Burke backs Brodeur

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VANCOUVER — Brian Burke couldn’t get away without being asked about the state of Team Canada’s goaltending.

It is the hot topic after Martin Brodeur’s sketchy performance Sunday in Canada’s 5-3 loss to the Americans. But while the debate raged for who should man the pipes for Tuesday’s elimination game against Germany, Brodeur had an ally in the Team USA general manager.

“People forgot he stopped a breakaway and a semi-breakaway on Dustin Brown and Bobby Ryan. In the third period, he made some unbelievable point-blank saves,” said Burke. “I think Marty Brodeur is going to go down as one of the greatest goalies that ever played.

“I think Canada is in a really luxurious postion of having an embarrassment of riches to chose from at that position. You’re talking about a gold-standard goaltender in Marty Brodeur, a gold-standard goaltender in (Marc-Andre) Fleury and I think the best goalie in the NHL over the last two years has been Roberto Luongo.

“You’re choosing apples and apples there. You’re talking about three great players.”

The Canadian goalies might all be “gold standard,” as Burke put it, but Team USA’s Ryan Miller is looking like a guy who could win the gold.

He outplayed Brodeur by a wide margin Sunday.

“We got outchanced 2-1 (Sunday) night and our goaltender stole us a game. That’s what happened. People can say Canada didn’t play well, I don’t agree with that,” said Burke. “They outchanced us. I thought except for the goaltending position, we didn’t deserve to win that game. That being said, that’s why we brought him. That’s why he’s in net. It’s not like we’re apologizing for the team we brought.

“That’s why Ryan Miller, in my opinion, has been the best goaltender in the NHL this year, so far.”

The Americans are turning into a great story, topping the preliminary-round standings and getting the top seed. Their side of the draw is much easier with the Czech Republic and Finland likely standing in their way to the gold-medal game Sunday.

Canada would have to go through Germany, Russia and Sweden to get there.

“You guys are probably going to be shocked by this, but I’m not happy with the way we’ve played at this point. If that’s how we play, we’re going to have a hard time getting where we want to get here and medalling,” said Burke. “We’re playing with about 10 guys carrying us, in my opinion.

“You didn’t see Canada’s best game last night. You didn’t see Sweden’s best game last night. Everything gets racheted up now. We’ve got to ratchet it up, too, or all this goes for naught. They don’t hand out any medals for finishing first in the preliminary round.”

chris.stevenson@sunmedia.ca


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