World’s best hockey play­ers soon to land in Van­cou­ver

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS -

VAN­COU­VER — (CP) As hard as it might be to be­lieve, the Olympic men’s hockey tour­na­ment is prac­ti­cally here. And there have been a few en­cour­ag­ing signs of late for those root­ing on Team Canada in Van­cou­ver.

One of the best came via a break­through week from Jarome Iginla, who was tops among Cana­dian Olympians with three goals and seven points in four games. The Cal­gary Flames cap­tain had been locked in a nasty goal-scor­ing drought since re­ceiv­ing his third Games in­vite.

While coach Mike Bab­cock and ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Steve Yzerman haven’t pub­licly laid out roles for each player, it wouldn’t be sur­pris­ing if Iginla was given a spot on a scor­ing line.

The Olympic for­mat calls for all games tied af­ter over­time to be de­cided in a shootout. Team Canada has lost two of the three shootouts its played in Olympic com­pe­ti­tion — get­ting beaten in the gold-medal game by Swe­den in 1994 be­fore los­ing to the Czech Repub­lic in the semi­fi­nals four years later.

Sid­ney Crosby leads the NHL in shootout scor­ing per­cent­age this sea­son, hav­ing con­verted on six of his seven at­tempts. The Pittsburgh Pen­guins star had his third gamede­cid­ing shootout goal on Sun­day af­ter­noon against Detroit.

Other Team Canada play­ers with de­cent shootout records this sea­son in­clude Jonathan Toews ( five goals on eight tries), Rick Nash ( four of 10) and Ryan Get­zlaf (three of seven).

Marc-An­dre Fleury cur­rently has the best record among NHL goalies in the tiebreaker — hav­ing stopped 14 of 15 at­tempts and built a 5-0 record — but he isn’t ex­pected to see much action for Team Canada at the Olympics. Likely starter Martin Brodeur has been sim­i­larly strong with a 6-2 record af­ter al­low­ing seven goals on 26 shots.

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