying to put the New York Islanders on the map. But you never know where you're going to wind up."... It's going to be tough to keep Vincent Lecavalier out of the Team Canada lineup. Right before he scored to make it 2-1 last night (second goal in as many nights), he caused the turnover with a strong backcheck. A perfect example of creating offence from defence.
REVELATIONS: Maybe Mario Lemieux doesn't have the best reputation for his defence, but consider this: By the coaching staff's count, he was responsible for causing the Americans to turn over five pucks in the Team Canada zone Wednesday night -- in the first two periods ... A guy who didn't help his cause last night: Team Canada D Eric Brewer. He crosschecked a Slovak into Brodeur resulting in Slovakia's first goal, took a hooking penalty on an icing call and had his pocket picked by Hossa. Not the kind of hat trick you want.
SPECULATIONS: A good person not to be last night: Slovakian D Richard Lintner. He got flattened by Shane Doan in the opening minutes. When he came back and mixed it up in the corner, he got a punch in the back of the head from Team Canada F Kris Draper ... A guy who has been hard not to notice: Doan ... Big Joe Thornton played his best game so far ... After one period last night, a good headline was looking like "Slovak goaltender Stana on his head." That would be Rastivslav Stana, who played last year in Portland of the AHL. He saved the game for the Slovaks with a couple of huge saves in the third period and in overtime. The 24-year-old made a pretty good case for himself last night.
THE BUZZ: Team Canada director of player personnel Steve Tambellini isn't buying the "Slovakia is a darkhorse" line some people are selling. "How can they be a darkhorse when they have as much firepower as anybody?" he asked. "Any goalie can get hot. How can you not think they can be a contender?" And that was before they jumped out to a 2-0 lead on Canada last night ... One of the constant topics among the media entourage is Team Canada's line combinations. "We don't even talk about it in this room," said Lemieux. "Sometimes it takes a few games to learn how guys play. But I guess it makes for a good story." Team Canada is still trying to find the right combinations. It took three games in Salt Lake City at the Olympics ... The most versatile guy last night: Anthem singer Lyndon Slewidge sang the Slovakian national anthem. He got a thumbs up from a member of the Slovakian delegation. He had half a point deducted for mispronouncing one word.