I've been trying to watch Canada's games during the World Championships as much as I can. As I've been watching these games, I've almost had to do a double take when Marc Denis is in net. Watching him play for Canada, as opposed to watching him play for Columbus is almost like night and day. There seems to be a switch that Denis has turned on to make him play outstanding while wearing the maple leaf.
It makes me wonder why Denis couldn't play this same way while with the Blue Jackets. I know this his just a short tournament, but Denis is one of the best goaltenders right now in the tournament. Denis is second in save percentage and first in GAA for all starting goalies. I'm sure Denis would love to have those numbers with Columbus.
Since getting picked up in the expansion draft, Denis has been 84-146-25 with a 3.05 GAA and .903 save%. Up until this year, it's been a tough luck time for Denis. He has been nothing short of a work horse for the Blue Jackets, but never get the recognition he deserved. It was either a lack of scoring or lack of defense, it was always something holding him back from being a top-tier goalie in the NHL. Though, the pressure could often be too much, especially when the prospect train in Columbus when it came to goaltending was never the best.
Luckily for Denis, Columbus could be the best young team out there in the NHL today. Plus, GM Doug MacLean bolstered his defense with Adam Foote and Bryan Berard for this season, which really was a weak link for the Jackets this season. Both Rick Nash and Nikolai Zherdev found a great scoring touch with the new rules, while Sergei Fedorov and David Vyborny have helped out with guidence. Because of all that, Denis had his best season, record-wise, going 21-25-1 with a 3.25 GAA and .900 save%.
With Marc Habscheid naming Denis the starter for the rest of the World Championships, this could be the confidence boost that Denis needs to push him over the edge and allow him to focus on being the best out there. With two World Junior Golds and a World Championship Gold (though he didn't suit up) under his belt, it could be this tournament which would be the bookmark if Denis were to break out this season.