BROSSARD – With 11-and-a-half Canadians in the Canadiens’ dressing room, the Habs were feeling particularly patriotic ahead of the World Juniors gold medal game on Wednesday night.
It may be four years since Tom Pyatt last won gold for Team Canada at the World Juniors, but looking at the two shiny World Junior souvenirs dangling in his collection never gets old for the Habs’ forward.
“For me, that first year was a little bit more nerve racking; you’re playing in Vancouver in front of all the crazy fans and it was my first World Juniors experience,” described Pyatt, who won gold alongside Benoit Pouliot in 2006 before doing the same with Carey Price
a year later in Leksand, Sweden. “They just have to play a simple, Canadian game and work hard and play physically – that always seems to work.”
While the 2011 version of Team Canada doesn’t boast the star power of Pyatt’s 2007 squad that included the likes of Jonathan Toews and Sam Gagner, the Canadiens’ forward sees some parallels with another golden group from a few years back.
“It’s kind of similar to our team in Vancouver in ‘06. We were big underdogs that year and Russia had a strong team,” admitted Pyatt. “I think a big part of that tournament is that every player checks their ego at the door and everyone gets a role and plays it to a tee. When you do that, you’re going to have success. It’s a special feeling and it’s something I’ll never forget.”
After knocking off the favored Russians 4-2 to win gold in Sweden, Pyatt has nothing but positive memories of the heated match-up.
“I think it’s a great rivalry. So many World Junior finals are Canada vs Russia,” explained Pyatt. “I’m sure they don’t like us too much and everyone can expect a good, physical game tonight. It’ll be a tight one.”
The owner of silver and bronze medals of his own from his time with Team Canada in the World Juniors, Michael Cammalleri is hoping the Canadian Junior team comes home from Buffalo with something even shinier this time around.
|Wednesday's World Juniors battle is a win-win for dual-citizen Andrei Markov. |
“It’s a special event and we hope for the best for those Canadian players tonight,” offered the Habs’ sniper, who came third with in Moscow in 2001 before earning a second-place finish at the tournament in the Czech Republic a year later. “Who do you think I’m going to say [I’m rooting for]? I lost to the Russians in the gold medal game once so I’d like to see the Canadians win, for sure.
“I was talking to Marky [Andrei Markov
] this morning and he definitely let me know where his loyalties lie and that he would like to see the Russians win tonight. I obviously said the opposite,” said the Habs’ sniper before remembering Markov’s Canadian citizenship ceremony this past summer. “We didn’t put anything interesting on it, but he said some pretty interesting things that I won’t repeat. He’s a double citizen now so it’s a win-win for him, isn’t it?”Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.SEE ALSO
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