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Canada 5, Germany 1

NHL.com @NHL

TURIN, Italy (AP) - The only distraction Canada's hockey team has had in the Olympics is boredom.

Wade Redden, Joe Sakic and Simon Gagne gave the defending gold medalists a 3-0 lead halfway through the first period and, wearing distinctive black uniforms, the Canadians roughed up Germany 5-1 Thursday.

Canada and Finland are the only teams with 2-0 records in Group A, with three games remaining for each team in round-robin play. The top four teams in each of the two groups reach the quarterfinals.

"It always helps to get off to a good start," Canada captain Joe Sakic said.

In easily beating Italy and Germany, the Canadians have looked more comfortable than they did at this stage four years ago in Salt Lake City, when the eventual gold medalists lost to Sweden 5-2 and barely squeezed by Germany 3-2.

That prompted executive director Wayne Gretzky's "us against the world" speech in which he said everyone but Canadians rooted against the Maple Leaf, and his players responded by winning the gold medal.

This time, the distraction caused by Gretzky was totally unintentional - his link to an alleged gambling ring supposedly run by his Phoenix Coyotes assistant coach, Rick Tocchet. But Gretzky's attorney said Thursday he has been assured Gretzky's only involvement in the case will be as a possible "fact witness" who might be interviewed informally.

"There's nothing there," Sakic said. "He's fine."

Asked if any Canadian players were joking with Gretzky about the matter, Sakic replied, "No."

Gretzky has mostly stayed out of sight since a Tuesday news conference in Turin, watching games from a private box before leaving without talking to reporters.

Germany gambled by starting 20-year-old Sharks prospect Thomas Greiss in goal rather than No. 1 goalie Olaf Kolzig, who played well in a 4-1 loss Wednesday to the Czech Republic.

With Greiss in net, Canada was in charge from the start. The Canadians outshot Germany 40-12 and scored on three of nine shots in the first period.

"I think we are starting to jell and coming together," Todd Bertuzzi said.

It may be happening earlier in Salt Lake, possibly because many of these players are in their third tournament together, including the 2004 World Cup. In 2002, most of the Canadians had not played together.

Canada backup goalie Roberto Luongo went long stretches without seeing any action, allowing only Christian Ehrhoff's goal early in the second period. Luongo said the game was special to him because his father immigrated to Canada from Italy 30 years ago.

Dany Heatley responded to Ehrhoff's goal with his second goal in as many games, seconds after Germany had killed off a lengthy two-man advantage. Canada so dominated the tempo that it generated an excellent scoring chance even while down two men, also in the second period.

Canada, more accustomed to wearing its familiar red and white, wore the black uniforms for the only time in the Olympics. They will be sold by Hockey Canada, with the proceeds going to charity.


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