The Canadian squad has looked strong at the 2012 edition of the World Hockey Championships and they sit atop their group with only Belarus left to play in the preliminary round. Nobody expected much less from a team that features Stanley Cup champions, Olympic gold medal winners and NHL All-Stars, award winners and captains. However, a resumé only gets one so far, and this Canadian team is much more than a group of impressive resumés.
Committment to detail and the ability to dig in at key times have been the story for Team Canada thus far. The team has spread the scoring around with different players stepping up at different times to play their parts in the teams 5-0-1-0 record. Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks leads the team with a goal and eight assists for nine points. He looks to join the “Triple Gold Club” along with Anaheim Duck tandem Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. The New York Islander‘s John Tavares, having a typically strong performance on the international stage, is second on the team with eight points. His play should keep him in consideration for the 2014 Sochi Olympic roster, as should the play of linemate and Edmonton Oiler star Jordan Eberle, who has put up seven points.
It hasn’t been a flawless tournament for Team Canada however, as a few sloppy first periods have led to some early goals against. The Americans and Swiss both scored in the first two minutes and the Finns took a 2-0 lead going into the first intermission. Coach Brent Sutter will surely want to work on his teams readiness against Belarus on Tuesday because they simply can’t afford any sleepy starts once the elimination games begin. Also, Canada needs at least a point from their final game to secure top spot in the pool, although they could still end up facing the Slovaks, the Americans or the host Finns in the quarterfinals regardless of the outcome. Equations and caculations aside, if the Canadians can open games the same way they have opened second and third periods, they will certainly be in contention for the gold medal in Helsinki.