Doan smiling as Canada wins world hockey title
Published Sunday, May 13, 2007 10:33PM EDT
Team Canada captain Shane Doan personified the joy of victory at the World Hockey Championship as he picked up the IIHF trophy and accepted his gold medal.
The 4-2 win over Finland Sunday in Moscow put a very positive finish on a tournament that had started very negatively for the 30-year-old forward with the Phoenix Coyotes.
Doan's captaincy was questioned by some politicians in Ottawa over an alleged slur made toward a French-Canadian NHL linesman in 2005. Doan had denied making the remark, and the NHL had cleared him.
TSN commentator Dave Randorf said Doan was "very hurt and very emotional" by the allegations, but overcame adversity to play better.
"It really gave Doan some resolve to lead this team even better than he was before and I think the team rallied around him," Randorf told CTV Newsnet from Moscow. "I think it helped."
Asked afterward if the adversity made the victory that much sweeter, Doan said: "There's definitely an element of that. I mean, there's no way you can lie and not say that."
The win marked Canada's ninth straight at the tournament played in Moscow, and the team's third gold medal in the last five years.
Canada cruised through the tournament, earning comfortable wins and largely outscoring their opponents, but a late charge by Finland made the final interesting.
Doan fed teammate Rick Nash, who slid in a late goal to give Canada a two-goal cushion after Finland had battled back by scoring twice.
Nash and Eric Staal scored first-period power-play goals for Canada and Colby Armstrong tallied in the second. Nash was named tournament MVP.
A contingent of Canadian spectators cheered on the Mother's Day champions, who were led by coach Andy Murray and general manager Steve Yzerman.
In 2003 with Murray at the helm, Canada went undefeated in the tournament. The coach has 17 wins and a tie in his last 18 games at the event.
"I've had the ability to surround myself with quality people," Murray said after winning his third gold medal in four tries as Canada's coach in the tournament.
The Canadian team consisted of a few NHL veterans, up-and-coming stars and a college forward. The average age of the team was 25, and the squad was the youngest Canada has ever sent to the world championships.
The Canadians were bigger, stronger, faster and more disciplined than their opponents when the games counted most.
Canada outscored its opposition 13-4 during the playoff round games and seemed to get better as the tournament progressed.
Finland earned a place in the final by upsetting the host Russians 2-1 in overtime on Saturday. Russia defeated Sweden 3-1 earlier on Sunday to capture the bronze medal.
Team Canada will defend its gold medal on home soil next year when the tournament is held in Halifax and Quebec City, the first time the event has ever been held in Canada.
But the squad will have to overcome a two-decade-old jinx as no country has won gold on home ice since 1986, Randorf said.
With a report from CTV's Roger Smith and files from The Canadian Press