It didn’t have the drama of the 2010 gold-medal game. Team Canada didn’t need overtime to dispatch Team Sweden, didn’t sweat it out like it did against Team USA in Vancouver. No, this was just domination, and Team Canada was once again on the golden end of it.
Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews scored in the first, and Team Canada smothered Team Sweden the rest of the way en route to a 3-0 victory and gold for the second consecutive Olympics. Team captain Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz also scored for Team Canada, which shut down the Swedes as it did just about everyone else in this tournament.
Six Blackhawks will return to Chicago with medals: Toews, Duncan Keith and Patrick Sharp garner gold while Niklas Hjalmarsson, Johnny Oduya and Marcus Kruger claim silver. Not a bad haul for a team that had 10 at these Olympic Games.
As for Sunday’s gold-medal game, the better, and deeper, team won. Try as it might, the injury-depleted Team Sweden may have just run out of gas. The Swedes had a tremendous tournament, one they played without Henrik Sedin and Henrik Zetterberg. On Sunday they were also without Nicklas Backstrom, who, according to a Yahoo Sports report citing a source, was pulled for using a banned substance.
The Backstrom loss had to be brutal for a Swedish group already shorthanded. But this was more about what Team Canada’s performances, many of which were dominating. Team Canada never trailed in any game; it allowed just three goals in the tournament, giving up none in the semifinal or gold-medal game. For those still lamenting Team USA’s lack of goals in its final two games, saying more offensive-minded players should have been on the team? Again, it’s about the all-around game, especially the ability to stifle your opponent, and Team Canada did it better than anyone else.
Team Canada’s depth proved too much for Team Sweden. It ultimately proved too much for every squad. It was mission accomplished for our neighbors to the north, and a convincing one it was.