-- San Jose Sharks
defenseman Dan Boyle
was under the gun with Team Canada after a slow start. In fact, Canadian coach Mike Babcock criticized Boyle for thinking too much and not playing by instinct after Boyle struggled in the loss to the United States on Sunday
Well, Wednesday, Babcock said he welcomed Boyle back to the tournament after the puck-moving defenseman had a huge game in the 7-3 defeat of Russia in the quarterfinals. Now, Canada will play the winner of Wednesday night's other quarterfinal between Slovakia and Sweden in Friday's semifinal.
Boyle had a goal, two assists, three shots and a plus-3 rating Wednesday night. On his first shift of the night, he went end to end to set up Ryan Getzlaf
's game-opening goal just 2:21 into the contest.
Afterward, Boyle stopped to chat exclusively with NHL.com.
: What does such a convincing win against this Russian team say about Team Canada?
: It just shows the character of the team. Obviously, we didn't have a great start to the tournament, but we showed up (Tuesday) night and we showed up tonight and we had a big first period. It's a credit to the players we have and the team we have.
: You talked about the big first period and you were a part of that with the play on the game-opening goal. Did you take coach Babcock's criticism from the other day to heart?
: I just tried to stay loose. It's different. We are all playing different minutes and different situations, I guess. I just tried to keep myself as loose as possible. That was the best I have felt since the tournament started. It was nice to good a good break on the first shift and took a little weight of my shoulders.
: Talk about the job your five-man unit -- led by defensemen Scott Niedermayer
and Shea Weber
-- did in shutting down Russia's top line.
: Tremendous job. That was one of our keys to winning the game was shutting them down and they did a great job.