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Chu: Excited for title game on home soil

Saturday, 04.14.2012 / 11:12 AM / NHL Insider

By Julie Chu - Special to NHL.com

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Chu: Excited for title game on home soil
Julie Chu is excited for a title game on home soil in the 2012 Women's World Championships.

We spend a whole year training and preparing for the opportunity to play for a gold medal and [Saturday] we have that chance. So, it doesn't take a whole lot to get extra enthusiastic or excited for it. This is our time to be able to showcase the preparation that we've done all year long.

Canada is a great team and they've had some great games and done really well this tournament, also. We don't expect it to look the same as it did in our 9-2 win last Saturday. We're going to be prepared to come out and know that we are going to have to battle right from the start and play a solid 60 minutes of hockey if we want to be successful.

America's Julie Chu is blogging about the Women's World Championship for NHL.com. READ Julie's Second Blog
(Photo: Getty Images)

At the same time, I think our approach is really the same. They have great goaltending and they have a lot of skilled players so we want to make sure that we take the shifts one at a time, we have to get pucks to the net again with a lot of traffic in front of the goalies eyes. When we have an opportunity to capitalize, we have to make sure that we do, because I know on the other side if we give up too many opportunities they'll do the same. So, it should be a great battle and a great game. I think it's exactly what we want out of our championship, playing one of our biggest rivals at a sold out arena and hopefully getting a chance to come away with a gold medal.

I haven't gotten an opportunity to play in a World Championship in the U.S. since my first one in 2001. I've never experienced the opportunity to play in front of such a pro-America crowd. We hopefully will have the same kind of energy and enthusiasm in the crowd that we had last Saturday. That definitely helped to give us a little extra jump and a little more momentum when the puck dropped.

It's been an unreal experience so far. We definitely had a lot of success and gave our fans something to cheer about in our 10-0 win against Switzerland on Friday night. For us, it had been two days since we had an opportunity to play a game, so I think it was a little bit of that. It was much needed because we got a lot of rest and recovery in those two days that was needed, but we were itching to play a game. It was a great team effort and one of the stepping stones for us as we head into the gold medal game Saturday.

The Swiss team has had a really good tournament. They were able to move up the ranks and get one of the top four spots in the tournament and now they have a chance to play for a bronze medal Saturday. I think that's a great testament to the dedication that their players and staff and federation are doing to developing their team.

For us, our biggest goal was, "What can we do to play our game against any opponent that we face?" Our speed is a huge asset, along with getting a lot of pucks to the net, so, that was something that we wanted to make sure that we continued to do even if we might have possessed the puck a little bit more. We wanted to make sure that we still put pucks on the net. Florence Schelling is the Swiss goaltender and she is phenomenal. She was one of three Patty Kazmaier finalists this year and a senior at Northeastern University. She was stellar in goal [Friday]. She only played the first two periods, and will probably, I'm guessing, get the start Saturday in the bronze medal game against Finland.

Getting to host it here has been unreal. A lot of our friends and family have been able to come, which isn't always necessarily the case when a world championship is abroad in Switzerland or Finland. Getting an opportunity to have it here, so close to so many friends and family, is really a special thing for us and we've definitely utilized that in a very positive way getting a chance to re-energize ourselves with our friends and family but also making sure as that we reeled it in a little bit and made sure we weren't overextending ourselves but getting the rest and recovery that we needed and the energy that we will need for the battle Saturday.

It's been more of a fun thing to kill some of the time, and it's kind of dorky, but we have been doing a lot of puzzles, so that we're not running around and on our feet, but spending some time with the teammates, puzzling. That doesn't sound very exciting at all but it's a fun little tid bit for us. It's time and we're excited to get on with the championship game.

Quote of the Day

We want to make sure that whoever makes our team really makes our team by earning it and not putting them in situations where they get preference because of their status as a first-round pick or whatever it might be. That's not going to happen. Everybody has to earn their way on our team.

— Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen on the team's prospects at development camp