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Max Pacioretty says he's fine with his coaches

Team USA, Canadiens forward responds to reports of discord with each team

by Arpon Basu @ArponBasu / Senior Managing Editor

TORONTO -- Team USA forward Max Pacioretty has had to deal with manufactured conflicts involving two coaches this week, and he put an end to each very swiftly Thursday.

The first came when Team USA coach John Tortorella said after a 5-2 loss to Team Canada in a World Cup of Hockey 2016 pretournament game Saturday that he needed more out of Pacioretty. It became a hot topic of conversation, but Pacioretty responded with a stronger effort in Team USA's final pretournament game, a 3-2 win against Team Finland on Tuesday.

Pacioretty said he feels ready for the World Cup, which starts Saturday when Team USA plays Team Europe at Air Canada Centre (3:30p.m. ET; ESPN2, SN, TVA Sports).

"Obviously, stuff gets blown out of proportion a little bit, but [Tortorella] was asked a question, and he answered it," the Montreal Canadiens captain said. "I've learned through playing in Montreal that when things like that happen and they get blown out of proportion, it makes you closer. I had a lot of good talks with [Tortorella] since then, that wasn't his intention, I know people probably felt it was.

"It's exhibition games and that's what they're used for, to get you going. I wasn't going in the first two, I didn't feel good about my game, but I felt good in the third."

The second storm Pacioretty was subjected to this week involved his coach with the Canadiens, Michel Therrien. A radio host reported that Therrien said at a golf event this summer that Pacioretty was the worst captain in Canadiens history.

Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin preferred not to comment on it other than to say Therrien and Pacioretty have a perfectly good relationship, but Pacioretty was more than eager to talk about it.

"Well first off, there's worse lists to be on. A list of Montreal Canadiens captains is a pretty good list to be on," Pacioretty said. "It's unfortunate that someone would make something like that up, but just like the situation I spoke about earlier [with Tortorella], it brings us closer together in having that approach of handling it the right way.

"I promise this team [the Canadiens] is going to be on board and everyone's going to be on the same page this year, and this is a small example of it. I've spoken to the coach many times, I've spoken to him since then, I've spoken to players on the team, and we're all on the same page. We're going to show that this year, that we're all on the same page, coaches, management, players.

"It's unfortunate something like that would be made up and catch fire and spread, but at the same time, it's going to bring all of us closer together if we handle it the right way."

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