Olympic hockey secrets up for grabs

Canadian, U.S. Olympians will get to know each other this week

By LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

NEWARK, N.J. -- This close to the Olympics, with this many Canadian and American participants in such close proximity, there is bound to be a little War of 1812 feeling to the Maple Leafs and Devils as they meet three times in eight days.

Ron Wilson is coaching the Americans, but plotting to stop his USA captain Jamie Langenbrunner and fellow Jersey forward Zach Parise the next few nights.

Martin Brodeur is wearing the red maple leaf but was hoping to beat the blue one three times as well as keep vexing American Olympians such as Phil Kessel, who entered Friday 0-for-11 in goals in games against the Devils.

Devils' coach Jacques Lemaire will be Mike Babcock's associate in Vancouver and was hoping to get a look at Mike Komisarek, the injured Leaf defenceman and a member of Team USA, while Wilson is waiting to see if Devils' blueliner Paul Martin gets healthy in time for the games.

Wilson, who coached an upstart American team to the 1996 World Cup over Canada, said he wanted Canada to show up in force.

"I hope they have their best lineup," Wilson said Friday at the Prudential Center. "That's why you go to the Olympics, to play your best and match wits with the best coaches. We think we can be successful. We're not the favourites, but our intention is to try our best to win a gold."

Parise laughed when asked to tell all about beating Brodeur for the benefit of Canadian media.

"I could tell you all the secrets and he would still end up making the save," Parise said. "Guys have been shooting on him for years and he's still tough to figure out."

DAY JOBS

Komisarek did not accompany the team here and is thus doubtful for Saturday's home game against Vancouver with a shoulder injury that has sidelined him all month.

Kessel said all the players haven't forgotten what their days jobs are for the next two weeks.

"It will be an unbelievable experience to play for my country, but your mind doesn't wander. Right now you're playing for Toronto, this is what you're paid to do. We have to get back on track and win some games."

LANCE.HORNBY@SUNMEDIA.CA

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