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Duff: Germany will feel wrath of Canada

by Brian Duff


Fill 'er.

And good luck to Thomas Greiss.

After consecutive games in which the opposing goalie stole the show against the host nation, how can one envy the position that Greiss and the Germans find themselves in?

Yes, it is what every netminder dreams of -- the chance to play the role of hero.

It is the only thing that a still winless team can dream of -- the chance to pull off the one of the greatest Olympic upsets of all-time.

While Canadians far and wide, by the minute, have been calling for change -- change to the lines, to the defense, and of course in the crease -- all of them know deep down that Tuesday is merely a stepping stone to the Quarterfinals, and a matchup everyone wanted a week ago, if not sooner, Canada vs. Russia.

And Tuesday it could get ugly.

There will be no repeat of 1992, when Dave King's Canadian National Team needed a shootout to defeat Germany in the Quarterfinals at Albertville, France. Led by future NHLers in Joe Juneau (the tournament scoring leader) and Eric Lindros, along with goaltender Sean Burke, that team made it all the way to the gold medal game before falling to the Unified Team made up of players from the former Soviet Republics.

No, this German team, despite the heroic beard-growing efforts of Sven Butenschon (140 NHL games with Pit, Edm, NYI, Van) hasn't won an Olympic game vs. Canada – ever!

Oh for fourteen, will soon become fifteen, despite the presence of some quality NHL players like Marco Sturm, Jochen Hecht, Christian Ehrhoff, and the surprising Marcel Goc who has had a solid year in Nashville.

Yes, the Germans were a crossbar, a post, and a missed goalie interference call away from a lot better result than a 2-0 defeat to Sweden in the tournament opener.

But it will take the biggest flameout since -- well, the opening ceremony I guess -- for Canada not to advance.

In some ways this Canadian team is reminding its faithful followers that Torino was not just a bad dream. Yet speaking with NHL Network analyst, and two-time Stanley Cup winner Dave Reid, he seems to hold a similar perspective to that of the Team Canada brass.

"The team played with intensity, desperation and a commitment to the game plan of taking the puck to the net with speed," said Reid of Sunday's 5-3 loss to the USA.

"My outlook is they should be fine if they can get solid goaltending from (Roberto) Luongo, who I believe should play, and will carry the team in his home building."

Team Canada GearAs for the other end of the rink?

Time to fill 'er up.

Pulse of the people -- As you might have expected, the phone lines were burning on another Red and White edition of Leafs Lunch on AM640, following the Sunday setback for Canada.

Strangely none of the callers extended early congratulations to USA/Toronto Maple Leafs personnel Brian Burke and Ron Wilson. Or Phil Kessel for that matter.

But they did mention some guy named Miller a lot.

What many also emphasized was the need to relax, not press the panic button, reduce the minutes for Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger, and add more to the plate of Sidney Crosby.

And, it would appear their lobbying has paid off in regards to the goaltending. Sort of.

While most who've reached the show echo the sentiments of the host who believes that Marc-Andre Fleury should have been given a shot, they seem to be wanting change period, and they'll get it now in the form of Roberto Luongo.

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