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September 27, 2016

Ralph Krueger

Toronto, Ontario

Team Canada 3
Team Europe ‑ 1

Q. It seemed like that was the best game you guys have played this tournament, and to not come out on the winning end, how do you handle that in the second game? And what were your overall thoughts of the game?
RALPH KRUEGER: Overall, I agree with the players. I think if you cut the goals out of the videos, there's an even chance opportunity here for us with Canada, which we're proud of that effort, and the creation of it, but we're very frustrated, of course, with what and how we gave up the goals we did. Just a little bit too much risk at the wrong times and the power of Canada is that, to take opportunities and jam them into the net.
I think what we can take out of this is a lot of courage that we played a strong game, that we had a lot of opportunity that we didn't make enough out of. I thought we could have tested Price a lot more with the chances we had, and some of them just died on our own sticks.
But, again, the effort was there. Very proud of how we came in and how we stuck into this game, and we made it a game where we can take confidence into the fact that we can win against Team Canada, but it has to be perfect, and it certainly wasn't today in every aspect. But lots of good things there, lots of effort, and something to build on for Game 2 for sure.

Q. Less than halfway through the game, you guys had 23 shots, so you were on track for almost 50 shots, and then after that you had a stretch of seven minutes, I think, with no shots. Do you think Canada has an ability to sort of flick a switch and lock it down when it wants to, and how do you overcome that?
RALPH KRUEGER: Well, yeah, there was a dry spell there, but some of that was also, as I just mentioned, giving up opportunities to bring the puck to the net to try and create second opportunities that come off of good shots to the net.
At the same time, we all know the strengths of the Canadian team, and we have a lot of respect for the potential in that group. They did tighten up for a while there, but I thought once we had them 2‑1, there was opportunity to bring this game even. And yeah, we had a lull there, you're right, for a stretch. I thought we got stuck out a couple of times. We ended up with some tired D on long shifts in the second period over a minute, and that catches up to you for a few shifts onwards as you're trying to recover.
So I think that was‑‑ the weakest part of our game was that little stretch in the second, but I liked a lot of the first and a lot of the third and pieces of the second, so we've got to build on that, and we definitely, definitely need to get our power play firing, which has been our Achilles heel here offensively.

Q. We've spoke a lot about momentum going into this game. How did the mood shift after tonight's performance, and what were your words to your team after the game?
RALPH KRUEGER: Well, we've done well with adversity in this month. We've had a few situations of it, and I think knowing these players, this will give us more fuel for Game 2, and we'll come out of this stronger. Again, we're here to continue to grow and to learn and evolve, and we're very angry right now, which is a good thing. But we also are confident with what we felt today, and it makes us that much more frustrated at the moment.
I'm sure we're going to come out fighting very strong in Game 2.

Q. You just mentioned the anger factor. How do you balance going forward tomorrow with the positive reinforcement from what you saw tonight and also kind of reminding them that taking any sort of moral victories from tonight isn't going to count for much in an elimination game?
RALPH KRUEGER: No, we all know this is the final series and also that it's the best of three, and what order you win the two games in is irrelevant. I think we just have a group that understands the opportunity that we're in and that we've created with a lot of hard work. You know, togetherness actually. This will pull us together even that much tighter, I think. That's what I feel out of this group and in the room right now.
Get a good sleep, get a good meal, and we'll find ways to confirm what we need to do, but at the same time, we've always been speaking about where we can get better, and we'll look at that tomorrow in the morning and then start building toward Game 2.

Q. I think all the way back from the Washington game against Sweden, you've had just a ton of odd man rushes in every single game. You're probably leading the tournament in that category. Would you try to explain in hockey terms what allows you to do that?
RALPH KRUEGER: On the offensive side, I hope.

Q. Exactly.
RALPH KRUEGER: I mean, I just think it's a real commitment to defense. Today we out‑takeawayed Canada, which is one of the places that Canada is the best in the world at, and takeaways are just a sign of persistence and hunger on the checking side of the game.
We're a good checking team. Everybody is involved. Our forwards are working so hard back, and a lot of those takeaways are creating transition opportunities, and that's our weakness right now is taking opportunity of those. If I look at Canada and the transitions and odd man rushes they had and the ones we had and what came out of it, that's where we need to improve. So it's certainly coming out of our defense, and the quickness of the group as a whole, and some of our forwards, of course, have really good speed. It's now finishing those that we need to do in Game 2, so we're expecting odd man rushes again, but we need to marry them.

Q. Defensemen scored quite a few goals at this tournament, 8 of 76, and also not so good game in power play, not only your team but in all the tournament. How can you explain this trend and how do you think they're interconnected?
RALPH KRUEGER: Well, I think on the defensemen, just the general defensive commitment here at a tournament of best‑on‑best is very high from players that might not be doing it all the time. In their club teams they might have other linemates or partners who do more of the dirty work and the defense, and here the willingness of these best players to do what it takes to win is putting players in shot lanes that they're committed to, unbelievable shot blocking going on here. It's difficult for defensemen to get pucks through, and the penalty killing commitment is so high. I think we've got about a 7 percent power play ratio right here through all the teams at the tournament combined.
And again, it's the understanding of what it takes to win at a best‑on‑best tournament. It's not necessarily always pretty, but you've got all of Team Canada's players playing excellent defense and working hard away from the puck. So those factors, I think, are coming into play here.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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