Tuesday, 2 January 2018

No Swiss Miracle

The man in the middle of the players is Christian Wohlwend. Wohlwend is coaching the Swiss team at this year's World Junior Championship, and his team will play Canada today. Canada is generally seen as a powerhouse when compared to the Swiss squad, so there's no denying that the Swiss players will have an immense mountain to overcome if they want to beat the Canadians. It could be said that this is the Swiss team's "Miracle on Ice" moment if they're going to beat Canada, so Wohlwend would need to channel his inner Herb Brooks to get his squad going.

Instead, they got a healthy dose of realism from head coach Christian Wohlwend yesterday.
As a player, I'm not sure I want to hear my coach speaking to the Canadian media about not having a chance. Yes, the reality is that the Canadians had spanked the Swiss 8-1 in a pre-tournament game. Yes, the reality is the Canadians have a pile of NHL-drafted talent compared to the Swiss having just one player. Yes, the reality is that Canada is looking like the overwhelming favorites, but I'm not sure I'd want Wohlwend on the bench if he doesn't believe he can guide the Swiss to a victory.

I'll credit him for his honesty, but sometimes a coach has to recognize that he or she has to invoke confidence and help players find another level in the presence of insurmountable odds. Had Herb Brooks gone into the dressing room in Lake Placid and just shrugged his shoulders, I doubt we would have had a Miracle moment. Christian Wohlwend needed to show that resolve before today's game if only to give his players a sense that any team is beatable.

As I'm writing this, Canada is crushing Switzerland 5-0 after a Jordan Kyrou goal, and the Swiss look dejected and defeated. While that might be due in large part to the five-goal deficit in the second period, I'm not sure that Wohlwend's speech to the Canadian media helped. As it stands, Christian Wohlwend may have out-coached himself with his comments to the media.

There won't be a Herb Brooks moment today, folks.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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