|A view from the press box at Palasport Olympico in Turin, Italy, shortly after the puck was dropped between Team Canada and host Italy.|
by Todd Anderson
Team Canada opened its defence of the Olympic gold medal in men's hockey with a 7-2 win over host Italy on Wednesday in Turin. Ottawa Senators forward Dany Heatley had a goal and an assist in the victory. Senators defenceman Wade Redden was held pointless.
Playing on a line with Tampa Bay Lightning forwards Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St-Louis, Heatley restored Canada's one-goal lead just 1:12 after Italy had tied the game at 1-1, 43 seconds into the second period. The Heatley goal was the result of a tic-tac-toe play involving all three linemates touching the puck. The left-winger's assist came midway through the second period when he started off another nice passing play resulting in a St-Louis goal. The linemates each enjoyed two-point games. Canada outshot Italy 50-20.
Canada started the game 30 hours after arriving in Turin, where they held a practice yesterday. Jet lag seemed to be evident early on, but Canada found their scoring touch in the second period when they tallied five goals.
Team Sweden also won by a 7-2 score, beating Kazakhstan. Senators' captain Daniel Alfredsson scored Sweden's second goal, midway through the first period on a power play.
The Czech Republic picked up a 4-1 decision over Germany. The game featured Ottawa Senators Dominik Hasek (Czech Republic) and Christoph Schubert (Germany). Hasek, who started the game in goal, left early in favour of Nashville Predators goaltender Tomas Vokoun.
In other action in Group A, Finland defeated Switzerland 5-0.
Group B play began with Slovakia facing off against Russia at 2 p.m. (ET).
Slovakia won the match 5-3 as Senators defenceman Zdeno Chara sported a +3 rating in the game. Chara along with Senators' rookie Andrej Meszaros both picked up an assist on former Senator Peter Bondra's game-tying goal midway through the second period.
Senators defenceman Anton Volchenkov, of Russia, was held pointless but he did finish +1.
Latvia and the United States faced off at 3 p.m. In an unexpected twist, the Latvians pulled out a 3-3 draw with the Americans.
Finland vs. Italy, 6 a.m. (Eastern time)
Czech Republic vs. Switzerland, 7 a.m. (ET)
Sweden vs. Russia, 10 a.m. (ET)
Slovakia vs. Latvia, 11 a.m. (ET)
Canada vs. Germany, 2 p.m. (ET)
USA vs. Kazakhstan, 3 p.m. (ET)