Canada 5 - Denmark 3
2006 IIHF World Men's Championship
RIGA, Latvia – Call it a positive learning experience for a young Team Canada at the World Hockey
The Danes are proof positive that the Canadians shouldn’t take any of the so-called second tier opponents lightly. Canada’s next game is Sunday against Norway.
'You get three quick goals against you and it gets their fans involved,' said head coach Marc Habscheid.
'You know that their guys are going to be excited about it: Team Denmark headed to the third period tied
with Team Canada.'
The game marked the debut for Sidney Crosby as a pro at the world tournament and the sensational rookie didn’t disappoint. Playing on a line with Bergeron and Brad Boyes, Crosby was a catalyst throughout the game. In addition to Crosby's goals, Boyes had a goal and an assist while Bergeron added three assists.
“ Me and Boyes played all year together (with the Boston Bruins), and me and Sidney Crosby] played
together at the (2005) World Junior Championships,” Bergeron said. "We felt good together. But we hope
to get better every game."
'Both of them are phenomenal players,' he said. 'For me, it's a thrill to be with them.
Jeff Carter, Mike Richards and Jason Williams arrived in Riga just hours before the game and this allowed Canada to go with three full lines. Brendan Shanahan, Mike Cammalleri, Matt Pettinger and Brent Seabrook are all expected to join Canada prior to Sunday’s game against Norway.
The teams scored their goals in bunches, as Canada got three in the span of 8:41 in the first period, and Denmark got three in 10:06 in the second period.
Three minutes into the third period, Crosby took a pass from Bergeron and rifled a wrist shot into the top corner of the net to make it 4-3. Canada got the insurance marker after Richards tapped a Jeff Carter rebound into an open net.
“ We have some room to improve,” said Crosby. “It is the first game of the tournament and there are a lot of things we have to work out. We want to keep going.”
On paper, this should be a cakewalk for Canada, the defending silver medalist at the World Championship. But it would be foolish for the Canadians to get ahead of themselves. Denmark beat the United States 5-2 at the 2003 tournament and then tied Canada 2-2. The Danes have about a dozen players who play professional hockey in Sweden and Finland. They have been together for a couple of weeks and are a very cohesive group. The Canadians added Jeff Carter and Mike Richards of the Philadelphia Flyers and Justin Williams of the Detroit Red Wings and more reinforcements are expected in the next couple of days.
Players to watch:
Canada: Budding superstar Sidney Crosby has represented Canada at the World Junior Championships and he will be making his debut at the World Championship level. Crosby is coming off a sensational rookie season for the Pittsburgh Penguins. He set a new franchise rookie points record with 102 points (39 goals, 63 assists) to surpass Mario Lemieux's 100 points as a rookie in 1984-85. Crosby surpassed Dale Hawerchuk as the youngest player in NHL history to reach 100 points but he fell one point shy of Hawerchuk's record of 103 points as an 18-year-old.
Denmark: Frans Nielsen is one of the top young players in Denmark and he was the 87th overall pick by the New York Islanders in the 2002 draft. He played for Timra of the Swedish Elite League this season and is expected to be in the American Hockey League next season.
Prognosis: The Canadians should win this but the Danes won't make it easy for them.
by Alan Adams
For more information:
Brad Pascall Vice-President, Hockey Operations