From IIHF News@1:266/404 to All on Thu May 3 18:30:37 2018
Coach Marco Sturm made the players believe, and three months ago the Germans were within 55 seconds of Olympic gold. Can he get the same from his players in
Despite needing skills and size and strength, despite needing a game plan and a
top scorer and good goalie, a team often wins and loses because of what goes on
between the ears. Confidence can work wonders, and that confidence can be shot down in a seeming nanosecond. Right now, Germany is a confident nation.
Danny aus den Birken was nothing short of sensational in PyeongChang, one of the key reasons the team advanced as far as it did. The 33-year-old has been playing with EHC Red Bull Munich this season and having a great year, so if he can continue his fine play the Germans could go farther than fans typically expect.
The 35-year-old Christian Ehrhoff will lead the defence in Herning. He will be in his eighth World Championship and has a silver medal from the Olympics, where he averaged more than 22 minutes of ice time a game, tops on the team. Joining him will be Daryl Boyle, the transplanted Canadian. Other notables included Bjorn Krupp, Frank Hordler, and Moritz Muller. The blue line, though, scored only three of the team's 17 goals in Korea, and this lack of offence from the back end is a weakness on a team with higher expectations these days.
Patrick Hager led the German team in goals (3), assists (4), and points (7) at the Olympics, and he'll need to do the same again. Dominik Kahun had two goals and five points, but other than that the offence was spread out.
Truthfully, the team needs to score more than the 17 in seven games they recorded in Korea. Six of the seven games were one-goal games, and they had a very impressive 4-2 record in those close battles.
The time is now for many of the forwards who have plenty of experience and are in their late twenties or early thirties. Yannic Seidenberg, Patrick Reimer, Marcel Goc, and Felix Schutz all need to continue to contribute and take advantage of this great opportunity.
Marco Sturm is in his third World Championship, but his coaching career to date
has been defined by the Olympics. He taught the players to believe, not hope. He taught them to play with confidence, not fear. And he taught them to play to
win, not to lose. The players bought in and discovered they were, perhaps, more
skilled than they gave themselves credit for. Kudos to Sturm.
Was Germany's performance in Korea like Switzerland's in 2013? One amazing moment, then seemingly back to "normal"? We'll find out soon enough, but it would seem anything less than an appearance in the quarter-finals would be a significant disappointment for Germany in Herning. And from there, who knows? Can the Germans keep it up and win another medal? Their last WM podium was-are you ready for this?-a silver in 1953.