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Tretiak on Canada's goalie switch: 'I'd go with Brodeur'

Vladislav Tretiak, 57, knows what it feels like as a goaltender to get upset by the underdog Americans. (Shaun Best/Reuters)

Here's a quick post on the Canadian goalie situation from Sport-Express' Slava Malamud, who will be blogging for us throughout the Games:

The goaltending switch for Team Canada following its loss to the Americans has the hockey pundits talking, with the majority approving the decision to go with Roberto Luongo instead of Martin Brodeur.

If it were up to Russian goaltending legend Vladislav Tretiak, however, things may have been different. I caught up with Team Russia's general manager (and goaltending coach, and the president of the Russian Ice Hockey Federation, and, apparently, a person whose very name can render any Canadian smitten on the spot) at today's practice.

"I don't think Brodeur was all that terrible against the USA," said Tretiak. "Maybe he made one mistake, but the result is not just his fault; the defensemen are to blame as well. So, I don't think their problems are necessarily limited to poor goaltending. Maybe, they just want to try out the other guy today. To change their luck, maybe.

"Brodeur plays a more classical style, very much like our Evgeni Nabokov," Tretiak added. "Luongo is a pure butterfly goalie, which is a very different style. I like Brodeur more, because he plays the same way I did -- he mixes butterfly and stand-up and I think it's a better technique. The butterfly goalies are too prone to mistakes. They sit down too early and leave the upper corners open. Brodeur plays as the game situation dictates, and that's something I did as well. His luck was off the other day, that's all."

Team Canada coach Mike Babcock was critical of Brodeur following the U.S. game, saying Canada needed better goaltending. Babcock told Luongo on Sunday night he would play the next game against Germany but did not indicate if the switch would be permanent.

"I think they will stay with Luongo if he plays well against Germany, but that's their decision," Tretiak said. "If it were up to me, I'd go with Brodeur because he has more experience. Also, Luongo, as far as I know, isn't really a clutch goalie. He is a good goalie, but not at the deciding moments."

By Slava Malamud  |  February 23, 2010; 8:42 PM ET
Categories:  Ice hockey , Vancouver 2010  
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