Monday, February 20, 2006

2006 Turin Winter Olympics
Men's hockey: Gretzky speaks

“It seems like this Olympic Games is even bigger and the pressure on this group seems to be even more enormous. They want to do so well.

“You can feel it in the locker-room. You can see it in their eyes. We need to loosen them up. We need to have some fun out there.

“At the end of the day it’s hockey. If you’re not enjoying the game and you’re not having fun it’s hard to make a five-foot pass.

“As we said today we need to get our guys re-energized and refocused on some of the things they need to do better as a team and yet then also understand that this should be the greatest week of their lives and just enjoy that.”

“What became alarming was last night ... at the beginning of the game, our emotional level was not at the level of the Finnish hockey club. They were better than we were in the first period. They dominated us in the first period.

“The Finns just looked like they were really enjoying the game and really just playing hard and letting the game come to them and that seemed to be difference. So what we’ve got to do is we’ve got to find a way to raise our intensity level and yet raise the enjoyment level.

“We need this young group now, they’ve got to step up. And I’m not trying to put extra pressure on them, we need these young guys to now take some pressure off the older guys.

“And that’s what happened in ’02.”

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