On March 28, after a 2-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks, Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli had some news for Cam Talbot regarding the 2016 IIHF World Championship in Russia.
"I was feeling kind of down after the loss and he gave me a tap on the pad and said, 'Team Canada wants you to play for them. Let me know in a couple days.' and I said, 'I'll tell you right now the answer is yes,’” explained the 28-year-old who had never represented his home country at an international tournament. "It was a special moment for me and it's definitely an honour to be able to put on the Canadian jersey and be a part of this tournament."
In five games at the World Championship, Talbot has four wins, two shutouts and a 1.40 goals against average.
"Since probably the last 50 games in Edmonton, Cam has been awesome and he's such a different goalie than when I saw him at training camp last year and it's go great to see," said teammate Taylor Hall. "I'm happy for us here to have some great goaltending, but it's also great for our future in Edmonton."
For Talbot the tournament offers the opportunity to win a gold medal, but also experience he couldn't get elsewhere.
"It's an international tournament with some of the best players in the world on the big ice and you learn a little bit more about staying patient," he explained.
"There's more room out there and, with a lot of skilled players that can make plays with the puck, you have to be better with your reads and adapt quickly. These are all things I can take back to Edmonton for next season."
|Talbot and Canadian teammate Connor McDavid pose for a photo after a World Championship game. Photo by IIHF Images. |
When asked how he's seen Talbot improve, Hall said: "He just looks so much more comfortable in net and he looks so much bigger, whether it's positioning or something else, he takes up a lot more net than I remember seeing in training camp. He's definitely doing something right."
As Canada prepares to face Sweden in the quarter finals on Thursday (TSN, 11 a.m. MDT), Talbot is enjoying sharing this experience with Hall and fellow Oilers teammate Connor McDavid and hopes to come home with a gold medal.
"Coming here and not knowing anyone on the team, it's been nice to have a few friendly faces in the room and of course being able to play with Connor and Hallsy a little bit longer, they're obviously two very special players," he said. "It's fun to share this experience with them and it'd be even better to win it all together."