All the Olympic men’s hockey teams have played their first game in the tournament. There haven’t been any big surprises or upsets (it’s still early), but eight Olympians from the Anaheim Ducks have already made their mark.
Team USA met up with Switzerland in the first game and Bobby Ryan got the first goal of the tournament by knowing exactly where to beat Jonas Hiller, now wearing the colors of the opposing team.
“I don’t think Jonas had a chance,” said Ryan after earning his first Olympic point. “But I certainly knew where I was shooting, based on playing with him for so long.”
The US went on to win the game 3-1 and Hiller ended up with 21 saves in the loss. Neither Ryan Whitney (USA) nor Luca Sbisa (Switzerland) earned a point for their teams, but both saw plenty of ice time for their teams.
Later in the day, Team Canada saw their first action against Norway. In the 8-0 shutout against the Norwegians, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry both contributed goals. Ducks and Team Canada captain, Scott Niedermayer, also put up an assist on Getzlaf’s goal, giving him his first point of the tournament as well.
Getzlaf was questionable just a week ago after spraining his ankle on February 8. The ankle recovered quickly and Getzlaf scored 2 goals and 2 assists against Edmonton in his first game back from injury last Sunday. It was his last opportunity to prove to Canada that he was ok and he proved it and then some.
Ryan, Getzlaf and Perry will all have a long way to go to catch up to Teemu Selanne. Selanne earned an assist on Finland’s first goal over Belarus, giving him 20 goals and 36 points in Olympic competition. While currently tied for first place, you can be sure that more points will come as the tournament progresses and he will hold the sole first place position.
Saku Koivu, Selanne’s linemate on the Ducks and in international competition, also earned an assist and the Finns got their first win with a 5-1 victory over their opponent.
There is much more hockey to come, but certainly the Ducks players are making a difference for their respective countries.