Ducks, Kings players play prominent roles in Thursday’s Games
By Helene Elliott
Los Angeles Times
February 19, 2010
Reporting from Vancouver – Jonas Hiller stopped Sidney Crosby the first time he faced the Penguins’ superstar in the shootout that decided the Switzerland-Canada preliminary round Olympic matchup Thursday, but international rules allowed Canada to send Crosby out for a second try.
That time, Crosby prevailed and so did Canada, 3-2.
“He’s a great player, no doubt about it,” Hiller said.
As in so many games in this hockey tournament, players from the Ducks and the Kings figured prominently in Thursday’s events.
Hiller, the Ducks’ No. 1 goalie, was exceptional for Switzerland. Swiss defenseman Luca Sbisa, who started the season with the Ducks before being returned to junior hockey, played 17 minutes 42 seconds and was a +1 defensively.
For Canada, captain Scott Niedermayer played 23:10 and had one shot. Ryan Getzlaf, centering for Ducks teammate Corey Perry and Carolina’ Eric Staal, took four shots in 15:45 and was -1. Perry had two shots in 14:26 and was -1. Kings defenseman Drew Doughty played 14:10 and took no shots.
“It was a hard-fought game all night long,” Getzlaf said. “We didn’t do everything we wanted to, but we got the win.”
Niedermayer said the Swiss players’ exceptional skating caused Canada some difficulty. “We can get better,” he said. “That’s what this tournament is all about.”
Kings defenseman Jack Johnson had an assist in Team USA’s 6-1 victory over Norway in the day’s first game. His shot was rebounded by Tampa Bay’s Ryan Malone to give the Americans a 4-1 lead.
Johnson was paired mostly with Brooks Orpik and played 16:27, finishing with a +2 defensive rating.
Kings captain Dustin Brown started out again on left wing with Jamie Langenbrunner and Ryan Kesler, but Coach Ron Wilson mixed his lines up as the game progressed and afterward said he’s thinking of deploying Brown on a shutdown line in Team USA’s next game, Sunday against Canada.
Goalie Jonathan Quick, who was the extra goalie in Team USA’s tournament opener against Switzerland on Tuesday and did not dress for the game, was the backup to Ryan Miller on Thursday and sat at the end of the U.S. bench in full uniform topped with a blue knit USA cap.
Ducks defenseman Ryan Whitney had the least playing time among the U.S. defenders, playing 10:36. But at least he got off the bench more than once in the third period: he played only 42 seconds of the final period on Tuesday but had 3:36 of ice time on Thursday.
Ducks winger Bobby Ryan said many players are still settling into their Olympic roles.
“Guys coming from their clubs, they’re used to 18 or 20 minutes. When you’re going down to eight, 10 whatever it is, and we’re spreading four lines out it makes it tougher, it really does,” said Ryan, who played 9:17, less than half his NHL average of 18:41.
“You just try and keep your mind on the game. Keep yourself in it as best you can.”
Ryan also got high-sticked in the face, though he wasn’t seriously hurt.
“Chipped some teeth,” he said. “Perfect. I’ll go home with something to remember.”