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Team Canada stresses team chemistry

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SOCHI, Russia — Jeff Carter looked down at the Maple Leaf on his chest and smiled when asked whether he and the rest of the NHL mercenaries now tied together as Team Canada had put bad blood aside for the good of their nation in hockey.

"We’ve stopped using the bad names we use for one another when play for different teams in the NHL and started using nicknames," said Carter."We’re here to play for Canada and we’ve started to bond. It feels really good."

Canada coach Mike Babcock put his team through a brisk morning skate and then sent them on their way to eat and get rest before their tournament opener against Norway.

"We don’t want them thinking tonight, we want them playing tonight. We’ll fix our problems (Friday). We’re just going to be a work in progress and we’ll go from there," said Babcock. "Everybody’s concerns in life are a little bit different, every position is different. To me, we’ve got real good players and we’ve got to get our real good players to become part of a structure so that we can play fast together."

Babcock announced that defenceman and reigning Norris Trophy winner P.K. Subban would be a scratch as would forward Matt Duchene. Babcock added they would play Friday against Austria.

Carter is set to play on a line with a pair of players from the Pittsburgh Penguins, centre Sidney Crosby and left wing Chris Kunitz.

"I’m not too worried about chemistry," said Carter. "Everyone knows what Sid can do and Kunitz digs up the puck and goes to the net. My job is clear, when I get the puck, put it on net."

Babcock says he doesn’t want a repeat of 2010 when it took Team Canada half a game to find its stride.

"That’s sure not we want. We want to start on time and get after it right from the get-go. These games are all different, I can’t predict that. I just know we’re going to prepare our group and we’re going to come out and put our foot on the gas," he said. "We’re playing a team (Norway) that plays very hard, very connected five together. They’re going to come after us, and we’re going to go after them."

 

gary.lawless@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @garylawless

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