-- As soon as he knew the assignment was going to be his, Jonathan Toews
started licking his chops. With Rick Nash
and Mike Richards
on his wings, Scott Niedermayer
and Shea Weber
behind him, Toews and his five-man unit set out to stop the game's most ferocious player and its best goal scorer.
was helpless against the Toews line Wednesday night in Canada's 7-3 win over Russia at Canada Hockey Place. He was held off the scoresheet and was also on the ice for goals by both Nash and Weber.
Toews, dripping with sweat following his A-plus effort that included a pair of assists, stopped with NHL.com to talk about one of the most challenging assignments of his life.
: Getting the matchup against Ovechkin had to be one of the assignments of a lifetime, especially considering the magnitude of this game. What worked so well?
: We were working hard. We tried to make them play defense against us. I mean, we have skill, too. As long as we always had a forward high in their zone and were able to backcheck hard on them. We kept that puck. We cycled. We made so many smart plays in the offensive zone. We made it as tough as possible for them to play and keep that puck.
: What's it like playing that way with Weber and Niedermayer behind you?
: Oh, it's good. They are both great skaters. They are physical. They are so smart positionally and you know if you make a mistake they are going to be there to help you out and bail you out.
: When Babcock said you'd be playing against that line, you're a focused guy and they call you Captain Serious, so were you just saying to yourself, 'Bring it on?'
: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, we have been saying in the room that a gold medal is not worth winning if there aren't some difficult moments. That was a tough game tonight and coming into it it's pretty intimidating to play a team like that in a quarterfinal game. You have so much to lose there, so it's one of those tasks that you have to be willing to take on or else you're not going to have a chance at winning a gold medal. We did a great job tonight and we're going to keep improving and going forward as a team.
Contact Dan Rosen at firstname.lastname@example.org