Canada's winning big

Robin
Robin Short
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Host team using size, along with speed, to make short work of opponents

They poured out from the Argyle St. watering holes Sunday afternoon, well-oiled Latvian fans 1,200 strong, toting drums and horns and strangest of haircuts and hats for the climb uphill to the Halifax Metro Centre.

It was nothing, however, to the mountain that confronted their team Sunday at the world hockey championship, a Canadian squad fresh off a 5-1 cakewalk of Slovenia in the tournament opener Friday night.

Canadian forward Patrick Sharp celebrates after scoring in the first period against Latvia at the world hockey championship Sunday in Halifax. Canada won 7-0, its second victory in as many games in the world tourney. Photo by The Canadian Press

Halifax - They poured out from the Argyle St. watering holes Sunday afternoon, well-oiled Latvian fans 1,200 strong, toting drums and horns and strangest of haircuts and hats for the climb uphill to the Halifax Metro Centre.

It was nothing, however, to the mountain that confronted their team Sunday at the world hockey championship, a Canadian squad fresh off a 5-1 cakewalk of Slovenia in the tournament opener Friday night.

But while Canada dominated Latvia, winning 7-0, it was a performance that left some of the 7,831 filing out of the old rink figuring the Canadians still have a bit of work to do before we start talking about a second straight gold medal.

"We weren't playing our game, weren't doing some of the things we practised so we had to get back to that," said defenceman Mike Green of the Washington Capitals, who had one of the Canadian team's goals.

"It's easy to stray away from your system and try to do too much as an individual. But once we settled down, we were able to hold them off after they took it to us a little bit more."

Dany Heatley scored once and assisted on three others to lead the Canadian attack. The Ottawa Senators winger's four points vaulted him to the top of Canada's all-time scoring list at the worlds, overtaking former Detroit Red Wings star Steve Yzerman, who happens to be Canada's GM here in Halifax.

Rick Nash scored a pair of goals for Canada. Singles came Patrick Sharp of the Chicago Blackhawks, Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Chris Kunitz of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.

Pascal Leclaire, the former Halifax Mooseheads goalie making his first appearance at the Metro Centre since his junior days, made 30 relatively easy saves for the shutout.

Dominated through much of the first period when Canada scored on its first two shots, the Latvians - who had only one NHL player on its roster, Raitis Ivanans of the Los Angeles Kings - worked the butterflies out in the second period and actually skated with the Canadians for most of the second.

"They're sneaky," Green said. "I thought they played strong. Maybe they seemed a little timid in the first period, but after they got their pace, they were pretty dangerous.

"We had a hard time in the third watching them. They were all over the place and made it tough on us."

"We weren't happy after the second period with the way we were playing," added Nash. "We're still learning and getting comfortable with each other. The key to this tournament is to keep getting better and jelling and I think it's looking that way right now."

Canada's top line of Nash, Heatley and Anaheim's Ryan Getzlaf has been ripping up the opposition early on. The powerful trio accounted for eight points against Latvia and seven against Slovenia.

"The best part about it," said Canadian captain Shane Doan, "is we still have two or three other lines that are going to get going yet and that's the part that makes Canada so dangerous. We have so much depth.

"As for those guys," he said of Nash, Heatley and Getzlaf, "Getz controls the puck so well, and the other two are just great scorers. The way they control the puck and find guys is pretty incredible."

Canada faces its first real test Tuesday afternoon, when it meets the United States, also 2-0.

"That game is going to be huge," Nash said. "We're really going to get to see where we're at."

rshort@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Metro Centre, Washington Capitals, Ottawa Senators Detroit Red Wings Chicago Blackhawks Tampa Bay Lightning Anaheim Mighty Ducks NHL Los Angeles Kings

Geographic location: Canada, Halifax, Slovenia Latvia Anaheim United States

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  • Dave
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    So far so good but a team from the Avalon East League could probably give Slovenia or Latvia a run for it. It's the games agaist the likes of Russia, Sweden, etc. that will really tell the tale matter.

  • Dave
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    So far so good but a team from the Avalon East League could probably give Slovenia or Latvia a run for it. It's the games agaist the likes of Russia, Sweden, etc. that will really tell the tale matter.