World Cup of Hockey Day 1: Canada’s top trio shines
That dynamic trio of Sidney Crosby, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand is already paying dividends for Team Canada.
Looking to set the tempo early in Canada’s World Cup of Hockey preliminary round opener against the Czech Republic last night at the Air Canada Centre, Crosby, Bergeron and Marchand did just that with their first period lamp lighters. The three also added a combined six assists and totaled nine points in the Canadians’ 6-0 victory.
“Well, I thought we had rolled out the door as much as I could,” Team Canada coach Mike Babcock told reporters during his postgame press conference. “Tried to get everyone on the ice and be important.”
For the most part, Babcock was able to do just that. Each of Team Canada’s skaters notched over 10 minutes of ice time against the Czechs. For their part, Marchand, Crosby and Bergeron were able to get some rest after the game was out of reach with the trio tallying 14:25, 13:04 and 13:00 time on ice, respectively.
Adding Marchand with Crosby and Bergeron, who skated together at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, brings another dynamic to the Canadians’ hopes of capturing gold.
“Well, Marchy is a good man, a good kid. Obviously has developed into a real good player,” Babcock told the press about Marchand. He plays with great speed and creates turnovers for those guys, and with tenacity. The only time he ever gets in trouble is when he tries to do too much. He’s an important player for us, playing real well in the penalty kill and playing real well even strength.”
There was one catch to another part of Babcock’s remarks about Marchand.
“When he was with the Bruins, he’s a bit of a pain in the butt,” said the former Red Wings and current Maple Leafs coach, “but I like him here.”
Marchand and Bergeron’s Bruins’ teammate, David Pastrnak, fired four shots and tallied 16:47 time on ice in the Czech’s loss.
Chara, Europe, stand tall vs. Team USA
Many pundits, including your’s truly, didn’t give Team Europe much of a chance at this year’s World Cup. Well, they’ve shaken up the tournament on the first day of play.
In a well rounded effort, the Europeans were sparked by Jaroslav Halak’s 35 saves and goals from Marian Gaborik, Leon Draisaiti and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare in their shocking 3-0 shutout of Team USA yesterday afternoon.
Bruins captain Zdeno Chara notched the fourth highest time on ice among all skaters with 22:29. The 6-foot-9 blue-liner added a hit and three blocked shots in a solid performance.
Former Bruin Dennis Seidenberg, who is still looking to sign with an NHL team this pre-season tallied four hits and three blocked shots in 19:30 of ice time.
The loss puts David Backes (6:35 time on ice in the loss) and Team USA in a must-win situation against Canada on Tuesday night. Europe will look to continue its momentum on Monday afternoon against the Czech’s.
What to watch on Day 2
Team Finland has not named its starting goaltender against Team North America for tonight’s 8 p.m. start Whether it’s Tuukka Rask or Pekka Rinne, the Finns will have its hands full against the likes of Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel, Auston Matthews and the rest of the exciting bunch of under-23 North Americans.
Sunday’s prelude to the nightcap features former Bruin Loui Eriksson and Team Sweeden going up against the Russians at 3 p.m.