(Voorhees, NJ) - With Team USA’s eye-opening 5-3 win over Canada on Sunday in Vancouver, a couple of current members of the Flyers’ front office were surely watching the game with a smile.
Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette (from Franklin, Massachusetts), and player development coach Derian Hatcher (from Sterling Heights, Michigan) both have Olympic experience. Laviolette was the bench boss for the Americans four years ago in Torino, Italy, while Hatcher wore the red, white and blue for the USA Olympic team in 1998 and 2006.
Below is a brief Q and A with Laviolette and Hatcher regarding the Olympics so far, and specifically the performance of Team USA and Canada.
* * *Q: How does win over Canada help Team USA in confidence level?
|Peter Laviolette was Team USA's head coach in the Olympics four years ago in Torino, Italy. (Getty Images) |
: "I think everybody had Canada picked to go very deep in the tournament, and obviously USA was unknown with so many first-time Olympians and a young squad. Any time you can win big games like that it breeds confidence and you take that with you as you move on in the tournament or as you are trying to reach a goal.
“When you can knock off what is predicted to be one of the top teams, if not the best team in the tournament, and you do it in the matter of which they did it, I think you gain confidence from that. [Team USA is] still going to have to beat a couple very good teams down the stretch in order to continue to chase their dream.
"Along with the confidence came the seeding and the match-up that they were looking for. They stayed away from the road that Canada now has to take where Canada has to play this extra game with Germany. And if they are successful against them, they have this date with Russia. Just to avoid that scenario, to play the team that they want in that crossover game, I think is really important. It sets them up for what might be the easiest road now to get to the medal round." Q: Speaking of USA's confidence, does this rattle Canada's confidence? PL
: "I think it does. They are already in a pressure-cooker. There are so many expectations on Canada every year to be successful in hockey tournaments. Now that the spotlight is in Vancouver and they have the team that they wanted, and it is a very good hockey team, it does put a lot of pressure them. Like I said, they have to play this extra game now and with success against Germany they would be looking at the Russians, which should be a heck of a hockey game. But, the bottom line is somebody is going home, either Russia or Canada, and are not going to play for a medal."
* * *Q: How do you think Team USA looks? Derian Hatcher
: "They are playing well. They have done what they had to do and have put themselves in the best possible situation to go far in the tournament. Obviously, It was great seeing them beat the Canadians."Q: Does this help their confidence, beating the Canadians? DH
: "Sure it does; not only beating one of the tournament favorites, but it is on their home soil, too. That goes a long way in their locker room."Q: Does it rattle Team Canada's confidence? DH
: "I don't know so much if they are rattled compared to what they are hearing. I am sure they are hearing a lot of stuff on the television stations throughout all of Canada, actually. If they let that play into their heads a little bit, sure, it can rattle them. But I believe that Canada still has the confidence over there."