Detroit Red Wings
Clear Bag Policy Follow @DetroitRedWings on Twitter! Follow the Red Wings on Facebook! Follow @DetroitRedWings on Instagram! Follow OfficialDRW on Snapchat! Get Red Wings Email Updates Get Red Wings Text Updates Get the Detroit Red Wings Official Mobile App

  • RSS

Yzerman over Russia, focused on Slovakia

Thursday, 02.25.2010 / 7:42 PM ET / News
By Dan Rosen
Share with your Friends

Yzerman over Russia, focused on Slovakia
VANCOUVER -- It's the morning after Canada's biggest and most important win in the Olympics since 2002, and Steve Yzerman already has moved on.

That's how things work in a one-and-done tournament when the prize remains a couple of games away.

"Now we have, yeah," Team Canada's executive director told Thursday morning. "You feel good about the game last night, our players do, but then you get up and meet with the coaches and they are already in preparation for Slovakia, so you just don't have a lot of time. It's much like a playoff series -- you feel good about the last game and wake up the next morning and start to get ready for the next game."

The next game is Friday (9:30 p.m. EST/6:30 p.m. PST, NBC, CTV) in the semifinals against Slovakia. The Slovaks upset Sweden 4-3 just hours after Canada crushed Russia 7-3.

Sweden would have been a more familiar opponent for Team Canada coach Mike Babcock, considering he'd be coaching against four of his own players from the Detroit Red Wings, but Canada isn't like the rest of the hockey world that is surprised by Slovakia.

The Canadians know their opponent well and have been following them closely.

"There is a lot of familiarity," Yzerman said. "(Branko) Radivojevic, (Zigmund) Palffy, (Richard) Zednik -- all those guys that used to play in the NHL we know very well. And obviously (Zdeno) Chara, (Marian) Hossa, (Marian) Gaborik, etc. They have been in the NHL a long time so we know those players. The majority of hockey fans know those guys, too. They are not unfamiliar to us. You can't say you don't know this guy and that guy. They're good and we've been watching them."

More important, Yzerman has been watching his own team improve on a game-to-game basis. He tried to make everyone believe that was happening Monday, roughly 24 hours after the U.S. struck fear into Canada with a 5-3 victory.

After seeing Canada siphon all the gas out of the Russian machine Wednesday, Yzerman's words are ringing true.

"It's much easier, I think, to be on the inside with the team and in the locker room because the coaches see what's going on and gauge the atmosphere of the team, where you're going and what you're trying to accomplish," Yzerman said. "Everyone watching is like, 'Oh my God, they lost.' You feel like the world has come to an end. But we have all been at this for a long time, playing in these tournaments, and you just can't get discouraged. You have to analyze each game for what it is.

"(Wednesday) night, as good as things were, there are things we have to improve upon for the next game. Now that we're in the elimination phase it's a little bit different because you have to win, but that's the way it is. You win a game and everything is great, but you lose and the world comes to an end. For the players and coaches, they know you just keep moving on."

The same holds true for Slovakia. Yzerman, for one, is not about to take the surprise semifinalists lightly -- nor is he buying into the argument that Slovakia has nothing to lose in Friday's semifinal.

"They want to win a gold medal, too, and they are in a position that if they win two games they get to win a gold medal," he said. "It's not like if they lose the game they are going to be happy. We've all got something to lose. They have beaten Russia and Sweden, two of the favorites for gold, so they are a very good team." 

With the Canada's focus squarely on Slovakia, the celebration after steamrolling Russia seems like it happened in another decade.

"The desperation increases," Yzerman said. "Every game gets tougher as the importance of the game grows."




1 MTL 24 18 4 2 85 52 38
2 NYR 24 16 6 2 69 49 34
3 WSH 22 16 5 1 70 49 33
4 OTT 22 12 5 5 70 61 29
5 BOS 22 13 8 1 72 64 27
6 PIT 22 13 8 1 49 51 27
7 DET 23 12 8 3 55 58 27
8 NYI 23 11 8 4 64 55 26
9 TBL 24 11 10 3 56 53 25
10 NJD 22 11 9 2 51 53 24
11 PHI 24 9 10 5 44 64 23
12 FLA 22 9 9 4 56 57 22
13 BUF 23 9 12 2 49 60 20
14 CAR 23 8 11 4 47 65 20
15 CBJ 24 10 14 0 59 73 20
16 TOR 22 7 10 5 49 58 19


H. Zetterberg 23 4 16 0 20
D. Larkin 23 9 8 13 17
T. Tatar 23 8 9 0 17
G. Nyquist 23 8 6 0 14
J. Abdelkader 23 5 7 -3 12
T. Pulkkinen 22 6 5 2 11
N. Kronwall 23 1 7 -7 8
M. Green 17 1 7 -5 8
R. Sheahan 23 3 3 -5 6
J. Kindl 17 2 3 3 5
P. Mrazek 6 4 2 .931 2.21
J. Howard 6 4 1 .914 2.40 is the official Web site of the Detroit Red Wings. Detroit Red Wings and are trademarks of the Detroit Red Wings. NHL, the NHL Shield and the word mark NHL Winter Classic are registered trademarks and Original Six is a trademark of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 Detroit Red Wings and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.
© NHL 2015. All Rights Reserved.

Advertise/SponsorshipsOlympia Entertainment | Code of Conduct | Privacy Policy | AdChoices | Employment | Contact Us | Terms of Use | Site Map