HALIFAX - Undoubtedly, the world junior hockey championship clearly illustrated that there is no shortage of top-notch up and coming talent.
© Metro Halifax/Jeff Harper
Halifax Mooseheads netminder Zach Fucale.
Plenty of it isn‚Äôt only coming from Canada.
Sunday‚Äôs thrilling final between Finland and Sweden stood as a fitting finish for a memorable week and half of hockey.
‚ÄúThe championship game, that was one of the fastest games I‚Äôve seen in a long time,‚ÄĚ said Halifax Mooseheads general manager Cam Russell.
‚ÄúWe have to realize that, hey there are some really good hockey teams out there.‚ÄĚ
For the second time in as many years, Team Canada was denied a medal, finishing fourth.
On Monday evening Zach Fucale, Team Canada‚Äôs starting goalie, and Jonathan Drouin, its No. 1 forward, returned to Halifax to carry on their lives with the Mooseheads. They‚Äôre expected to be back in the lineup for both weekend games at home.
‚ÄúFirst of all they‚Äôre great competitors, they love hockey, they want to win and they‚Äôre coming back and I know they‚Äôll be excited to be back here,‚ÄĚ said Russell.
‚ÄúI‚Äôm proud of what both those guys did. They handled themselves professionally; they played with fire. Fucale at 18 years old played great against the world‚Äôs best junior hockey players and Jonathan was easily one of the best forwards for Team Canada every night.‚ÄĚ
No doubt, the pain of defeat and unfilled expectation will be difficult for the pair to get over. But, Russell believes neither player pays much heed to the heavy and sometimes malicious criticism that‚Äôs been directed at Team Canada and its players.
‚ÄúAnytime you put on a Canadian jersey there‚Äôs a ton of pressure. There are a lot of players in Canada who know the game, understand the game and have high expectations. That‚Äôs hockey. These guys have been subjected to this for a long time; they understand that‚Äôs part of it.
‚ÄúAs for the negativity, that‚Äôs the ugly side of it. It usually comes from the people who definitely couldn‚Äôt do what those guys have accomplished. I‚Äôm not worried about it.‚ÄĚ
Now, it‚Äôs back to the business of hockey. With Tuesday‚Äôs trade deadline looming, Russell remains open to last minute moves.
‚ÄúWe are like every other team that is working hard to try to improve their team. We‚Äôll do it if it makes sense for our organization. I like the team we have, if we can improve it for the right price we‚Äôll do it.‚ÄĚ