5 things Canada needs to do to win gold in men's hockey
Discipline, defence, Doughty keys to beating Sweden
Senior hockey writer Mike Brophy breaks down the advantages Canada must exploit to capture Olympic gold against Sweden in men's hockey on Sunday (7 a.m. ET.)
The Drew Doughty factor: Doughty has been Canada’s best player through five games, leading the team at both ends of the rink. His wonderful skating ability enables him to rush the puck out of the defensive zone at times and to join the forwards on the attack in others. He leads the team in goals (four) and points (six).
Price needs to be right: Carey Price has provided a calmness for his team in light of its inability to score goals. It was suggested by some in 2010 that Canada won in spite of goalie Roberto Luongo and not because of him. That is not accurate or fair. However, there is no denying Price’s steadiness has been a huge reason why Canada remains undefeated and in the running for a second straight gold medal.
Someone needs to be hot: The temptation is to suggest Canada cannot beat Sweden unless the players counted on for goals who have been silent so far come through in the crunch. That simply is not true. Canada is 5-0 and hasn’t gotten a goal from Chris Kunitz, Jonathan Toews, John Tavares, Corey Perry, Patrice Bergeron, Rick Nash or Sidney Crosby. There’s no reason to suggest they can’t win a sixth game without any of those players scoring - as long as somebody steps up to the plate.
Discipline: Canada has not been overly physical at these Olympic Games and therefore have not got into too much penalty trouble. In fact, Canada stands sixth in penalty minutes, having taken just 16 minors in five games.
Penalty-killing: When Canada has taken penalties, its penalty-killers have been excellent. Employing quick shifts to keep the pace up, Canada has been shorthanded 14 times and has allowed just one power play goal. Canada ranks No. 1 in the tournament in penalty killing with a 92.9 per cent success rate.