Drouin, Fucale expected back in Mooseheads lineup Friday: GM

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HALIFAX - Undoubtedly, the world junior hockey championship clearly illustrated that there is no shortage of top-notch up and coming talent.

Halifax Mooseheads netminder Zach Fucale.

Plenty of it isn’t only coming from Canada.

Sunday’s thrilling final between Finland and Sweden stood as a fitting finish for a memorable week and half of hockey.

“The championship game, that was one of the fastest games I’ve seen in a long time,” said Halifax Mooseheads general manager Cam Russell.

“We have to realize that, hey there are some really good hockey teams out there.”

For the second time in as many years, Team Canada was denied a medal, finishing fourth.

On Monday evening Zach Fucale, Team Canada’s starting goalie, and Jonathan Drouin, its No. 1 forward, returned to Halifax to carry on their lives with the Mooseheads. They’re expected to be back in the lineup for both weekend games at home.

“First of all they’re great competitors, they love hockey, they want to win and they’re coming back and I know they’ll be excited to be back here,” said Russell.

“I’m 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’s best junior hockey players and Jonathan was easily one of the best forwards for Team Canada every night.”

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’s been directed at Team Canada and its players.

“Anytime you put on a Canadian jersey there’s a ton of pressure. There are a lot of players in Canada who know the game, understand the game and have high expectations. That’s hockey. These guys have been subjected to this for a long time; they understand that’s part of it.

“As for the negativity, that’s the ugly side of it. It usually comes from the people who definitely couldn’t do what those guys have accomplished. I’m not worried about it.”

Now, it’s back to the business of hockey. With Tuesday’s trade deadline looming, Russell remains open to last minute moves.

“We are like every other team that is working hard to try to improve their team. We’ll 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’ll do it.”

Organizations: Team Canada

Geographic location: Canada, Finland, Sweden

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