Current Flyers Assistant General Manager Paul Holmgren served as the general manager of Team USA in the IIHF World Championships in Riga, Latvia. The United States lost to Sweden, 6-0 in a quarterfinal game on Wednesday.
Holmgren checked in with philadelphiaflyers.com after the loss to recap the experience as well as comment on the several Flyers who were, or still are, in the tournament.Q: After a big win over the Czech Republic, you ran into a solid Team Sweden. Can you give us a recap of the game?
Holmgren: "We played extremely well in our last win against the Czech Republic. We felt going into today's game against Sweden that we would have to play equally as well or better against Sweden. They were tough opponents. Sweden is a great team and are world championship experienced. They are older and have a lot of highly skilled and experienced players. We were just overwhelmed more than anything. I thought our guys played their hearts out. They just couldn't get anything done against a good hockey team today that had everything going their way."Q: Can you give us your overall feelings of the way Team USA played now that they are out of the tourney?
Holmgren: "You are always disappointed when you get bumped out especially the way we did but I think it was a real good experience for a lot of the guys who are here for the first time. As I said, our guys played their hearts out. Our coaching staff led by Mike Eaves, did a tremendous job preparing them. Going into the game today we were near the top in goals-against, we just had a hard time scoring goals. But that wasn't for lack of effort. We couldn't find the back of the net when we needed to and today was another one of those days. Sweden had their top game going."Q: Can you talk about the Philadelphia Flyers who played in the tourney?
Holmgren: "Both Jeff Carter and Mike Richards (Team Canada) were brilliant in the game that Carter scored two shorthanded goals. Today Canada was tied 1-1 going into the third period vs. Slovakia and they came on strong. Canada scored three goals in the third period to win 4-1. Both Mike and Jeff are doing well and Freddy Meyer played well for Team USA. It is a good experience for all these young players to come over and play in this tournament. It is a different style of hockey than the NHL but it means so much to the people in Europe. It is extraordinary for our guys to get a taste of this type of hockey."Q: Who is your favorite to win the tourney?
Holmgren: "Tomorrow there are two more quarterfinal games. Finland plays Belarus and Russia plays the Czech Republic. My guess would be the Russians end up playing Finland. The Russians are a highly skilled team. I think Finland will suffer a little bit because of Antero Niittymaki's injury, but their back-up goalie is an older, experienced guy who will do a good job, but I expect them to beat Belarus. Canada has tremendous youth and enthusiasm on their side right now going into the semi-final game against Sweden. Sweden has tremendous experience along with a high skill level. They play an outstanding team game. Because of Carter and Richards I will pick Canada over Sweden."