The Russians came out looking to show off their talent and size, and that they did in the early-going of the game. The first period may have ended in a 1-1 tie, but it left plenty to discuss in the Canadian dressing room. We’ve seen the scenario plenty of times before, five Canadian defenders puck chasing, and looking like a team that was about to be terribly outclassed and outperformed. But, there was a tide to swing.
While the Russians had some individual talent, it was mixed in with a propensity to hack and slash – and they served their share of penalties. And, with some of the Russian talent heading into the KHL, memories of wishing Jim Balsillie would bring a KHL franchise to stick it to the NHL came to mind yet again.
Canada, no doubt with the assistance of solid coaching, played the Russian game of old. While the Russians lost composure and played as individuals, the Canadians known as the “blue-collar”, lunch-bucket team, showed more talent than expected, and played with more composure than their young years would suggest. Teamwork was the name of their game, and the tide turned.
They just kept coming at those Ruskies, pulling out the win, and more importantly showing incredible depth and diversity.
With the comfort of confirmation that the underlying principle that hockey is a team game, and not an arena to showcase individual talent, this victory was all the sweeter. Canada is showing coaching and development is at a peak.
Without a doubt, Canada has shown its hockey prowess, and they have proven themselves the team to beat in this year’s tournament.
Suitably, the camera panned the crowd at the end of the game, and the banner read “Hockey: Nothing else matters”.
While we know that is not the case, it does bring us to realize that Canadians enjoy the simple joys of life.
So we must continue to bring it on and off the ice. The juniors to bring home gold, and those of us awake to the bigger global battle, to ensure we continue to enjoy our home and native land!