Canada and Russia start on collision course

Wed Feb 17, 2010 7:47am EST
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By Steve Keating

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Canada and Russia opened the Olympic men's ice hockey tournament with explosive wins on Tuesday to set the old rivals off on a collision course toward the gold medal final.

Canada launched their bid for the gold that matters more than any other to them by crushing Norway 8-0 while Russia rekindled memories of the Big Red Machine to dump Latvia 8-2.

The United States, seeking their first hockey gold since the "Miracle on Ice" 30 years ago at the 1980 Lake Placid Games, opened their account with a workmanlike 3-1 win victory over scrappy Switzerland.

For the 11th-ranked minnows from Norway it must have seemed like they had been thrown to the sharks when they were drawn to face Canada in an electrically charged opener in front of a raucous capacity crowd demanding nothing less than a mauling.


As Canada stepped on to the Olympic ice for the pre-game warm-up they were greeted by a seething sea of red and deafening roar from a crowd that had been anticipating the moment since Vancouver was first awarded the Games.

With no NHL players on their bench, the Norwegians looked across at the cream of Canadian hockey and a roster stocked with NHL MVPs, Norris trophy-winning defensemen, all-stars and the most successful netminder of all-time.

Canada had faced Norway three times in Olympic competition and outscored them 29-3 but the Norwegians came prepared to fight battling the gold medal favorites to a scoreless opening period.   Continued...

<p>Canadian Jarome Iginla (12) is congratulated by teammates after scoring against Norway during their men's hockey game at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, February 16, 2010. REUTERS/Shaun Best</p>