PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 5: Canada's Wayne Simmonds #17 celebrates after his teammate Mike Matheson #19 (not shown) scores while Czech Republic's Petr Mrazek #34 looks on during preliminary round action at the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. (Photo by Matt Zambonin/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Canada forward ready to take next step
The 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship marks Wayne Simmonds' second chance to represent Canada at the senior level. He's hoping it will work out well.
When he represented Team Canada in 2013, they finished fifth in the tournament and a result that for Simmonds was disappointing.
“There is a big difference for me between that year and where we are now,” Simmonds said of his experience. “We lost in this game to Sweden in a shootout. I came in with that in mind and wanting to continue the tradition of winning. We know we have a strong opponent in Russia and we want to be ready for that.”
Canada is a game away from going its third straight final. But before that, Canada faces a formidable Russian team that has plenty of offensive weapons to test out here at LANXESS arena. Indeed, the Russians have a potent goal scoring machine and probably the best in the tournament.
Despite coming in with the second leading offence in the tournament with 32 goals, Canada managed to hang on for a 2-1 quarter-final win over the host team Germany. It was enough to push them through a determined German side and its passionate home fans.
“We wanted to keep pushing ahead,” he said of their quarter-final contest on Thursday. “Germany had a good team and their goalie was great. Tried to get convergence and put pucks in the net.”
As with many players who are called to represent their country at a tournament such as the World Championship, Simmonds is honoured to put on the jersey of his native land. Playing in the NHL is one milestone but another is always being able to represent your country at events like these.
“This experience has been fun. It is all about hard work and all about what’s on the front of the jersey. You come with that in mind and do what the team asks you to do. You sacrifice and do whatever it takes to get to the championship game.”
After a season in which he's scored 31 goals, Simmonds role here is different. He has no goals in eight games but still manages to use his size and ability to play physical hockey to his advantage.
Even with the quarterfinals win over Germany, Simmonds acknowledges that to be successful, Canada needs to put some pucks in the net.
“We have to make sure we are not playing sporadically and make sure we are doing things the same,” Simmonds said of what it will take to succeed. “Every line brings it with each shift and then if we put more pucks in the back of the net would be fantastic.”