Canada's trip down the trail for gold got underway Tuesday night at the Canada Hockey house, as the host nation's Olympians in men's hockey took to the ice to face Norway.
For one period of play the debut provided for a fairly even match up, the Canadians seemingly still working out their lines and working off their unfamiliarity took the first twenty minutes to get a feel for the tournament and their opposition.
But once that first intermission was complete, hockey fans received a sample of just how impressive this line up of Canada's could be in this tournament.
The San Jose connection was left intact, with Dany Heatley, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau picking up where they left off in the NHL season, finding more than a few opportunities to score, but perhaps spending too much time trying to create the perfect passing play. Scoring chances slipped by in the first period due to one pass to many, or the need to create the perfect set up. It was a flaw that clearly was addressed by Mike Babcock and his coaching staff in that first intermission.
The tentative start by the Canadians gave way to domination by the time the second period had come to an end as Canada, led by three goals by Jarmoe Iginla went on to shut out the Norwegians by a score of 8-0, giving the hometown's hero Roberto Luongo his first shut out in the Olympics, though he wasn't particularly tested hard on the way to that success.
While the San Jose players lived up to the anticipation, it was the Iginla line, which included Sydney Crosby and Rick Nash that had heads turning at Hockey house. They began to click midway through the second and never looked back after that, providing wave after wave of encroachment into the Norway zone making for many more chances that could have seen the scoreboard move beyond the ten mark.
As it was, eight was more than enough and by games end the line up combinations seemed to have sorted themselves out and the players for the most part were beginning to get into sync.
San Jose fans will remain content in watching their trio perform as one line, destined we imagine to gain their share of goals before this tournament comes to an end.
Flame fans while pre-occupied in their cheers for Team Canada today, can only dream of what an Iginla, Crosby, Nash combination would be like in a Burning C sweater, alas it's a fanciful concoction of only the best of fantasy pool drafters, available on ice only in the colours of Canada for a limited time only.
But for the next two weeks, we'll take that line up every time they hop onto the ice.
Globe and Mail-- Canada opens with a big win over Norway
Globe and Mail-- Spotlight sticks on Canada's Crosby
National Post/CBC-- Team Canada routs Norway in Olympic opener
National Post/CBC-- Canada passes opening test with ease
National Post/CBC-- Collective relief over Team Canada rout
Montreal Gazette-- Canada wins opener
Vancouver Province-- Luongo ices Norwegians as Canada wins 8-0