Sure, it’s only Norway, but for Canadian hockey fans, a country that places priority on little else when the puck drops, tonight’s opening 8-0 shutout by their Men’s Olympic Hockey Team, is a step in the right direction to erasing the embarrassment that was Turin.
Domination – pure and simple. Canadians may not be diagnosed with the fever quite yet – but the 2010 rendition of Team Canada has undoubtedly raised the temperature of a hockey-mad nation.
Certainly to no one’s surprise, including the Norwegians, Team Canada did what most expected Tuesday night, electrifying the sold-out Vancouver crowd with an 8-0 shutout victory.
Undoubtedly predictable; impressive nonetheless.
Jarome Iginla and Dany Heatley with a pair, led the Canucks’ assault on two Team Norway netminders – sending starter Pal Grotnes to the showers early, while showing no mercy to his backup, Andre Lysenstoen.
Toss in timely tallies from Mike Richards, Ryan Getzlaf and Anaheim teammate, Cory Perry, and Rick Nash on a goal that seemingly went off Iginla’s stick, and voila – the memory of Turin begins to fade, if not just a smidgeon.
It took Sydney Crosby and company all of one period to find their legs, to begin the process of creating chemistry that Team Canada Head Coach Mike Babcock can only hope will continue to cultivate over the next two weeks.
Nonetheless, after a scoreless first period, cultivate they did, with the line of Nash, Crosby and Iginla looking ever so explosive. Canada’s tick-tack-toe passing shred any attempt by Norway to defend in the third period, which culminated with a final work of beauty off the stick of Nash. Seventeen players found their way on to the Team Canada score sheet in the opener.
Babcock will undoubtedly emphasize the need for his team to avoid the knucklehead penalties, (see Dany Heatley’s slashing call), which provided former NHLer Patrick Thoresen with a prime opportunity to put Norway on the board. Luckily, he failed to bury the biscuit, shooting high over the next with Canadian netminder, Roberto Luongo, down on the ice.
Playing before his home-town fans, the Vancouver Canucks goalie made it look easy, kicking out 15 shots for the shutout – and shutting the door on an earlier 5-on-3 Team Norway power play.
So, the hottest ticket in the nation certainly didn’t disappoint on this night. Next up, Team Canada faces Switzerland Thursday.
About the Author
Written by Scott Pattison
Scott is an award-winning sports writer whose career spans more than 20 years. He's proudly covered the Oilers since moving to the Alberta capital in 2000.