Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

February 24, 2014

Canada cruises to men's hockey gold

SOCHI, Russia — Sidney Crosby skated in alone on Henrik Lundqvist, faking Sweden's goalie to the ice with a textbook-quality deke and sliding a perfect backhand into the net.

Canada did everything by the book at the Sochi Olympics, winning all six games with a ferocious commitment to defense and discipline. When Canada's captain finally got his first goal of the games Sunday, it had none of the dramatics of Crosby's last Olympic goal four years ago in Vancouver.

But it was every bit as golden.

Jonathan Toews scored in the first period, Carey Price made 24 saves in his second consecutive shutout, and Canada defended its Olympic men's hockey title with a 3-0 victory over Sweden.

"We're just an amazing team to watch, the way we work together," Toews said. "We were just all over them. It's fun to be a part of."

Chris Kunitz also scored as the Canadians confirmed their worldwide dominance in their national game by winning the gold for the third time in the last four Olympics. No team in the NHL era has controlled a tournament like this group, which allowed just three goals in six games and never trailed at any point in the 12-day tournament on the shores of the Black Sea.

"Not quite as dramatic as the other one," Crosby said. "Just real solid all the way through. We knew the way we wanted to play, and the last couple of games, we were solid. With each game, we seemed to build more and more confidence."

By the final event of the Sochi Olympics, that confidence was unshakable. Canada became the only repeat Olympic champ in the NHL era and the first team to go unbeaten through the Olympic tournament since the Soviet Union in Sarajevo in 1984.

Canada won its record ninth Olympic hockey gold medal — its first outside North America since 1952 — and joined the women's team to complete Canada's second straight Olympic hockey sweep.

The Canadians didn't allow a goal in their final 164-plus minutes at the Bolshoy Ice Dome after the first period of the quarterfinals against Latvia, shutting out the U.S. and Sweden.

Steve Yzerman, the architect of this roster for Hockey Canada, called it the greatest display of defensive hockey by any Canadian national team. Yzerman also said he's stepping down as Canada's Olympic executive director.

The Swedes also were unbeaten until the final, but they couldn't compete with Canada's formidable defense and Price, a first-time gold medalist who played splendidly in Sochi, allowing three goals in five games.

"That was the hardest-working team I've ever seen," Price said. "I really can't say enough about that group of defensemen and that overall team in front of me. Our work ethic was what won us this championship."

The Canadians exchanged hugs and leaped over the boards at the final horn, gathering at Price's net for a celebration that had seemed inevitable since Crosby scored in the second period.

Toews, who scored on a first-period tip-in, and Crosby are among Canada's 11 returning players from the 2010 championship team. Kunitz, widely criticized for failing to finish chances earlier in Sochi, capped the scoring with a vicious wrist shot in the third.

If these games were the last with NHL players joining their national teams, Canada's pros put on a landmark show. The NHL won't decide for several months whether to allow its players to go to Pyeongchang.

"It is amazing to see the guys that have the raw talent and ability commit themselves to doing all the little things right," said Toews, who has two Stanley Cup titles and two Olympic gold medals at 25. "We knew that's what it was going to take in this tournament to win the championship, and guys were willing to do that."

Lundqvist stopped 33 shots, but the depleted Swedes couldn't keep pace with the new Big Red Machine in Russia.

While Canada got goals from its two best centers, Sweden had to play without its top three centers. With Henrik Sedin and Henrik Zetterberg already out for the tournament, Nicklas Backstrom was scratched shortly before game time. Swedish Olympic officials said Backstrom had a positive drug test because of an allergy medicine.

"With all the turnovers, Hank could only do so much for us," Sweden captain Niklas Kronwall said. "We thought that if we played a perfect game, we'd have a chance. ... It doesn't feel great. I didn't feel like we gave ourselves an honest chance."

After both teams hit a post in the opening minutes to put a little buzz into the quiet Russian crowd, Canada went ahead nearly 13 minutes in when Jeff Carter threw a quick pass in front to Toews, who deflected it underneath Lundqvist for his first goal in Sochi. Toews also scored Canada's first goal in the gold-medal game in Vancouver.

Late in the second period, Crosby scored after forcing a turnover at the Canada blue line. Loui Eriksson couldn't catch him, and Lundqvist couldn't stop the backhand with his sprawled toe.

When Backstrom was ruled out shortly before game time, Sweden was left without its top three pivots. Jimmie Ericsson attempted to fill in between Daniel Sedin and Eriksson, but he's not a natural center, and he lost all six of his faceoffs in the first period.

"They had a good game plan against us, and they stuck to it," Sweden defenseman Erik Karlsson said. "We couldn't really break through a brick wall."

1
Text Only
Sports
  • McMillan-blackboard.jpg Hometown brothers team up for RiverHawks football

    Northeastern State’s football program will include a pair of hometown brothers for the 2014 season.
    Mason McMillan returns for his sophomore season, and this year he will be reunited with his younger brother, Kourtland. The brothers graduated from Tahlequah High School – Mason in 2013, followed by Kourtland in 2014. At Tahlequah, Mason and Kourtland shared the gridiron for one season.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Yurcich ready for second season

    With the 2014 season on the brink, Mike Yurcich, Oklahoma State University football offensive coordinator, is ready for his second year at the helm after coaching a powerful offensive squad a year ago.

    July 28, 2014

  • James_Ethan-(12)-vs.#2CC63C.jpg Back on the line

    RiverHawks’ Ethan James returns to the line healthy and ready for 2014

    RiverHawks offensive lineman Ethan James will enter the 2014 season healthy – something the team, and James, were not in 2013.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • Sooners shifting several positions

    Experience comes from encountering the same things in the same ways over and over again. Oklahoma’s Geneo Grissom and Julian Wilson have that at defensive end and nickleback in bunches.
    However, both will be seeing new things when practice begins. Grissom is moving to outside linebacker. Wilson will be getting a look at cornerback as his senior season begins

    July 25, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat

    The NCAA once cracked down on colleges that went too far luring top prospects, then it targeted teams that lathered players with special treatment. That was until the NCAA's get-tough approach backfired, rendering it ineffective and creating an opportunity for those who want to play dirty.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • BobBowlsby.jpg Media Week: Change is coming

    Changes are coming to college athletics.
    That was the theme of the state of the conference speech by Big 12 Conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby on the first day of Big 12 Football Media Days.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Peterson.jpg Cowboy quandary: OSU defense trying to replace seven starters

    A year after the best defensive team in the Mike Gundy era, the questions now surround how those few returning starters and second-year defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer can maintain that high level of efficiency.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Really one true champion?

    I decided to spare the colleagues in front of me – and myself from making a scene – by holding back flipping my table at the Big 12 Conference Football Media Days in Dallas.
    I had become exhausted by the constant use and misrepresentation by the Big 12 with their moniker of “One True Champion.” If they are going to live with the slogan, then they need to abide by that slogan.
    Perhaps its a simple case that they are keeping constant with the poor math of the 10-team Big 12 Conference.

    July 23, 2014

  • Hill expected to be used in multiple facets

    The picture became a little clearer recently of how Big 12 Conference Newcomer of the Year Tyreek Hill will be utilized in the Oklahoma State offense.
    And the picture is rather wide.

    July 23, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Expectations too high for a rehabbing Woods

    Tiger Woods finished near bottom last weekend at Royal Liverpool, drawing out his drought of major tournament wins. Despite the disappointing showing, Woods' return to form remains a matter of when, not if.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
Undecided.
     View Results
Press Sports Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage
Stocks