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Canada coach Cameron is a challenge

CameronLet's get it out here front and center: Especially since he changed goalies in midstream, I think Dave Cameron (left in red tie) has done a pretty good job navigating the minefield that is being the head coach in the pressure cooker of the Canadian national team. All that said, I'm pretty sick of dealing with Cameron and so are plenty of other reporters at the World Junior Championship.

Cameron, who coaches Mississauga in the Ontario Hockey League and has directed the AHL's Binghamton Senators, is condescending at times. He likes one-word answers at times. He's downright boring at times. 

Even basic inquiries can be shot down. He rarely makes eye contact and has clearly tired of certain inquiries, like the fans or Zack Kassian and Marcus Foligno playing in Buffalo. Too bad. You're here. Deal with it. I reached the breaking point today when I asked Cameron for his thoughts on the storied history of the Canada-Russia rivalry, and his refusal to offer a real answer created a somewhat silly back-and-forth between the two of us that amused plenty of others gathered around.

Someone asked Cameron his memories of the rivalry and the coach scoffed, "Doesn’t mean nothing to me. It’s winning the gold medal. I don’t care if it’s Russia or who it is."

I couldn't resist. It was go time. So I shot back, "So you have no real thoughts? Your kids don't know what Canada-Russia is but you have no real thoughts of all the history that's involved?"

"Do I?" (emphasis on the "I")

"Yeah."

"No, not really. Not as it pertains to this game coming forward."

"In general, do you have any thoughts on it?"

"I think it’s going to be a heck of a hockey game. I mean, it’s two great hockey nations."

"No, I mean just on the history of the whole thing. You're the coach of the Canadian national team. You have no thought on the history of the rivalry?"

"Oh I do but I'm not going to share it now because it’s nothing to do with my preparation for the game tomorrow. If you want to talk history after, come on over, I'll gladly discuss it and tell you what I think. But it has nothing to do with my team and getting ready. A lot of these guys, you can’t go back five, six years and mention hockey. They don’t know. So I'm not going to give them the history lesson now."

Grrrrr. We would have wasted less time if Cameron had simply said where he was the afternoon of Paul Henderson's famous Summit Series goal in 1972, which is something a major Toronto columnist told me afterward that every Canadian who was alive that September day remembers. Cameron, a Prince Edward Island native, would have been around age 13.

Click below for the audio of today's session with Cameron. Apologies for the volume. It was a huge scrum I was trying to get forward through and Cameron is a bit of a low-talker. The exchange above is after about 4 1/2 minutes.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Photo: Cameron instructs his players Sunday against Switzerland/John Hickey-Buffalo News.

Canada-USA postgame podcast

News Sports Reporters Mike Harrington, Miguel Rodriguez and Jay Skurski chat up Canada's dominant 4-1 win over Team USA Monday night in HSBC Arena.

Postgame audio: Coaches Cameron, Allain; USA goalie Campbell; Canada goalie Visentin; USA forward Brown

I escaped the crush of media members inside HSBC Arena with a few audio interviews that you can actually hear. Most of the interviews featured the muffled sounds of players drowned out by pushing and yelling media members, so I trust you don't want to hear all that.

The following is from Team USA goalie Jack Campbell, the only American who knew the game was tonight, and the coaches, Canada's Dave Cameron and Team USA's Keith Allain. Meanwhile, Miguel Rodriguez has audio of Canada goalie Mark Visentin and United States forward Chris Brown.

Jack Campbell

Coaches Dave Cameron (Canada) and Keith Allain (Team USA)

Mark Visentin

Chris Brown

---Jay Skurski

http://twitter.com/jayskurski

Live from the big one: USA vs. Canada

So it's not the gold medal game. Who cares? It's what everyone wanted. Team USA and Team Canada. The building is sold out and the place is electric. Stanley Cup final electric. I would expect 75 percent Canadian fans even though the Sabres are correctly treating this as an American home game by passing out flags and other red, white and blue items at the gate.

PA man Jay Moran made me chuckle when he greeted the Americans for warmups with a loud here-come-the-Sabres bellow and announced Canada as if "the NHL's Florida Panthers" were taking the ice. Of course, he got drowned out by the huge ovation for the boys from north of the border. 

There's nothing poetic I can really say to set this one up. There are dueling chants of "Ca-na-da, Ca-na-da" and "USA, USA" going on in different spots around the building. Lots of flags waving from both country. The story in the stands is going to be nearly as compelling as the one on the ice.

Let's get it on.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Canada starters: Hamilton-Schenn-Eakin-Cowan-Barrie. Goal: Visentin
USA starters: Morin-Bourque-Bjugstad-Ramage-Merrill. Goal: Campbell 

Third Period

9:18 p.m.: We're under way. 

14:30 left: It's a bad wireless night here with so many media in the house. It's still 3-0. Most noteworthy item to this point was Marcus Foligno crushing Brock Nelson just about over the boards into the Canada bench. Visentin with a couple good saves too.

13:58 left: That should just about do it. Kassian on a breakaway. Low to the stick side. Great hands. Sabres gotta put him here next year. Forget about Portland. Canada, 4-0.

12:34 left: Visentin with the great glove save on Chris Kreider. Crowd roars the grab.

9:10 left: It's 4-1 Canada. Chris Brown broke Visentin's shutout at 9:37. Terrible night in the press box with the wireless system. Apologies. Must be all those Canada fans using their smartphones.

6:34 left: Canada in control. Shots are 37-21.

It's over: Now that I was able to get back on the wireless system finally I can tell you Canada won 4-1 and had a 41-23 edge in shots. Canada plays Russia for gold Wednesday at 7:30. The US plays Sweden for bronze Wednesday at 3:30. I had that game as the gold medal matchup going into today. Whoops!

Second Period

8:25 p.m.: The puck is dropped.

17:27 left: A break for Team USA. Howden goes for high sticking Campbell in the head after the goalie had frozen a shot. First penalty of the night.

15:45 left: Best save of the night for Visentin, stoning Bjugstad from the slot on a rebound.

15:27 left: Just as Howden gets out of the box, Charlie Coyle takes a foolish high sticking penalty as the Americans are going up ice.

15:02 left: Bigger trouble for Team USA as Patrick Wey goes for hooking. Alert play by Kassian to give the U.S. the puck to allow the 5-on-3 to go for 1:36.

14:10 left: Campbell stones Hamilton's pair of whacks after great work down low by Kassian, who is an absolute beast and will really help the Sabres next year.

14:01 left: Ryan Johansen jumps on a rebound, a tap-in of Ellis' point shot. Canada leads, 3-0.

9:02 left: Campbell making saves all over. Robbed Couturier on a breakaway after a blatant giveaway by Bourque. Shots are 25-11. The Canadian fans are chanting "This is our house" and rightly so. If this were boxing, it's nearly a TKO. Almost ready to be stopped.

3:42 left: This baby if flying with few whistles. US to the power play as Calvin de Haan goes for Canada on a ticky-tack slashing call.

2:53 left: Sensational save by Visentin to spear a Coyle tip from the edge of the crease.

End-2nd: After a wireless outage, I can tell you it's 3-0 and shots are 28-15 and there was another big ovation to end the period. Gotta pound print story for a bit.

First Period

7:38: The puck is dropped.

17:22 left: First two shots of the game and Canada has a 1-0 lead. Cody Eakin finds Curtis Hamilton alone in front. Hamilton is stopped by Campbell but taps his own rebound into the net and does a Lambeau Leap into the glass. Canada, 1-0.

15:23 left: Huge save by Campbell on Couturier, breaking down the left wing on a 2-on-1.

14:07 left: Not much chance to say much when there's no whistles. Shots are 4-1 for Canada. Good hitting on both sides but the crowd is so far and away in favor of Canada that it feels like we're in Toronto. No surprise at all.

11:53 left: Canada's size really bothering the Americans. Quinton Howden crushed Brock Nelson and Jerry D'Amigo with big hits in about a 10-second span.

11:37 left: Campbell with a strong glove save on Hamilton. Shots are 5-1.

9:41 left: Americans finally starting to bang back. Bjugstad crushed de Haan with Team USA's best check of the night and some Canadian forwards got pushed away from Campbell after he froze the puck.

7:39 left: Visentin's best save is a glove stop on Chris Krieder. He's shaky with the glove, still stabbing at the puck, but hasn't been challenged much yet. Shots are 9-4.

6:06 left: Canada takes a 2-0 lead as Howden tips home a perfect pass from the right wing from Brett Connolly after beating Ramage down the slot. Big trouble for Team USA, which is getting beat to the puck and completely outworked in this period.

2:33 left: Kassian loses the puck off his stick in the slot just when he's going to uncork one on a 3-on-2. The ice looks bad and it looks like it got the Sabres draftee there. HUGE chance for a third goal.

End-1st: Canada gets a roaring standing ovation as it heads to the locker room with a 2-0 lead and a 12-5 edge in shots on goal. USA had only one real scoring chance, a tip from the slot by Ryan Bourque with 52 seconds left in the period that went wide. Total domination in the stands and on the ice so far.

Live: Sweden/Russia

Shootout:

RUSSIA WINS. Golubev scores and Sweden's final shot hits the post. WOW 4-3.

Overtime:

10:00 left: Sudden death. Here we go.

8:18: Johan Larsson of Sweden rips a shot from the right circle that's gloved by Shikin. Russian goalie has 44 saves today.

6:40: Swedes are teeing off. Cehlin just whizzed through the Russian defense in close but fired wide left.

5:07: Russia's Tarasenko tries splitting the Sweden defense and dives/trips. Fans wanted a penalty.

1:30: (Read above) Russia not getting many legit chances.

0:17: Looks like we're heading toward a shootout. Faceoff to Shikin's right coming. Sweden calls timeout to discuss. Maybe we'll get one more shot on net. Sweden has 48 so far.

0:00: Shot fired wide. Here we go...

SIDE NOTE: SABRES CONFIRM SELLOUT OF USA/CANADA GAME

Third Period:

We're a few minutes away from the start of the third. Just asked the guys here for some predictions. Mike says, Sweden will win 3-2. Miguel says, "Pain." I'll take Sweden in a shootout.

5:14 p.m.: Puck drop

19:01 left: Russia blows a big chance there. Puck bounces off Lehner to Dmitri Orlov and he can't finish it.

18:40: GOAL, Sweden. Game on. Larsson makes another outstanding play. The defenseman backhands a clear toward the net and Calle Jarnkrok taps it in. 2-2.

13:43: Russia's Valuiski breaks free untouched toward Lehner, dekes and cannot finish. His shot slips through the goalie's legs, to the left.

7:57: Neither team pressing too much, though Sweden keeps a steady forecheck going. Shots are in the Swedes' favor, 39-28. Since that timeout, they've really woken up.

6:47: Sweden keeps play in Russia's end. One shift, players cycled at will through the Russian zone.

6:04: Fasth strongarms his way to the net and gets a shot on Shikin, who quickly covers it up.

3:52: That's Overofficiating 101. Russia's Orlov taps his stick into a Sweden player and gets called for slashing. Looked like a stretch from up here. Could be the difference in the game. Fans here are booing.

3:19: GOAL, Sweden. With a teammate screening the goalie, Patrick Cehlin unleashes a hard shot from the point. Great execution. 3-2, Sweden. Hard to see a semifinal game come down to a ticky-tack penalty. Russia cannot be happy.

1:27: GOAL, Russia. Wow. Mad scramble in front of the net and a Russian Sergei Kalinin buries it. 3-3.

0:30: Faceoff coming to Shikin's right.

0:00: That's it for regulation. We're heading to overtime. Sweden is outshooting Russia, 44-30, but Russians pull through late to stay alive. All these Canada fans here are getting their money worth --- they're rooting hard for Russia.

Second Period:

4:27 p.m.: Puck drop

18:05 left: Penalty on Russia's Anton Burdasov. Big chance for Sweden to take momentum.

16:13: Solid kill by the Russians. Sweden can't generate anything on its PP. Lindberg fans on a shot in the slot and Russia puts a scare in the Swedes with a rush that took a nice breakup by top '11 prospect Adam Larsson to stop.

SIDE NOTE: Be sure to check out Mike Harrington's preview of Team USA's semifinal showdown against Canada right here.

13:48: Sweden has lead in shots, 18-13, but Russia has control of the game's tempo. They're funneling the Swedes where they want and creating some great scoring chances. 

13:21: A couple fans in Soviet Union gear are shown on the big screen. I think everyone here was a tad creeped out by that.

12:51: GOAL, Russia. A puck ricochets off the back wall to Denis Golubev, who easily stuffs it away. Controversial, though. Sweden thought icing should have been called. Nonetheless, an absolute huge goal for the Russians considering the way goali Dmitri Shikin (20 saves) has been playing. 2-0, Russia.

9:12: Another great save by Shikin. Just stomached a hard slapper from the left circle. It's 2-0 but feels like 5-0 with the way he's playing. The Swedes look slow, lethargic.

7:48: Media timeout. Swedes are huddled up.

3:56: Still, 2-0. Sweden needs a goal bad.

3:41: Tim Erixon of Sweden has a slapper from the point hit the post. Ouch.

2:01: Puck trickles out to Adam Larsson and the Swede defenseman absolutely rips it to put his team on board. Huge momentum boost. Russia leads, 2-1.

0:52: Penalty on Sweden's Lander for holding the stick. And he's not happy. The forward screams to someone before stepping into the box.

0:00: End of the Second. 2-1, Russia. But Sweden came alive at the end of period on Larsson's tally. We're in for a great finish here.

First Period:

3:38 p.m.: The puck has dropped.

17:57 left: Patrick Cehlin, Sweden's best offensive threat, tries to jam in a puck at the doorstep but is denied by Dmitri Shikin. Great stop early.

16:34: Slow start. These two teams are feeling each other out so far. Some horseplay after a play there. Like we said here, these guys do not like each other. In other news, just spotted one Canadian fan I met yesterday. Dude drove 27 hours to watch Team Canada in Saskatoon last year. Crazy or devoted? You make the call.

13:46: Best chance of the night for Russia so far there courtesy of Vladimir Tarasenko. The forward uncorked a hard lefty wrister that Sweden's Robin Lehner absorbed in the face.

13:23: GOAL, Russia. Tarasenko strikes. Gliding in from the left side, he flipped the puck inside Lehner's short side. Looks like Lehner may have been expecting Tarasenko to try a wraparound. Instead, the Russians grab an early 1-0 lead. Tarasenko throws his body into the glass in celebration.

12:14: Acrobatic save by Shikin. Russia's goal gives up a juicy rebound to Sweden's Johan Larsson, who appears to have a WIDE open net. Hurling his body right, Shikin slams the door shut.

5:43: Russia's on the PP. Hooking penalty on Simon Bertilsson. Offical really, really wanted to signal a penalty shot but paused just couldn't. Meanwhile, an older man sleeping is shown on the Jumbo Tron.

 4:27: Tarasenko corrals a rebound and has a ton of net but Lehner wings his left glove over just in time for an incredible save. Immediately, the Swedes storm the other direction with a 2-on-1 chance. Shikin makes the stop. 

0:31: Some Allen Iverson stuff there from Sweden's Fasth. He completely juked out a Russian defenseman and sent a clearing pass to the right side. One problem. Nobody home for the tap-in. Still, 1-0. 

0:00: Apologies. Internet crashed here some 10-15 minutes ago. Back up and running. Very strong period for the Russians. Tarasenko and Shikin were the best players on the ice. The goalie Shikin has such a knack for knowing precisely where his rebounds are bouncing to and Tarasenko is all over the place. The Lightning prospect has such a feel for the game and can strike in an instant.

Should be a wild second period. I'd expect the Swedes to play a little more loose.

-----

And away we go. The lights have dimmed as we're a few moments from the puck dropping on the World Juniors semifinals where Sweden takes on Russia.

In case you missed it, the Russians won in dramatic fashion to advance last night. The Swedes, meanwhile, have arguably been the most impressive team in the tournament. They shocked Canada and have ripped through their competition elsewhere.

Of course, Sweden and Russia are familiar with each other. Last week, a desperate Russian team tried its best to intimidate the speedy Swedes and failed, 2-0. Like the makeup of Sweden a lot. They're not merely a finesse team. They'll hit you. I was really surprised by the hatred between these two countries in their preliminary matchup. Scuffles broke out all night between plays as officials took on the role of Mills Lane constantly.

There's a strong pocket of yellow jerseys in section 102, but this place is mostly occupied by the Canadian faithful so far. Should be a great appetizer before the grand daddy matchup at 7:30 p.m. Stay tuned right here.

---Tyler Dunne

Audio: Team Canada meets the media

Unlike Team USA, Team Canada did not work out today. The players met at HSBC Arena and then returned to their headquarters at the Embassy Suites on Delaware Avenue to meet the media. Coach Dave Cameron was his typical closed-mouth, say-little self. Captain Ryan Ellis took umbrage at my questions about how tight the Canadians were yesterday against Switzerland (memo to the captain: the game was tied for 37 minutes and your fans were scared to death) and defenseman Erik Gudbranson tried to say it's just another hockey game.

Yeah, right.

The Americans are laughing at the way Canada is taking the underdog role here. And while I think Team USA is the better team, most of the fans here tonight will be rooting for Canada and it will just about be cause for national mourning if the boys from north of the border lose to the Americans again.

Here's a listen at what was said by Team Canada today at the noon hour.

Dave Cameron

Ryan Ellis

Erik Gudbranson

Marcus Foligno

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Audio: Team USA talks about showdown with Canada

It was safe for members of Team USA to answer the question the media has been hounding them with for more than a week - the inevitable showdown against Canada.

Tonight is the night and here's what coach Keith Allain, captain John Ramage and alternate captain Ryan Bourque had to say.

Keith Allain

Ryan Bourque

John Ramage

---Miguel Rodriguez

Audio: Sweden coach Roger Ronnberg

Here is audio from Sweden coach Roger Ronnberg,  where he discusses the team's face-off success, intensity during his squad's optional pre-game skate and clarifies comments from Friday's post-game press conference following the win over Canada.

---Miguel Rodriguez

Audio: Kassian talks about his return and win over Switzerland

Here is audio of Sabres prospect Zack Kassian discussing his return to Team Canada's lineup following a two-game suspension for the hit that KO'd a Czech Republic defenseman last Tuesday. He had a goal and was a force down low in the 4-1 quarterfinal win over Switzerland on Sunday.

---Miguel Rodriguez

Live: Finland vs. Russia

We're here at HSBC Arena for the last game of the quarterfinals between the Finns and the Russians with the winner getting Sweden at 3:30 p.m. Monday. Should be interesting to see how Finns perform here against a long-time rival. Finns have whipped everyone since losing to U.S. in overtime last Sunday. Russia, which played in the tougher Group with Sweden and Canada, found its offense in wins over Norway and the Czech Republic.

Overtime

9:57 p.m.: Puck drop.

7:37 left: Valtteri Virkunen stopped by Shikin.

5:44: Fine left pad save Ortio on hard shot from point by Dmitri Orlov through traffic.

3:16: Kuznetsov ends it with a writer that beats Ortio high after Kitsyn wins battle in corner and gets pass out to Kuznetsov in right circle. Celebrates with Maxim Afinogenov belly flop.

Final, Russia 4-3.

Third period

9:15 p.m.: Puck drop, with Finns having two-man advantage for 1:24.

17:36: Finns finally cash in on power play as Joonas Donskoi fires in rebound of his own shot after nice feed off wide rush by Teemu Pulkkinen. Finns lead, 3-1.

3:41: Russia makes it interesting with a power-play goal as Yevgeni Kuzentsov jams in the rebound after being intially stopped on shot while driving to the net from the corner. Finland leads, 3-2.

1:38: Mother Russia strikes again. Kitsyn puts in a rebound after Kuzentsov is stopped by Ortio after splitting the Finnish defense for the one-on-one chance. Tied, 3-3.

End of third: Tied 3-3. Shots 40-35 Russia. Ten minute sudden death overtime period. If no one scores then its on to the shootout. Oh joy.

Second period

8:25 p.m.: Puck drop.

17:33 left: Finns just kill off Russian power play. Russia had a couple chances, the biggie a blast from the top of the faceoff circle by Semyon Valuiski that was stopped and held by Ortio.

17:00: Finns get power play chance now.

15:00: Fine passing display but looking for perfect chance and didn't get it. Shooting the puck is never a bad idea.

13:56: Some 4-on-4 play for two minutes.

12:20: First real good chance with extra room by either team as Finland's Erik Haula rings one off the pipe.

6:40: Russia hits the post as shot by Denis Golubev is deflected off the iron by Valuiski.

5:49: Toni Rajala blasts one wide on the doorstep for Finns. Shots are 21-20 Russia.

2:34: Eleven seconds after Finn goalie Joni Ortio robs Maxim Kitsyn twice on the doorstep, Finland goes the other way and scores, a goal by Julius Junttila on a semi breakaway, top shelf stick side. Finland leads, 2-1.

1:59: Ortio beats Stanislav Bocharov, who was all alone point blank range between the hash marks and had the shot eaten up by an aggressive save. 

End of second: Russia outshoots Finns 12-8 in period but got outscored 1-0. Shots for game, 25-25. Finns will have 2-man advantage for 1:24 to start third period. Chance to pull away. Ortio is playing like a man between the pipes for Finns.

First period

7:39 p.m.: Puck drop.

18:14 left: Mikka Salomaki has a chance denied by Russian goalie Dmitri Shikin.

16:34: Finland goalie Joni Ortio's turn to get into the saving act as he denies quality chance by Semyon Valuiski.

12:31: Toni Rajala fires wide on a 2-on-1 for the Finns.

10:20: Iiro Pakarinen is denied twice by Shinkin on the doorstep.

9:50: Russia lights the lamp. Yuri Urychev shot from the point tipped in by a Finn defenseman. Russia leads, 1-0.

7:28: Finland scores, we get the Sabres' horn and cheers. Teemu Pulkkinen stuffs in feed from behind the net from Iiro Pakarinen, who collected the rebound of a shot near the crease and skated around the goal. Tied, 1-1.

6:25: Finns have gotten some chances but haven't cashed, either firing wide or being stopped by Shikin. We'll find out as the game goes on if that winds up being costly.

5:21: Nice stop on short side by Ortio on feed from behind net to keep it tied.

End of first: We are tied at 1-1. Finland holds 17-13 edge in shots. Dmitri Shikin, who played well in a 2-0 loss earlier in the tournament, is giving Russia a chance, making several quality stops. Ortio has looked rather calm between pipes for Finns.

---Miguel Rodriguez

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