Tag: men’s hockey


Golden again: Canada tops Sweden for men’s hockey crown

source: AP
Photo credit: AP

Four years ago, Canada was anointed king of the hockey world.

On Sunday, it retained the crown.

Canada became the first team in over 20 years to win back-to-back Olympic hockey gold medals, beating Sweden 3-0 in the tournament finale at the Bolshoy Ice Dome. With the win, Canada also became the first three-time gold medalist since NHLers began participating in the Olympics at Nagano ’98.

Jonathan Toews, Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz scored the Canadian goals — the first of the tournament for each — while Carey Price was fantastic once again, stopping all 24 shots faced for his second consecutive shutout. With the win, Price finished the Sochi games boasting a 971. save percentage, allowing just three goals the entire tournament.

Price’s counterpart, Henrik Lundqvist, was equally solid in the Swedish goal. Lundqvist was the busier of the two — facing 36 shots to Price’s 24 — and did well to keep the Canadian attack at bay, especially during the opening two periods when Canada fired 23 pucks on goal.

The team in front of Lundqvist, though, failed to offer much support.

Sweden was shut out for the first time this tournament and failed to capitalize on the few chances Canada’s stifling defense allowed. The team was also dealt a major blow prior to the game when Nicklas Backstrom was ruled after reportedly testing positive for a banned substance — already down the services of centers Henrik Zetterberg and Henrik Sedin, Sweden lacked major depth down the middle with Backstrom sidelined.

That said, it’s hard to think any lineup would’ve generated much offense against the Canadians.

As was the story all tournament long, Canada’s team defense was outstanding. It kept the Swedes mostly to the perimeter and prevented them from generating offense through the rush, something Toews said was the plan heading into Sunday. As a result, Canada finished these Olympics with some staggering defensive statistics — three goals allowed over six games (two at even strength), outscoring opponents by 14 while outshooting them 241-129.

As mentioned above, the back-to-back golds put Canada in some rare Olympic company. The country hasn’t won back-to-back since the ’48 Games in St. Moritz and ’52 in Oslo; the last nation to win consecutive gold medals was the Soviet Union in ’84 and ’88 (and in ’92, though under the Unified Team moniker.)

WATCH LIVE: Canada vs. Sweden for men’s hockey gold

Ice Hockey - Winter Olympics Day 14 - United States v Canada
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Will Sunday present a stamp-worthy moment? Maybe, maybe not … but either way, the Canadian and Swedish men’s hockey teams will face off in a gold-medal game. Coverage begins at 6:30 a.m. ET:

Men’s gold-medal game, Canada-Sweden, 6:30 a.m. ET — CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Both nations are coming off big wins against significant rivals, as Canada shut out the U.S. 1-0 while Sweden edged Finland 2-1.

The two nations haven’t met in a men’s gold medal game in a while, with the last one coming almost exactly 20 years ago. Sweden won on the strength of Peter Forsberg’s iconic goal.

There’s plenty of talent on the ice, including in net, as rising star Carey Price backstops Canada while Sweden features 2006 gold medalist Henrik Lundqvist as their goalie. Beyond some elite forwards, the two teams really stand out from the pack with outstanding defensive talent, ranging stylistically from Canada’s Shea Weber to Sweden’s Erik Karlsson.

Sweden aims for its third consecutive gold on the larger Olympic ice surface while Canada is going for a rare top finish outside of the comfort zone of North American ice. They are also going for the first repeat gold since the Soviet Union/Unified Team won three in a row from 1984 to 1988 to 1992.

This is a rematch of one of the most memorable Olympic hockey finals ever, the epic 1994 shootout game in Lillehammer, Norway. The game 20 years ago was the final Olympic men’s hockey tilt before NHL players arrived in 1998. Could this year’s affair be the last of the NHL era?

Sweden is going for its third straight Olympic title on European ice. Canada is going for its first gold outside North America since 1952 in Oslo. And to be the first nation to repeat as Olympic champion since the Soviet Union/Unified Team won three straight golds from 1984 through 1992.

Swedish great Peter Forsberg rips refs selected for men’s hockey final

Toronto Maple Leafs v Buffalo Sabres
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When Canada plays against Sweden in the gold medal game on Sunday, the contest will be officiated by three Canadian-born referees and one American who lives in Calgary.

“What a (bleep)ing joke,” retired NHL star and Swedish gold medalist Peter Forsberg said, according to the Toronto Star. He added that the Canadian-heavy referee selection was “comedy at its highest level.”

Not everyone shares his opinion on the matter though. Swedish captain Niklas Kronwall thinks the referee selection makes sense, given that the players on both sides are used to NHL referees.

In fact, the IIHF said that it was a condition of the NHL’s participation that the Olympics employ NHL officials for the big games, reports CBC’s Elliotte Friedman. The referees also had to be approved by both teams.

The IIHF later issued a statement to clarify their selection process for the gold medal game. Officials have been evaluated throughout the tournament and they were selected based on their previous performance. The nationalities of the officials weren’t used as factors when determining who would be assigned to the medal games.

Even still, Forsberg isn’t the only one worried about the potential for bias. CBC’s Don Cherry thinks the referees will go to the other extreme to make it clear they’re not siding with Canada.

“It’s the biggest break (the Swedes) could have got,” said Cherry. “I guarantee you the first penalty (Canadian referee Kelly Sutherland) calls will be against a Canadian. Watch and see. And I’m never wrong.”