McKenzie: Team Canada showing discipline early on

Bob McKenzie

12/28/2009 9:11:50 PM

Canada got off to a great start and it was a terrific performance by Brandon McMillan, who scored the hat-trick on the day.

I don't think Canada needs help against the Swiss but they got it in the form of an early break. Under international hockey rules, as soon as an offensive player skates into the crease, the referee is supposed to blow the whistle. Not only did McMillan skate into the crease before the game's first goal but the ensuing contact caused Swiss goaltender Benjamin Conz to lose his stick, making him look like a fish out of water.

However in the grand scheme of things, I'm sure it wouldn't make that much of a difference because Canada is executing at a very high level. It's not so much that the Swiss were a weak team, and certainly the score was not as lopsided as it was against Latvia, but with players like McMillan and Eberle on the first line, Canada's execution was terrific.

Canada has done extremely well in terms of discipline. Stefan Della-Rovere was last year's poster boy for undisciplined play by Team Canada and I thought he played well in terms of puck management as well as discipline and control. From start to finish, it was an outstanding effort by a player who was out on the edge last year. Keep in mind, the game was not on the edge like it was against the Americans last year when he got carried away so the true test for him and Team Canada has yet to come.

Canadian head coach Willie Desjardins wants to give up no more than four power play chances to the other team. There were two against Latvia and four against the Swiss so the discipline has been very good.