International Ice Hockey Federation

Fantastic firepower

Fantastic firepower

Canada’s offence reaching scary levels

Published 13.05.2015 16:17 GMT+2 | Author Lucas Aykroyd
Fantastic firepower
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - MAY 1: Canada's Jason Spezza #90 celebrates with Sidney Crosby #87 after scoring a first period goal against Latvia during preliminary round action at the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images)
In Sochi, Canada’s calling card en route to Olympic gold was its watertight defence. But here in Prague, Canada’s World Championship offence is on fire.

Let’s put this in historical context.

With 49 goals through seven games, coach Todd McLellan’s team could become the highest-scoring Canadian entry since the NHL began sending players to the IIHF’s annual spring showcase in 1977.

Led offensively by Matt Duchene (4-7-11), Jason Spezza (4-7-11), Jordan Eberle (5-5-10), and Taylor Hall (6-3-9), the 2015 edition has already scored more goals than any other Canadian team in that era, except the silver-medal squads of 1989 (57 in 10 games) and 2008 (52 in 9 games).

If the Canadians can get past Belarus in the quarter-finals (and they’ve never lost to that former Soviet republic in seven World Championship meetings since 1998), they’ll have another two games to add to their total, win or lose.

Canada is looking to end a gold-medal drought that dates back to 2007. It’s lost five straight World Championship quarter-finals, and Duchene played on three of those unsuccessful QF teams. “On paper and on the ice, it’s the best team I’ve played with, for sure,” he said of the current crew.

The Canadians are also running rings around their contemporary international foes.

In the post-Soviet era, no Russian World Championship team has outscored the gold-medal squad of 2012 (44 goals in 10 games). The Czechs topped out in 1999 en route to their first of three straight titles (45 goals in 10 games). Finland’s high-water mark came with silver in 1994 (48 goals in 8 games).

The all-time record, though, will remain beyond Canada’s grasp. In 1973, the Soviet Union powered to gold on home ice in Moscow (100 goals in 10 games). And even matching or beating Czechoslovakia’s gold-medal total in 1976 (67 goals in 10 games) is also quite unlikely. Naturally, it’s important to remember that defence and goaltending have also advanced light years since the run-and-gun days of the 1970s.

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But ultimately, the 2015 Canadians won’t care whether they win all their remaining games 10-0 or 1-0 – as long as they head home with the gold medal.

“It’s good for our scorers to be feeling the puck going into the net,” said Canada’s Dan Hamhuis. “But defence is our number one focus. Especially when you get down to the medal round, it’s going to be essential. Our offence will come from that.”


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