UPDATED: September 16, 2004.

WORLD CUP OF HOCKEY JOURNAL

with Matthew Ryder

Doan-t Go There!

Desert Dog Caps Fantastic Tourney with Cup-Clinching Goal

He mucked. He played the most consistent hockey of anyone on Canada for the six games of the World Cup. He was snakebitten like only a man who spends seven months of the year in the desert could be. Then Phoenix Coyotes’ captain Shane Doan put one nation on his shoulders as he crushed another, and Canada took the World Cup final 3-2 over a very worthy foe in Team Finland.

Doan, who has 20+ goals in six straight years in the NHL, was nothing short of perfect in his role as team sparkplug. He threw crushing hits, played perfect positional hockey, grinded in the corners with enthusiasm that nobody on any of the eight participating teams could match, and then saved his best work for last. On a feed from linemate Joe Thornton, who also embraced his role as a grinder with incredible enthusiasm, Doan outwaited Finnish goalie Miikka Kiprusoff and slid the biscuit home at the :34 mark of the third period. Canada held on for the 3-2 win.

Canada went up 1-0 just fifty-two seconds into the championship game when Mario Lemieux salvaged a bad feed through the neutral zone and pulled the Canadian convoy into Finnish territory. A stutter-step move followed by a lovely pass to Joe Sakic put the Canadians in the early driver’s seat. The goal was Sakic’s team-leading fourth of the tournament. Before the ten minute mark however, the Finnish team showed that they weren’t going to be satisfied going home without the Cup, as Riku Hahl tipped in a Toni Lydman point shot to make it one-all after one.

Canada began to establish a pattern with another early goal in the second, as Scott Niedermayer marked his first of the tournament through the wickets on Kiprusoff, who looked Kipru-soft in the championship despite making 30 saves. However in response to the pattern Canada was entrenching with early goals, the Finns were developing their own pattern - one of a team not willing to go away, a team that truly believed they could steal one from Canada in their own backyard. Tuomo Ruutu helped this pattern out with an obscene dangle at 19:00 of the second period. He walked around Brad Richards like he was a pylon, sucked Simon Gagne into attempting a big hit before sidestepping, and then ripped a wrist shot home on the questioned glove side of Martin Brodeur. Brodeur said he was 100% recovered from his wrist injury, but that goal made Canadians coast-to-coast fret. By night’s end however, Brodeur had 27 saves to his credit and things never looked better between the Canadian pipes.

Then it was time for Shane Doan to make history. Joe Thornton corralled a puck down low on the boards, and slid a quick backhand pass out to Doan, who outwaited the sprawling Kiprusoff and popped the puck into the gaping cage. Canada three, Finland two.

ineteen-and-a-half minutes later, Shane Doan was credited with a game-winning goal and Canada circled the ice with the World Cup held high.

Vincent Lecavlier, a replacement for Steve Yzerman, was named tournament MVP. He recorded seven points in six games, and got a new plasma TV as a reward for his work.

And so went the 2004 World Cup of Hockey. It was good tournament that gave viewers some good memories, but also reminded them of what they’ll be missing now that the CBA has expired. Here’s hoping they can get a new deal done before the game is too badly injured.
Check back over the next couple of days as I will be doing a World Cup wrap-up, citing what went right for some teams, what went wrong for others, and my general thoughts on the events we saw in the past two weeks.

The opinions expressed on this page are of the author, and in no way reflect the views of the NHL, it teams or players. All material in World Cup fo Hockey Journal copyright (C) 2004 Spector's Hockey. Reproduction of this material in whole, or in part, without consent by the author or Spector's Hockey is prohibited.