Canada’s underdog World Junior team punished the Russians 5-0 to win the 2006 World Junior Championship. The younger and apparently less skilled team controlled the game after scoring the 1st fending off the early Russian attack and scoring the first goal. This year’s team was considered questionable to even make it to the final and their success surprised everyone.
How did they do it?
Goaltender Justin Pogge was stellar and the whole team played together as a unit under the coaching and instruction of Brent Sutter. Watching the game I actually forgot what it was like to have a team playing as a team and a goalie who stops pucks. I kept waiting for a weak goal or a total breakdown. I’ve been conditioned by watching Habs games that poor play is normal.
With all the Montreal Canadiens recent struggles, taking a look at a Championship team’s formula reveals what the Canadiens are lacking. A lot of people are now pointing the finger at Claude Julien but I don’t think you can hold him solely responsible. That being said, Brent Sutter as a coach managed to get an underdog under-experienced hockey team and make them Champions. Sutter did it with a powerhouse team in 2005 and now again with this team in 2006. He is 12-0 all time and obviously this is a coach who can take something and make it better. What could a coach like that do for the Canadiens? Or is it just the players themselves?
The Canadiens dropped another game in New Jersey 5-4. No surprise there, the Canadiens have won once in the Meadowlands in the last 20 something games. Theodore’s 5 allowed goals certainly took us out of it. What if Justin Pogge was in nets? Oh by the way, he’s a Leaf draft pick.