INNSBRUCK, Austria – Marty Brodeur likes the idea of Rick Nash being his teammate. And he really likes the fact that when the NHL gets back to playing, he won’t see much of him.
‘I’m happy he’s in the West,” said Brodeur, who is a member of the Eastern Conference New Jersey Devils. Nash plays for Columbus of the Western Conference.
After seeing Nash score a pair of goals – his fifth and sixth of the world championship tournament – to lead Canada past the United States 3-1, Brodeur said there is a lot to like about newfound teammate.
“He has tremendous hands and speed and you do not see that in too many young guys,” said Brodeur. “Guys could be scorers but they won’t pay the price to score goals. He’ll do it for whatever reason. Whatever is at stake, he will go for it. That is a great quality in a young player.”
Canada will play Sweden, the Group C winner, in the qualification round on Saturday and then go up against Finland on Sunday. The way the tournament works is like this: Teams drop the points from their game against the last-place team in their group, so Canada goes into the qualification round at 2-0 while U.S. goes in at 1-1.
Nash is enjoying his time with Team Canada. It’s something he has always wanted to do but he never expected to be doing it before his 21st birthday. If you would have asked him a couple of years who where he thought he’s be in April of 2005, he would have said playing as an over-age for the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League.
“I had no idea all this would happen and I’ve had lucky opportunities in my life and take the chances and when I got the chances I jumped all over them,” he said.
Make no mistake about it. Nash is making a statement. He is part of the next wave of Canadian stars and the best part is he wants to be part of it.
“There are some tough shoes to fill with guys like (Mario) Lemieux and (Steve) Yzerman and (Wayne) Gretzky and I do not expect to do anything those guys did,” said Nash. “But in saying that you can see the next generation coming in.”
While Nash was serving notice that he’s a factor, Brodeur was brilliant but that is what fans have come to expect from him.
Team USA had more than their share of scoring chances but Brodeur showed why he’s the best goalie on the planet and the rest are pretenders to the throne.
He was particularly sharp in the first period when the game was goalless and then in the third when the Americans buzzed the Canadian net.
“His skills are so unique and he’s so quick that he’s comparable to Wayne Gretzky as a forward,” said U.S. forward Doug Weight.
There are a number of reasons why Team Canada GM Steve Tambellini invited Brodeur to the Austrian Alps. One is obvious. Brodeur is the best at his business but the other element is not so obvious.
“Brodeur’s mental approach to the game is so strong and the leadership from that standpoint . . . young players watch how he prepares and how he handles the pressure and can only help but grow,” said Tambellini.
Nash opened the scoring just 51 seconds into the second period and Mike Knuble tied it at 5:16.
The teams were playing 4 aside when Dan Boyle sent Nash in on a partial breakaway and Nash roofed a shot in off the crossbar at 11:29.
Joe Thornton scored an insurance goal, his fourth of the tournament, at 12:42 of the third period on a power play.
Canada is 34-3-0 all-time against the United States at the world championships.
For more information:
Brad Pascall Vice-President, Hockey Operations