Josh Gorges can relate to the heartbreak being felt by the national junior men's team.
While Gorges brought home a silver medal from the 2004 World Junior Championship in Finland, it wasn't the gold standard and it came courtesy a crushing defeat to the Americans in the championship game. This year's edition, which iced a roster aided by the NHL lockout, disappointed and failed to win a medal for the first time in 14 years.
On Saturday, Canada finished fourth after falling 6-5 in overtime to the host Russians in the bronze-medal game.
That followed a 5-1 semifinal loss to the U.S. after Canada beat both teams to finish atop their round-robin pool and earn the quarter-
"Obviously, I know what it's like to lose on that stage," said Gorges, whose 2004 squad blew a 3-1 third-period lead en route to dropping a 4-3 decision to the U.S. That title match will always be remembered for netminder Marc-Andre Fleury mishandling the puck and Patrick O'Sullivan scoring the golden goal.
"That's what's great (about the WJHC). But the downfall of the tournament is with the round-robin style and the single-game elimination," continued Gorges, who was reached in Montreal on Friday. "All you have to do is have one off night, one bad period, and that's it. It's tough because you can't always be at 100 per cent; you're going to have bumps in the road and if you have it at the wrong time, it's all over.
"I think that's what happened with the guys this year too. They played great all tournament, but they had one tough game where they weren't at their best, but that's hockey.
"You're not always going to be at your best and it's just unfortunate that now they don't have a chance to win the gold."
Gorges made those comments prior to Canada playing for bronze in Ufa, Russia. For Gorges, who captained the Kelowna Rockets to the 2004 Memorial Cup on home ice, representing Canada still ranks among his career highlights.
"I never thought in my wildest dreams I would get to throw on a Team Canada jersey and go represent the country, especially at the world juniors," Gorges recollected. "I didn't play for Team Pacific, I didn't make the Under-17 or the Under-18, so to think I would make the world juniors, that was a thrill for me."