New Brunswick's Mike O'Donnell celebrates his predicted victory while wearing the Olympics' best piece of memorabilia.
It pretty much went according to plan. Team Canada walked over Germany 8-2 in its qualification game tonight, setting up a thrilling quarterfinal game against the highly powered Russians tomorrow.
Most comforting was the play of the line of Sydney Crosby, Jarome Iginla, and Eric Staal, who were united as a trio for the first time in the tournament. The trio combined for three goals, six points, and dominated the Germans on almost every shift.
Coach Mike Babcock had been playing Crosby alongside all-star winger Rick Nash for the previous three games, but the two were split up after combining for a minus-6 in their last game against the Americans.
Nash, paired with Anaheim Duck teammates Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, finally got on the score sheet as well, scoring the team's eighth goal with a blazing wrister from his off wing in the dying minutes of the third.
"6-2, 8-2, what's the difference?" said Mike O'Donnell, a passionate Canadian fan who predicted a 6-2 Canadian victory earlier in the day. "Under promise and over perform, am I right? It couldn't have gone much better."
Even the two German goals – which might have been cause for concern given that the Germans have far from a potent attack – couldn't be blamed on goaltender Roberto Luongo, who started in place of the struggling Martin Brodeur.
By all reports, he looked much sharper than Brodeur did against the Americans.
The question now becomes whether this game was a case of Canadian skill and talent, or a just "a win over Germany."
According to O'Donnell, the Canadians deserve all the credit for the victory.
"The important thing to focus on is the fact that they were better than the Germans in every facet of the game, and by a large margin.
You couldn't throw a dead cat in Whistler without hitting a Canadian hockey jersey.
"The Crosby line looked fantastic, all four lines scored at least a goal, and Luongo did what he had to do. With Luongo, he wasn't going to have the opportunity to come out and look incredible, because the Germans simply don't have the talent to match Canada."
O'Donnell, a former hockey player himself at Northeastern University in Boston, is a former New Brunswick native who's wife is American. They attended the Canada/U.S.A. game on Sunday in Vancouver, and the duo are eagerly looking forward to a rematch.
"The atmosphere for that game was absolutely incredible," said Jenn O'Donnell. "I was one of the only people in the entire crowd with an American jersey on, so naturally I was getting it from the crowd. It was all in fun, though. We were hugging after the game. It was great."
The Olympic Games are so very different than other international hockey tournaments like the World Championships or the World Juniors. In those tournaments, opposing nations are considered enemies. Fans hate them and revel in that hatred.
With the Olympics, though, it's interesting to see the sportsmanship amongst the fans. Everyone still wants to see their teams win, obviously, but they're just as happy to celebrate other's victories as well.
"It's like one big happy family here," Jenn said. "We fight, we compete, we cheer and boo, but at the end of the day, we're all playing for the same team."
Let's see how sportsmanlike the Canadian fans will be on Wednesday after the game against the Russians.
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