Olaf Kolzig probably is used to playing behind a suspect defense; his last few months in Washington were more than enough preparation for the world Championships. But even he must have wondered where all his team mates were on Sunday. Germany seemed tentative at the best of times, but there is no doubt that this was Team Canada’s most dominating performance and convincing victory thus far in the World Championships.
Dany Heatley and Scott Niedermayer set the pace for Canada, as both collected two goals each on the way to a 6-1 drubbing of the seventh ranked German squad. Scott’s brother Rob scored as did Daniel Briere to round out the Canadian scoring. J. S.Giguere got the start for Canada stopping 21 shots, Jochen Hecht gaining the only score for Germany which is not the most offensive minded team to ever put on a pair of skates. The Germans who use a five man line of defense on the blue line, watched as the Canadians made quick work of that idea, pushing the puck deep into the German end, then went to work on the undefended Kolzig.
Canada now prepares for its biggest test of the tournament so far, as they meet the undefeated Home team the Czech Republic on Monday. Tomas Voukoun is set to start for the Czechs, Roberto Luongo in the Canadian net. Canada beat the Czechs last year in the semi finals, but earlier in this tournament lost 8-5 in a tune up match. But at that time the Canadian squad wasn’t really set. Now that they’ve had time to work out the problems the lines are starting to get their game together. The Briere/Heatley tandem is showing some true flow, accounting for five points in the Germany game.
Canada traditionally starts slow in these World tournaments and then builds as each game comes along. It’s a trend that seems to be continuing in this 2004 edition. Fans of Team Canada can only hope that the learning curve continues on its winning way.