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Canadian women's hockey program to be examined after loss at worlds

After losing in the final at the world championship for a second straight year, the Canadian women's hockey program is going to be placed under the microscope.

After losing in the final at the world championship for a second straight year, the Canadian women's hockey program is going to be placed under the microscope.

Even though a full debrief is standard practice for Hockey Canada following every major tournament, the process could take on a little more importance with less than a year to go before the 2010 Olympics.

Coach Melody Davidson openly wondered about her future with the team after Canada's 4-1 loss to the U.S. on Sunday. While it's too early for Hockey Canada to say what might be done moving forward, vice-president of hockey operations Johnny Misley said Tuesday that changes will be considered.

"If we have to make some adjustments somewhere, we'll do that," said Misley. "I mean, we'll do whatever it takes to make sure that our team is best positioned to compete for gold.

"It's not just looking at the coaches, but also looking at the player personnel and the accountability of the players themselves too."

Misley was with the team throughout the event in Hameenlinna, Finland.

He saw no reason for concern as Canada won its first four tournament games. A poor effort in the final ended up tainting an otherwise positive experience.

"We had a real good tournament, preparation, training camp, including the round-robin games," said Misley. "But we absolutely imploded in the gold medal game and that wasn't a fun time for everybody. Everyone's accountable.

"We've just got to find out why we were so tight in that gold medal game and make sure it doesn't happen again."

It was the second straight year the Americans beat Canada in the final.

Even though Davidson is under contract to coach the women team's at the Vancouver Games, she expressed some doubt about her job following Sunday's loss.

"Coaching is coaching and if you don't perform you don't go on," Davidson said. "If we're not going to perform in the final game, that's on my shoulders and we have to be able to perform. If we can't, maybe Hockey Canada has to look at a change.

"There's no excuses for that performance out there today. None whatsoever."

Davidson had Canada so well prepared for the 2006 Olympics that their gold-medal win looked easy and she followed that up with a world championship gold in 2007.

She served as general manager of the women's program last year. Current assistant coach Peter Smith held the main duties as Canada lost its world title to the U.S. in Harbin, China.

The women's hockey team has been considered among the country's best hopes to win gold in Vancouver. However, four losses in the last six games to the Americans makes the top of the podium seem less certain.

Written reports from Davidson, director of female hockey Julie Healy and other staff members will be filed in the coming weeks. Following that, Misley and Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson will summarize what they've received and hold discussion before any potential changes are made.

There's already one thing everyone associated with the program agrees on.

"We're not happy with a silver medal," said Misley. "Nor are we ever in any program. We only want to go after one colour.

"Everybody in that dressing room - players and coaching staff - aren't happy with the result. We don't expect anything less than gold in this country."

 
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