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NHL Network personalities address Canadian plight

by Brian Duff
When it comes to opinions, everybody's got them.

And since you've heard enough of mine the last week or so as they pertain to Team Canada, I offer up some from my colleagues at the NHL Network.

Now, despite the fact these were made prior to Canada’s 8-2 dismantling of Germany, I felt they were important to share prior to the infinitely more compelling quarterfinal matchup vs. Russia.
Craig Button (former Calgary GM, and 1999 Stanley Cup winner with Dallas as Director of Player Personnel):
"My outlook is that it's now more difficult for them to win gold. Going through Russia and Sweden all the while playing an extra game is not a desired path.”

"In my opinion, they don't look quick. Why is that? Some players aren't quick but I think it is more about being a little tentative and not being quite sure.

"Is that a result of having not played together? It could be, but if they don't find cohesiveness in their play they will continue to be challenged.

"And they have to find a way to score. Enough of the comments about the 'goalie standing on his head.' Good teams, championship teams, gold medal winning teams find a way to score and solve a goalie. Teams that fall short talk about 'getting lots of shots' and facing a 'hot goalie.' Find a solution or go home empty handed. There is no in between here."
Gary Green (former OHL, NHL and Canadian National Team coach):
"There is nothing wrong with them. Canada has never 'gotten up' for the Swiss and I don't know why because Ralph Krueger has always had his team well prepared to play a sound defensive system vs. Canada and their goalie has always been very capable. And this goes back more than a decade now at all men's International Tournaments.

"As far as the US game, I'm not as hard on Marty Brodeur as others have been. Langenbrunner had a Holmstrom like screen on him with two of the goals. They outplayed the US 2 to 1 in every way. You can pick apart their power play but the end result was that Miller was heroic."
Mike Johnson (11 NHL seasons, 375 points):
"I think what is holding Canada back is that their leaders at each spot are not getting it done.

"They were out-goaltended in consecutive games. On defense, Scott Niedermayer, Chris Pronger and Dan Boyle have been their worst three.

"And up front, Crosby's line has been searching for continuity.

"When your top guys are struggling, it takes a while for the team to re-calibrate its dynamics."
Opinions from three people who've lived the game at three different positions.

We'll see if Canada can play three more games to change the opinions of a nation into positive ones.

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