Joe Thornton and Team Canada are off to an expected start at the 2006 Winter Olympics as they routed Italy 7-2 in their opening contest. Thornton posted a third period power play goal that was set up by Simon Gagne of the Philadelphia Flyers to join in the offensive attack. Columbus’ Rick Nash joined Gagne on the Thornton line.
Also scoring for Canada were Jarome Iginla, Shane Doan, Dany Heatley, Martin St. Louis and Brad Richards.
Dedicated Sharks fans may remember Team Italy’s netminder. Jason Muzzatti, who was part of the Sharks organization briefly from March 24-July 1 in 1998, is representing the host country. He filled in for Kelly Hrudey during a contest in St. Louis when the veteran netminder was forced from the contest due to injury. Muzzatti played 27 minutes that night and came away with a no decision.
Evgeni Nabokov and Russia will start their Olympic run today in a contest with Slovakia, while Marcel Goc and Christian Ehrhoff and Germany will square off against the powerful Czech Republic.
There was news this week regarding another former Sharks player. Mighty Ducks defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh has been cleared to return to on-ice competition after a six-week stay in the NHL's substance abuse program, allowing him to play for Latvia in the Olympics.
Besides the aforementioned Muzzatti and Ozolinsh, former Sharks to watch during the Olympics include: Alex Korolyuk (Russia), Ville Peltonen (Finland), Teemu Selanne (Finland), Arturs Irbe (Latvia), Viktor Kozlov (Russia) and Mikael Samuelsson (Sweden).
INTO THE FUTURE
Sharks fans looking for a glimpse of the future, can watch Germany's next game game against Canada at 11 a.m. PST on Thursday, as netminding prospect Thomas Greiss
will attempt to help Goc and Ehrhoff pull the upset.
A random note for those that have ever done the Chomp at HP Pavilion, 'Jaws' Author Peter Benchley died Saturday at the age of 65.