Canucks share thoughts about Team Canada 2000

Originally published on IHWC.NET in 2000

By Lucas Aykroyd

Few NHL teams were more generous in sending players to the 2000 IIHF World Championships than the Vancouver Canucks. Team Canada was a prime beneficiary. Defensemen Ed Jovanovski and Adrian Aucoin (now with the Tampa Bay Lightning) plus forwards Todd Bertuzzi, Peter Schaefer and Brendan Morrison all made the trek to St. Petersburg to represent their country.

Even though Canada finished a disappointing fourth with consecutive losses to the Czech Republic and Finland, these players wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

Bertuzzi led Canada in scoring with nine points (5-4-9) in nine games, including a hat trick against Japan. His tough, chippy presence was reflected in his 47 penalty minutes. Aucoin was an offensive stalwart on defense (3-3-6). And while Jovanovski, Morrison and Schaefer didn’t light it up on the scoreboard, it’s fair to speculate that this experience on the international stage contributed to the breakthrough seasons all three enjoyed with the Canucks this year.

“It’s a totally different game over there,” Jovanovski told IHWC.NET recently. “Any time you go to Europe, the ice surface, being the size that it is, gives smaller guys opportunities to skate around and be creative. But for a big guy, it’s tough to maneuver and play your game out there.

“I’ve played in a couple of international tournaments before. It’s always tough to go out there against guys who are so skilled and so elite. You have to be in good position all the time to be successful.”

Asked if he had any advice for players joining Team Canada this year, Bertuzzi said: “Have fun with it. It’s a good learning experience. Once in a while, they change things up and throw some young guys in. It’s an experience in itself. Just go over there and have fun playing.”

“Playing against the best players from all different countries was a great experience for me as a young guy,” said Peter Schaefer. “It was an eye-opener going over to Russia and seeing a different way of living over there. I also enjoyed the opportunity to learn from a lot of great players.”

Perhaps Brendan Morrison summed it up best: “It’s an honor to play for your country. There’s no question about it. If the chance to play at the World Championships ever came along again, I’d seriously look at it.” Digg it Furl iFeedReaders Netscape RawSugar reddit StumbleUpon Yahoo MyWeb YardBarker

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